The production has required complete collaboration between the school’s music department, theater department, dance department and the visual arts department, said Clint Riley, the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts Executive Director.
“This story is heavy because it’s about a man who has made mistakes in his life and he now has the opportunity to go back and try to correct them,” Riley said. “Our students have the skill to sing, act and dance in this heavy material but with these really beautiful and complex dance sequences.”
Riley said the production requires a very high skill level to successfully perform.
“Whether it’s singing, or acting, or dancing—we are very fortunate to have students that are all very good at what they do,” he said.
Students worked on the scenery, made the costumes, and even choreographed their own dances, said Riley.
“This musical is not just about the talent on stage, but the talent behind the scenes,” Riley said.
There were multiple reasons why the school chose to perform “Carousel” this year, said Riley.
“We look at our student population—we look at the number of students that are looking to fill the female and male roles and their capabilities,” he said.
Riley said the school chose the musical for educational reasons as well.
“This musical is one of the best musicals of the 20th century,” Riley said. “We wanted to pull from a classical piece and this is a very hard piece to perform so our students are learning and excelling at it.”
The musical follows a 19th century romance between a charming carousel barker, Billy Bigelow, and a pretty innocent millworker, Julie Jordan. The attractive young couple quickly marries but they soon find themselves unemployed and in need of money which strains their relationship. Billy then discovers Julie is pregnant and resorts to extreme measures for money which lead to tragedy.
Riley said the cast is a mix of students from different grade and skill levels.
“Some of our cast members have been with us since third grade, while others are only in their first years of performing in musicals,” he said. “I would say we have a pretty diverse group.”
Billy Bigelow will be played by junior Caleb Wilson while Julie Jordan, Bigelow’s wife, will be played by junior Jayden Goldberg.
“While Caleb has a background in theater, Jayden has a background in opera training,” Riley said. “She has traveled all over from D.C. to Italy—this is what she wants to do career-wise.”
Louise Bigelow, the daughter of Bigelow and Jordan, will be performed by Bailey Poe.
“Bailey has a background in musical theater and actually spent her summer in New York City with a musical theater training program,” said Riley.
Riley said “Carousel” is the excellent opportunity for all the leading actors to display their talents.
“This is a strong classical piece with serious vocal training within the musical theater genre so it is the perfect fit for our leading actors,” Riley said.
The website for tickets is www.FWAFA.org/tickets.
The show dates and times are:
- Friday, October 28 at 7 p.m.
- Saturday, October 29 at 7 p.m.
- Sunday, October 30 at 3 p.m.
- Thursday, November 3 at 7 p.m.
- Friday, November 4 at 7 p.m.
- Saturday, November 5 at 7 p.m.
- Advance: $15 adults | $6 students
- At the Door: $18 adults | $8 students