Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Carousel’ Coming to River Campus


Photo of the poster promoting 'Carousel'

The Department of Theatre and Dance and the Department of Music will perform “Carousel” Feb. 24-27 and Feb. 28 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall.


Feb. 8, 2010 – Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel” will be presented by Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance and the Department of Music at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24-27 and at 2 p.m. Feb. 28 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall located in the Cultural Arts Center at the University’s River Campus.

Hailed by many as America’s greatest musical of the 20th century, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s personal favorite, “Carousel” takes place in a Maine coastal village, where a carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, weds a local mill worker, Julie Jordan. After he loses his job and finds out he is about to become a father, he becomes an accomplice to a robbery. He is caught and can’t bear the idea of prison, so he takes his own life. Fifteen years later, he is allowed to return to earth for a single day to meet his daughter. During this brief encounter, Billy instills hope and dignity in both his child and her mother. “Carousel” premiered on Broadway in 1945, with revival performances in 1949, 1957 and 1994. The production won several Tony Awards in 1994.

“Carousel” is being directed by Broadway veteran and internationally acclaimed director Dennis Courtney, who also directed last year’s production of “The 1940’s Radio Hour” at the River Campus. Courtney recently won an Israeli Theatre Prize, Israel’s equivalent of the Tony Award, for his work in “Fiddler on the Roof.”

“We are delighted to welcome Dennis Courtney back to Southeast Missouri State University,” said Rhonda Weller-Stilson, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “Audience reviews were excellent for ‘The 1940’s Radio Hour,’ and our students thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They appreciated his professionalism and commented on how much they learned. He’s an excellent director and teacher, demanding and encouraging at the same time. When we talked about putting “Carousel” in this year’s season, we immediately began discussions with Mr. Courtney concerning his availability.”

Tickets may be purchased at the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651-2265. Tickets also may be purchased at any MetroTix outlet, online at, keyword “Carousel” or by calling toll-free: (800) 293-5949.