Carousel (musical)

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Carousel was the second stage musical by the team of Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (book and lyrics). The 1945 work was adapted from Ferenc Molnár's 1909 play Liliom, transplanting the Budapest setting of Molnár's play to the Maine coastline. The show includes the well-known musical numbers "If I Loved You", "June Is Bustin' Out All Over" and "You'll Never Walk Alone". Richard Rodgers later wrote that Carousel was his favorite among all his musicals.

Following the spectacular success of the first Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma! (1943), the pair sought to collaborate on another piece, knowing that any resulting work would be compared with Oklahoma!, most likely unfavorably. They were initially reluctant to seek the rights to Liliom; Molnár had refused permission for the work to be adapted in the past, and the original ending was considered too depressing for the musical theatre. After acquiring the rights, the team put together a work with lengthy sequences of music and made the ending more hopeful.

The musical required considerable modification during out-of-town tryouts, but once brought to Broadway it was an immediate hit, repeating its success in the West End in 1950. Though it has never achieved as much commercial success as Oklahoma!, the piece has been repeatedly revived, with a major production by Nicholas Hytner enjoying success in 1992 in London and 1994 in New York. Time magazine named Carousel the best musical of the 20th century.


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