Based on Ferenc Molnár's play Liliom, Carousel was Rodgers and Hammerstein's second collaboration and the follow-up to their wildly successful Oklahoma! The production opened at the Majestic Theatre April 19, 1945, starring John Raitt as Billy Bigelow and Jan Clayton as Julie Jordan.
The musical was well-received by critics and would prove to be another success for the dynamic writing duo. Lewis Nichols of the New York Times thought the show was "delightful" and wrote: "Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, who can do no wrong, have continued doing no wrong in adapting Liliom into a musical play."
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.