Villanova Student Musical Theatre Performed “Carousel”


Courtesy of @novavsmt Instagram

VSMT is showed their production of “Carousel” from April 22nd through April 24th.

Skylar Musick, Staff Writer

Once again, Villanova Student Musical Theatre (VSMT) left audiences speechless after its performance of “Carousel” this past weekend. From April 22 through April 24, VSMT performed in the Court Theatre of the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts.


In the fall, VSMT blew the Villanova community away with its performance of “Legally Blonde.” Earlier this semester, the cast and crew did nothing short of the same in its stellar performance of “Assassins.” Therefore, it was no surprise that “Carousel” was another fan favorite.


“Carousel” was adapted from Ferenc Molnar’s 1909 play “Liliom.” The story takes place on the New England coastline and tells of carnival barker Billy Bigelow (played by senior Cristian Rodriguez) and mill worker Julie Jordan (played by senior Emily Sgroi), who meet and fall in love. However, their marriage ends up costing both of them their jobs. Billy’s desperation makes him violent against those he loves and drives him to break the law to provide for his family. After Billy meets con-man Jigger Craigin (played by sophomore Matthew Tomlinson), he ends up getting caught in an armed robbery and takes his own life. Fifteen years later, Billy is allowed to return to earth for one day. On this day, he encounters his daughter, whom he never knew. Louise (played by junior Olivia Pistella) is a very lonely teenager, as her father’s reputation has haunted her throughout her young life. Yet, Billy is able to instill in both Louise and Julie a sense of hope. Evidently, “Carousel” is a classic American musical that explores human frailty and the power of forgiveness, per


The show’s music and lyrics were written by the iconic Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. The musical features some of Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s most beloved pieces, including “If I Loved You,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Sophomore Minh-Chau Scott, the Music Director for “Carousel,” gushed over Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s talent as she taught the music to the cast and conducted the pit orchestra. 


“Rodgers and Hammerstein crafted the most exquisite score with gorgeous lyrics,” Scott said. “I’m so happy that doing this show gave me the opportunity to get to know it.”


Matthew Clay was hired as Director of “Carousel.” VSMT students admired Clay and his expertise. 


Working one-on-one with our Director Matt Clay and investigating the smaller moments and details of the show was one of my favorite things about the rehearsal process,” Rodriguez said, who played Billy Bigelow.


VSMT also hired Choreographer Samantha Kuhl, whose work on the show was also greatly appreciated. Freshman Jack Hobart, “Carousel’s” Stage Manager, said his favorite memory from rehearsals was when the cast completed its first run of the Carousel Waltz. 


“I’ve always enjoyed seeing productions where characters introduce themselves through choreography,” Hobart said. “The cast did a fantastic job using this dance to bring audiences into the world of ‘Carousel.’”


The cast and crew’s hard work and dedication in rehearsals is what makes VSMT’s productions so professional. 


Rehearsals were a lot of work, but I loved getting to piece all the scenes together and see the show come to life,” senior Emily Sgroi said, who played Julie Jordan.


Rodriguez agreed that rehearsals were tough, but also added, “I learned so much and had a lot of fun working with this company.”


Additionally, watching the show come to life from behind the scenes was just as special. 


This cast has been an absolute joy to work with,” Minh-Chau Scott said. “Dancing and blocking rehearsals are such a fascinating thing to observe from the other side of the table. I got to watch everyone make all these tiny but wonderful character choices that I might not have seen had I been in the show.”


After VSMT’s first performance on Friday night, audience members raved about the show and its actors. 


“I am grateful I had the chance to see ‘Carousel,’” sophomore Jennifer McMahon said. “As always, VSMT did a great job. The choreography and vocals were fantastic. I was so enthralled with the show that I did not want it to end.” 


Freshman Kaleigh Brendle perfectly summarized the scope of “Carousel’s” excellence. 


“There is something so authentic and special about a show that features a pit band,” Brendle said. “All the incredible music is being created right in front of you, the instrumentalists excelling at their craft and the vocalists performing beautifully. It was a wonderful production, with an inspiring message of hope and courage featured throughout.”


Villanova Student Musical Theatre loved performing “Carousel” because it believe the show truly had something for everyone. 


“There are long dance numbers, pages of dialogue and of course, plenty of songs for the audience to enjoy,” Hobart said. “Also, I think that as a directing team, we worked to incorporate some modern elements in a show that takes place in the 1870s, making the production more meaningful to a wider audience.


“It was an honor to watch the cast and crew share this production and their hard work with the Villanova community this weekend.”