Hugh Jackman, the celebrated Curly of London's recent Oklahoma!, jumps onto Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, as brutish Billy Bigelow, opposite Audra McDonald's Julie Jordan, in a Carnegie Hall concert version of the groundbreaking musical, 8 PM June 6.
Walter Bobbie (Chicago, Footloose) directs, Leonard Slatkin conducts the Orchestra of St. Luke's and John Weidman (Assassins, Big) is the script consultant for the benefit performance in Isaac Stern Auditorium. The New York Choral Artists will fill in the waltzy world of the New England-set show, based on Ferenc Molnar's Liliom. Ben Whiteley serves as music consultant and choral director.
Carousel is presented by The Carnegie Hall Corporation in partnership with The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization and is part of Carnegie Hall's season-long "Richard Rodgers: A Centennial Celebration."
Jackman will be filming "X-Men 2" in June and his appearance in Carousel is dependent on his shooting schedule, Carnegie Hall cautioned.
* Soprano McDonald has won three Tony Awards (Master Class, Carousel (playing Carrie in 1994), Ragtime). Jackman was recently nominated for a Golden Globe Award for the film, "Kate & Leopold." He played Wolverine in "X-Men," a picture hailed by comic book fans as a faithful yet fresh take on the cult series' mythology. His other staged credits have included Sunset Boulevard and Beauty and the Beast.
Carousel, which opened in 1945, was composer Rodgers' favorite show with Oscar Hammerstein II. The score includes "You'll Never Walk Alone," "If I Loved You," "Carousel Waltz," "What's the Use of Wondrin'" and "Soliloquy." The late 19th century setting of a quaint fishing village is in contrast with the dark, brooding emotional journey two lovers (a millworker and a carnival barker) take, as they try not to regret words they never said to each other — "I love you."
The staging is a benefit for Carnegie Hall. It begins at 6 PM with a cocktail reception and buffet dinner at Remi Restaurant and Atrium, 144 West 54th Street, followed by a concert performance at Carnegie Hall.
Tickets run $750, $1,000, $1,500, and $2,000, include seating in the parquet or first-tier, as well as the pre-concert cocktail reception and dinner. Gala Benefit tickets may be purchased by calling (212) 903-9682.
Any remaining concert tickets range $34-$142. Remaining tickets go on sale Monday May 6 at the Carnegie Hall box office, 154 W. 57th Street. Call CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800 or visit carnegie hall.org.