Saturday, October 25, 2008

Carousel, Confessions of a Chorister

Life's been busy this week with rehearsals for a concert presentation of "Carousel" starring Shirley Jones, Patrick Cassidy and Miss America Lauren Nelson here in Oklahoma City. The Edmond Community Chorale is singing the chorus parts -- we're sort of aural set dressing. This is not one of my favorite musicals with its sad ending and a theme of domestic abuse and the excuse of "he's your feller and you love him, that's all there is to say." Still, the music is wonderful -- with extended chunks of orchestra in the prelude, entr'acte and ballet -- it's a great chance to re-appreciate the genius of Richard Rogers. Shirley Jones is singing the part of Nettie while Lauren Nelson sings Julie, the role Miss Jones made famous. Now in her 70s, Jones is still trim and beautiful and although her voice is no longer the clear, light, high voice of her youth, she brings vocal warmth and maturity to her role. Her son, Patrick Cassidy, is a treat to watch. With the striking silver hair of his father, Jack Cassidy, he caught every eye with his good looks-- until last night, when someone decided Billy Bigelow shouldn't have silver hair. Oh my gosh, the wig looked like a poodle on his head! Bring back the real Patrick Cassidy -- it's totally believeable that Julie Jordan would go for him. (Other than the fact that he's a pretty awful character!) University of Central Oklahoma students take a couple of the other roles. The girl playing Carrie, Madison Bookout, has a wonderful voice and Mr. Snow's (James Avance) soaring tenor overcomes the fact that his character is a real prig. Lauren Nelson does a fine job as Julie. Of course, the real star is Shirley Jones. Most of the chorus know her from reruns of the Partridge Family -- they're such babies. A few of us know her from the 50's movies "Carousel" and "Oklahoma." A few of the kids are too young for either group. But I'm sure they can tell they're in the presence of a real star and a real lady. Performances are at Oscar Rose tonight at 7:30 and tomorrow at 2:30.

Even with a magnifying glass, you can't tell much from this picture taken last night during rehearsal -- but Shirley Jones is on the right in the white pants suit and Patrick Cassidy is in front in the red sweater. The men are standing, singing "Blow High, Blow Low."

1 comment:

Tessa said...

I enjoyed your blog. I am posting it on Patrick's Official Website, with your byline and web url.

Barbara Pazmino