The Lincoln Center Theater revival of Carousel had three enormous assets going for it: Bob Crowley's unflaggingly emotional and unfailingly rapturous set and costume design, Nicholas Hytner's searing direction of a company of legitimate actors who never condescended to the material and that company's brightest light, Audra McDonald, exhilarating and enchanting in her first major role, Carrie Pipperidge. Some balked at Michael Hayden's vocal deficit in comparison with past Billy Bigelows like John Raitt and Gordon MacRae, but Hayden's performance, singing included, was beautiful and tremendously feeling — words that aptly describe the entire production.
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