IT is a musical classic, a real Rolls Royce of a show. Carousel has everything you could ask for in a musical theatre production. It has drama, passion and a terrific score.
See for yourself next week when it opens at the Lawrence Batley Theatre with a powerful line-up of performers from Huddersfield Light Opera Company.
If you think you don’t know this musical classic then think songs such as If I Loved You, June is Bustin’ Out All Over and You’ll Never Walk Alone.
These songs and the dramatic storyline helped propel the original 1940s musical from Broadway to Hollywood and ensured that the show lived on.
It remains one of the classic musicals created by the legendary musical pairing of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein.
The story of two star-crossed lovers, Billy Bigelow, a handsome but troubled carousel barker, and Julie Jordan, a naive and selfless young mill worker, with its dark undertones and whiff of inevitable tragedy, lent itself perfectly to a series of glorious songs.
It is not hard to see why Huddersfield Light Opera Company could not resist this emotional, heart-tugging show.
It offers big roles for performers and powerful emotions for both them and audiences to deal with.
The production runs from Monday, April 26, to Saturday, May 1, with evening performances at 7.15pm and a matinee on Saturday at 2.15pm.
The company has again brought together the highly successful production team of Pam Strickland as director and choreographer with Anne Levitt as musical director, Emma Binns as accompanist and Steve Tetlow as producer.
Steve Redfern, who will be centre stage as Billy Bigelow, is well used to big dramatic roles. He played Tony in the company’s hugely successful production of West Side Story, another dark story with great music and tragedy at its heart.
Playing opposite him as Julie Jordan is Holly Comber, a young performer who has worked with a number of societies across the area but is relishing her first leading lady outing with the Light.
Not far away will be her real-life boyfriend Dom Moccia who is cast as Jigger Craigin. Dom is also making quite a name for himself as a talented performer – he made a cracking villain in the Light’s panto earlier this year.
And to make that family feel complete, Holly’s younger brother Chris, a Marsden Amateur Operatic and Avalanche Dodgers regular is playing Mr Snow.
Gemma Clarkson who was also part of the Aladdin cast back in January – playing a delightful princess – returns to the Light to play another crucial role as Carrie.
Though Gemma is still only in her 20s, she’s been in shows since she was a tot, many with Longwood Amateur Operatic Society but with other groups across the town too.
It helps that mum Lynn is a choreographer and the rest of the Clarkson family are also involved in amateur musicals.
Diane Robinson is a well-known singer thanks in part to her work with musical group Reflections which includes Richard Cook and Norman Mellor.
They sing, with Geoff Bottomley as accompanist, at many concerts and charity events in the area.
But Diane is also in demand for stage roles and will be remembered playing Conchita Alvarez for the Light in its production of Copacabana.
Other company regulars included in this big production are Paul Bennett, Granville Stead and Jayne Davison.
But watch out too for two teams of snow children and urchins who might just steal a scene and a heart or two.
Tickets are selling fast for this popular show so book early on 01484 430582.