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“Everything works. Jonathan Winsby is a full-throttle Billy, singing with the soul and fire of a man dazed by the notion of real love. Alexis Gordon is his Julie and she has the fragile, oh so vulnerable spirit of a woman who loves with every beat of her heart…You owe it to yourself to experience what it means to laugh, cry, and believe in love. This one is glorious in every way.”
Robert Cushman covers Stratford’s “Carousel” and “The Sound of Music” in this review. “The singing throughout is in fact the best I remember in any Stratford musical, as befits this show’s exceptionally rich score. Every song is a beauty, from the sly and joyous “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” down to an apparent throwaway like the mocking “Stonecutter Cut It on Stone.”
“The performances are buoyed by the magnificent sets by designer Douglas Paraschuk. The opening pantomime — a wordless introduction to Billy Bigelow and the carnival — culminates with the eponymous Carousel, a dazzling, glittering merry-go-round of crystal and flying horses.”
“Carousel may be controversial, but there should be no controversy as to whether or not this production of it rises to the challenge. The direction is thoughtful, the cast is brilliant, and the story, even if flawed, is an important part of a bigger discussion.”
“If I Loved You couldn’t be better served by Gordon’s soaring, confident soprano, coupled with a luminous awareness of character.
Winsby…contributes splendidly to the powerful vocal chemistry that the song demands.”
“Best of show were Alexis Gordon’s vibrant soprano as Julie Jordan and Alana Hibbert’s riveting, impressive control playing Nettie Fowler…Michael Lichtefeld’s choreography was inventive and engaging at nearly every turn….the weakest link is the narrative.”
“Scenes were designed by Douglas Paraschuk as though he was on an unlimited budget, with trees dropping down from the rafters; dry ice and bushes of cattail reeds creating a foggy shoreline clambake…and the carousel, with glittery translucent horses and magical light arrangements.”
“Alexis Gordon is one of those rare performers who can combine sweetness and strength, making her Julie always fascinating to watch…There is nothing terribly wrong with the production of Carousel that opened Friday night at the Avon Theatre, but there is nothing terribly right, either.”
“Schulman gives us a production at the Avon Theatre that seems curiously dated. The result is a period piece without the charm of nostalgia to soften the blows of what we witness transpiring on stage.”