Carousel sells itself as a misunderstood love story: Julie, a respectable yet unusual girl, falls in love with the rough-around-the-edges Billy, a carousel barker with a seedy background. Things are difficult from the beginning as Billy takes out his anger and paranoia around marriage on Julie, until he eventually hits her. In a money-making scheme gone wrong, Billy unexpectedly dies and is given the chance for a redemption arc that requires a supernatural element.
PARADE is a show that fits at the intersection of a few pertinent global discussions: racial and religious persecution, misogyny and violence against women, and a lighter resurgence of American historical musicals. Perhaps the consistent feeling that the political climate of the United States is sliding further and further into the past is calling people to turn to staged political events with clearer moral codes and reliable heros’ journeys. Whatever the reason, director Hayden Tonazzi’s desire to add purpose and meaning to the society’s choice of major production is a commendable one.