A week or two ago, I got a call from Meridee Duddleston, a news anchor and reporter at WRTI-FM, a local classical and jazz radio station and NPR affiliate. They were about the broadcast the Chicago Lyric Opera’s Carousel performance, and wanted some commentary — on Carousel in general, but more specifically, focusing on “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
I was happy to take part, especially since I had taught my American Musical Theatre last semester, and had spent some time on the show — in fact, we talked a bit about this song in class. I’ve also heard the broadcast from Chicago, and was especially knocked out by Steven Pasquale’s wonderful performance as Billy Bigelow.
A brief description of the program is below, along with a link to my comments — short and longer versions. I always have mixed feelings hearing myself… but maybe some of you will enjoy it. (It was a fun topic to take on.)
Even if you’re not familiar with the Broadway musical Carousel, you’re likely to have heard the uplifting message and melody of the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Its roots in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical extend far beyond the story of love and loss.
David Fox teaches in the Theater Arts program at the University of Pennsylvania, and specializes in American musical theater. He says the Broadway musical version of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is sung by a female contralto, a matriarchal figure who appears in subsequent works. The song’s message of hope and resilience is repeated in countless renditions and arrangements, across genres and by a wide range of pop, opera and jazz performers.
You can hear this seminal song in context and luxuriate in the full musical production when WRTI broadcasts Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Carousel on Saturday, June 13 at 1 pm.