Take a dark spin on Serenbe's Carousel
The artwork for the show indicates this will be a darker, more gothic environment, somewhere between American Horror Story’s “Freak Show” season and an afternoon at Buford Highway’s Plaza Fiesta. “The turn-of-the-century carnivals and sideshows kind of went hand in hand,” Clowdus says. “It was very normal for a carnival to have human wonders or ‘freaks.’” In this production, there will be sideshow characters throughout the show, representing the grim world of the hero, Billy (Edward McCreary), as well as the more refined townie characters who reflect the heroine, Julie (Kelly Martin), and her world. For those unfamiliar with the play, an innocent day at the fair turns bleak for Julie when she is seduced by Billy, starting a chain of events that results in him losing his job and leaving her with child and on her own. So, perhaps best to leave the preteens at home for this one, as the subject matter airs on the adult side.
Clowdus conceived the idea after working with much of the cast on another Rodgers and Hammerstein production, Oklahoma, two years ago. The cast — which, in addition to McCreary and Martin, also included Jessica Miesel, Lala Cochran, and Austin Tijerina, among others — enjoyed working together so much he decided a reunion was in order.
One thing Clowdus says he learned from his experience last summer, where he had to take the stage mid-show holding a script and wearing borrowed shoes after an actor fell ill during Evita, is that even the most devoted actors are only human, and this production will have understudies. “We sure as hell do!” Clowdus says, noting that he’d rather not take on the last-minute grooming required to fill in for Martin as Julie.