The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Culture Shock: A Q&A with the leads of SJU Theatre Company’s ‘Carousel’

This weekend, starting on Thursday, Oct. 20, is the first series of performances for the SJU Theatre Company’s fall musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel.” The star-crossed romance of carousel barker Billy Bigelow and millworker Julie Jordan has been performed hundreds of times, spawning musical standards like “If I Loved You” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

I sat down with the leads of the production: Sean Hogan, ’17, who plays Billy, and Abigail Gorman, ’17, who plays Julie. Both have performed in several shows with the theater company, most recently as Cinderella’s Prince and Rapunzel, respectively, in “Into the Woods” last spring.

Rose Weldon: This musical has endured for decades past its 1945 premiere. What do you think makes it relevant for audiences today?

Abigail Gorman: I think that a lot of this show focuses on the power of redemption, and that is a universal theme that correlates to today…[Also] the idea of not being able to tell someone that you love them. Everyone goes through something like that; it’s a very human experience.

Sean Hogan: I feel like the power of forgiveness, even for people who don’t necessarily deserve it, is the biggest theme.

RW: The show itself deals with some pretty dark subjects, but it’s described on the Rodgers and Hammerstein database as a “musical comedy.” If you had to define it yourself, and put it into a genre, what would it be?

SH: Probably not a comedy [laughs]. We have comic relief, but it’s definitely more of a drama, especially the way we do it.

RW: What do you want people to know when coming into “Carousel”?

AG: We want to show them a new version of “Carousel,” a more human version.

SH: A more grounded version.

AG: More grounded. [These are] real situations that these people could have been in.

SH: Not that the singing’s not going to be awesome.

AG: And the acting will also be good! [laughs]

RW: What are your personal favorite songs in the score—one that you yourself sing and one that you do not?

SH: My favorite overall number is “Blow High, Blow Low,” which is just fun to see the actors perform. But my favorite that I do is “Soliloquy.” It’s eight minutes of pure emotion [and] me running around the stage doing what I want.

AG: My own favorite is “If I Loved You.” I think it’s a beautiful song, one that almost everyone can relate to. I also like “Soliloquy.”

RW: I’m a little surprised not to hear “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” but…

SH: You know, I forget that’s in the show before it comes in [laughs], and then I’m like “I love this song!” So I’m changing my answer—for the [song] that I’m not in, definitely [I choose] that one!

AG: That’s the one that’ll make everyone cry.

RW: How do you find yourselves getting into character?

SH: It’s different for every scene. I do a lot of physical stuff to get into different moods.

AG: I need a lot of quiet. I’m an introverted person, so I need to be by myself to center in on where I am emotionally in every scene.

RW: What’s the best piece of advice you received over the course of rehearsing the show?

AG: For me, it was always making the harder choice. When you’re an actor and you’re faced with choices on how to play a scene, the answer is to pick the harder way, because it will make your acting more grounded and human.

SH: Stay hungry [laughs].

“Carousel” will be performed in Bluett Theater on Oct. 20, 21, 22, 28, and 29 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. Student tickets can be purchased for $10 on the SJU Theatre Department website or at the door on performance nights.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Hawk News

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. Joseph's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hawk News

Comments (0)

All The Hawk News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *