March 17, 2023 – 7:30 PM
March 19, 2023 – 2:00 PM
English with English supertitles
BOOK & LYRICS
Oscar Hammerstein II
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel changed the face of American musical theatre when it premiered on Broadway in 1945. Carousel barker Billy Bigelow falls for mill worker Julie Jordan—but when the unthinkable happens, Billy must answer for his actions and try to make things right. Closing our 40th Anniversary Season, this musical of operatic proportions comes to Pensacola in a visually stunning production from Virginia Opera and set designer Erhard Rom. Richard Rodgers’s timeless score is full of favorite tunes, including If I Loved You, June is Bustin’ Out All Over, and You’ll Never Walk Alone. Carousel will be helmed by newly appointed Music Director Cody Martin, leading members of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra and Pensacola Opera Chorus.
Presenting Sponsor, David Richbourg in memory of Norman Ricks.
Courtesy of Concord Theatricals
In May 1873, a bustling carnival enlivens a small fishing village on the rocky New England coastline. Billy Bigelow, a carousel barker, meets Julie Jordan, who is there with her friend Carrie Pipperidge. Mrs. Mullin, proprietress of the carousel, forcefully escorts Julie and Carrie out of the carnival, claiming that Julie is a “hussy” who was letting Billy get “free” with her. When Billy defends Julie, Mrs. Mullin fires him. Julie says goodnight to Carrie and stays with Billy. Julie has watched Billy at the carousel before. Suspecting Julie only stayed because she “knows her way around,” Billy calls her “dumb” for remaining. Unphased, Julie says she stayed because he was so good to her.
A policeman approaches with the mill owner Mr. Bascombe, wondering what Julie is doing out so late. Mr. Bascombe offers Julie one more chance at a ride home, but she stays with Billy, knowing it will cost her her job. Left alone, Julie and Billy size each other up. Despite a growing attraction, they insist that they do not love one another, but they do wonder “what if” (“If I Loved You”). As blossoms fall, they recognize their mutual attraction, and finally, Billy kisses her.
Time passes. Now staying with her cousin, Nettie Fowler, Julie hasn’t seen Billy since he went out with a sailor named Jigger Craigin the night before. Billy is out of work, and Julie had asked him why he wouldn’t go back to Mrs. Mullin. Rather than respond, he hit her. Carrie can’t understand why Julie would stay with him, but Julie continues to defend Billy’s anger, citing his lack of work. Lightening the mood, Carrie shares the good news that she and Mr. Enoch Snow will be married next Sunday.
Jigger later proposes an idea to Billy: Mr. Bascombe will be delivering a large amount of cash to the ship’s captain by himself that night, and Jigger needs help jumping him. It will be foggy, and they’ll have the alibi of being at the clambake; it could be a sure way to come into a lot of money. Initially hesitant, Billy eventually accepts Jigger’s offer once Julie tells him she’s going to have his baby. Alone, Billy imagines everything that his child will be. As everyone leaves for the island, Billy sneaks into the house to retrieve a kitchen knife for his and Jigger’s plan. (“Finale Act I”).
After the clambake, everyone rests in languorous contentment. Jigger and Billy, with knife in tow, plot their move to the waterfront, where Mr. Bascombe will be transporting his cash payment.
Jigger is distracted by his desire for Carrie, despite Billy’s insistence that there’s no time for girls. After some back and forth, Jigger moves his hand down Carrie’s back, patting her bustle and lifting her above his shoulders just as Enoch appears. Angrily, Enoch says he would never marry a woman so free and loose.
As Jigger comforts a distraught Carrie, he remarks on the tragedy that befalls women who fall in love with virtuous men. Agreeing with Jigger, Julie and the girls comfort Carrie. Julie sees Billy and Jigger again and, feeling the knife hidden on Billy’s chest, fears the worst. Billy shoves her away and runs off with Jigger.
At the loading dock, while the rest of the town hunts for a hidden treasure, Billy and Jigger wait for Mr. Bascombe to walk by with the cash. When Mr. Bascombe walks by, Billy approaches him and asks for the time while Jigger attempts to stab him from behind. Mr. Bascombe gets hold of Jigger’s knife hand and pulls a gun on them. He calls for assistance from the nearby ship as Jigger escapes. Two policemen appear and Billy, refusing to go to prison, stabs himself in the stomach. The police lay him out and call for a doctor.
On their way home from the clambake, Nettie and the others come across the waterfront scene. Julie rushes to Billy and holds him. He explains that he was trying to make enough money for them to move to San Francisco with their child. Comforting him in his last moments, Julie holds Billy tight and says goodbye. Nettie encourages Julie to keep on living; she can stay with Nettie, who will help raise the baby.
A Heavenly Friend appears to greet Billy. They tell him that, though he is dead, it’s not over as long as there’s one person on earth who remembers him. They’ve come to take Billy up to the judge, not the Lord God Himself. Billy meets the Starkeeper, who is hanging and dusting off stars from a stepladder in the backyard of heaven. The Starkeeper asks Billy if there’s anything he left unfinished on earth; he is entitled to go back for one day, but only if he wishes to.
Billy decides to visit earth. He finds Julie outside her cottage catching up with Carrie. They are all on their way to Louise and Enoch Junior’s graduation. Billy watches as Louise reveals her plan to run away and become an actress. Revealing himself to Louise, Billy says he knew her father. He tries to give Louise a star, but she turns away, suspicious of him. Growing panicked, he takes her arm, trying to explain, and as she struggles out of his grip, he slaps her hand. She screams and runs inside, bringing Julie back out front. Julie sees Billy for a brief moment before he hides himself again.
At the graduation ceremony, the principal announces the next speaker, Doctor Seldon, who reminds Billy of the Starkeeper. Standing behind Louise, Billy recites the doctor’s wise and inspiring speech, telling Louise to listen and believe him. As the speech continues, the crowd joins in and Billy, standing behind Julie, tells her he loved her.
Cast and Creatives
Robert Wesley Masonas Billy Bigelow
Hailed as a “gifted and fiercely committed baritone whose voice is spacious and reverberant,” (Opera News) Robert Wesley Mason has established themselves as one of today’s most versatile performers, employing “his mighty baritone to stunning effect, using interpretive phrasing and nuanced delivery” (Albany Times Union). In their teenage years, inspired by rock vocalists like Chris Cornell and Jeff Buckley, Wes sang in local bands and played solo in coffee houses in his hometown of Norfolk, Virginia. Voice lessons led to a passion for opera and new music that continues to this day.”
An acclaimed interpreter of contemporary works as well as the inherited repertoire, Wes has performed more than 50 unique operatic roles. Highlights include Hannah Before in As One with
Pensacola Opera, Eugene Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Jan Nyman in Breaking the Waves with West Edge Opera, Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire with Kentucky Opera, Father Flynn in Doubt with Union Avenue Opera, Jonathan in Siren Song with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Dax/Larry in the world premiere of Paterson and Cote’s Three Way with Nashville Opera and American Opera Project, Charlie in Three Decembers and Ping in Turandot with Nashville Opera, the title role in Hamlet with Fort Worth Opera, the title role in Guillaume Tell with the Southern Illinois Music Festival, Reinaldo Arenas in the world premiere of Martín and Koch’s Before Night Falls with Fort Worth Opera, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore with Gulfshore Opera, Masetto in Don Giovanni with Opera Philadelphia and Opera Naples, Achilla in Giulio Cesare with Opera Roanoke, Escamillo in Carmen with Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Escamillo in La Tragédie de Carmen with Syracuse Opera, Marcello in La bohème with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Fort Worth Opera, and Norwalk Symphony, Schaunard in La bohème with the Crested Butte Music Festival, Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles with Opera Delaware and Baltimore Concert Opera, the baritone soloist in Broadway Extravaganza with Opera Hong Kong, Sciarrone in Tosca with Dallas Opera, and Morales in Carmen with the Glimmerglass Festival and Michigan Opera Theater.
Katrina Galka*as Julie Jordan
Kayla Nantoas Nettie Fowler
Mezzo-Soprano Kayla Nanto is an emerging artist based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She is currently a Studio Artist with Fort Worth Opera, with whom she will sing the role of Flora in La traviata in April 2022. For the past four years, she has also been a Performing Artist with The Dallas Opera’s Outreach and Education Program.
This season, Kayla was a winner in the Colorado/Wyoming District of The Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition. She will join Pensacola Opera as an Artist in Residence for their upcoming 2022-2023 season. Some of Kayla’s recent engagements include Second Witch in Dido and Aeneas and Eustazio in Rinaldo with American Baroque Opera Company, Alto soloist in Messiah with Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Frida Kahlo/Mother in the world-premiere of Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World with Fort Worth Opera, Suzuki (cover) in Madama Butterfly with Opera Fort Collins, Ulisse in Achille in Sciro with Orchestra of New Spain, and Edith in Pirates of Penzance with Loveland Opera Theatre.
Kayla holds degrees from University of North Texas (Master of Music) and University of Northern Colorado (Bachelor of Music).
Hayley Abramowitzas Carrie Pipperidge
Hayley Abramowitz, soprano, is dually based in Houston, TX and Washington, DC. They hold degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (MM ’20, PD ’21) and from the University of Maryland School of Music (BM ’18), where they studied with Carol Vaness and Delores Ziegler respectively.
Hayley spent the 2021-22 season as a chorister with the Houston Grand Opera, performing in Carmen, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Die Zauberflöte, and Turandot. They also presented a recital as part of the Living Arts Concert Series, featuring Mozart’s rarely performed concert aria, Popoli di Tessaglia.
Favorite roles include Romilda (Serse), Nella (Gianni Schicchi), Blumenmädchen (Parsifal), Lucy (The Telephone), and Mme. Herz (Die Schauspieldirektor). A third-place winner in the inaugural Cincinnati SongSLAM, Hayley is also a passionate advocate of new music, having presented numerous premieres in the past several years. Particularly dear is William Kenlon’s Longfellow Mosaic for soprano and Pierrot ensemble.
Randy Hoas Enoch Snow
Complemented on his “affectionate vibrato” (OperaWire), tenor, Randy Ho is looking forward to joining the team at Pensacola Opera as an Artist in Residence. This season, Mr. Ho will be singing as Parpignol and covering Rodolfo (La bohème), and singing Enoch Snow (Carousel).
Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Mr. Ho is a recent graduate of the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Ho holds a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration concentrating in Marketing from the University of Denver.
Most recently, Mr. Ho will be showcased in Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s scenes program singing excerpts from Faust, La Traviata, and Carmen. Previously, Mr. Ho has been featured as a studio artist at Carnegie Hall’s Song Studio led by world-renowned Soprano Renee Fleming, Peabody Opera Theater productions of La scala di seta (Dorvil), Hin und Zurück(Robert), Postcard from Morocco (Man with old Luggage), Lamont Opera Theater’s production of Il trittico (Rinuiccio), and as a soloist with The National Repertory Orchestra, Denver Opera Collective, and The Denver Spirituals Project.
Scott Leeas Jigger Craigin
A native of Statesville, North Carolina, baritone Scott Lee has been praised for his “…substance and velvety bass voice” by the Winston-Salem Journal. In recent years, he has performed with Piedmont Opera, The Princeton Festival, Opera Theater of the Rockies and Magnolia Baroque. In 2020, Lee received the Ron Payne Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Charlotte, NC. His most recent engagement was the role of Antonio in Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix, where “the opportunity to experience a staging of Linda di Chamounix was a rare gift to UNCSA’s audiences, but singing such as Lee’s is still rarer not only in student production but upon all the worlds stages.” (Voix des Arts) Lee received his Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Music degree from UNCSA. In addition to performing, Lee is a seasoned teaching artist, having served as a member of UNCSA’s ArtistCorps. He is a student of Dr. Marylin Taylor.
Sara Schoch*as Mrs. Mullins
Sara Schoch is an award-winning actress who combines her 15 years of musical theater experience with her passion for teaching students the techniques of the profession.
In 2015, she was recognized by the city of Boston as a Certified Artist, a designation given to artists who have substantial talent and whose vast body of work contributes significantly to the arts in Boston and state as a whole. She is also a two-time winner, and four-time nominee, for the New Hampshire Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Musical, which she won in 2012 for her performance as Mother in “Ragtime.”
As a professional actress, Schoch is continuously honing her craft. She has appeared in more than 150 professional productions and worked with many Broadway veterans, including Marc Kudish, Kerry O’Malley, Rob Gallagher, Raymond Sage, Robbie Sella, and the legendary Jack Dabdoub. She played Jenny Hill in the premier of Andrew Lippa’s “Big Fish,” rewritten by Lippa and screenwriter John August for a smaller cast in regional theatres. Her other production highlights, include playing Cathy in “The Last 5 Years” (Artie nomination), Roxie in “Chicago,” Kate/Lilli in “Kiss me, Kate!” (New Hampshire nomination), Christine in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (New Hampshire nomination), and Julie in “Some Enchanted Evening” (Joseph Jefferson nomination).
Some of her students and mentees have appeared in the Broadway productions of “Aladdin,” “Finding Neverland,” “Les Miserables,” and the revival of “The Color Purple.”
Joe Tomko*as Starkeeper/Dr. Seldon
Marci Duncan*as Heavenly Friend
Marci J. Duncan earned a BA in performance at Florida A&M University and her Masters in Acting at the University of Florida. She studied television and film acting with Evonne Suhor at Orlando’s Art Sake Acting Studio, where she is a resident ensemble member, substitute instructor, and has starred in three consecutive seasons in their Play De Luna Series. Some of her extensive acting theatre credits include: Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Crowns, Pretty Fire, The Contract, The Mountaintop, The Best of Enemies and Florida Girls. Marci’s film work includes (Just) Another Day co-starring with Jamie Hectar from HBO’s The Wire and Life is not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, working with Debbie Allen and Fantasia Barrino, and a NBC network television series called Young Rock starring Dawyne “The Rock” Johnson. This is Marci’s seventh year as professor and director in the theatre department at the University of West Florida and is currently the president of the Florida Theatre Conference.
Brianna Ascione*as Louise
Brianna Ascione is a dancer, actor, and singer based in New York. Beginning to dance at two-years-old, she graduated from the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts in Dance at the Morris County School of Technology (2018), and is a recent graduate of Marymount Manhattan College (2022) with a BFA in Dance with a Jazz Concentration. She grew up training in all styles of dance at The Dance Academy of North Jersey, and studies voice with Marianne Wells. She is represented by Lucille DiCampli Artist Representation. Brianna has performed in theatre and dance, as well as in television and film. She also has a background in choreography.
Some of her credits include: Off-Broadway: The Little Match Girl: The Concert (Goose Two/Ensemble). Regional: Gypsy at Goodspeed Opera House (u/s Dainty June & Ensemble Swing), Dames at Sea at Bucks County Playhouse (u/s Ruby & Joan), Grease at Mayo Performing Arts Center (Sandy Dumbrowski), West Side Story at Mayo Performing Arts Center (Anybodys), Mary Poppins at Centenary Stage Company (Ensemble). Other: A Chorus Line (Cassie), Into The Woods (Little Red Ridinghood), Big Fish (Jenny Hill), Catch Me If You Can at (Ensemble), The Government Inspector (Svetsunov), His Play (She), The Next Screenplay (Perry). Television/Film: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Season 3, Episode 8), “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Season 4, Episode 5), Marry Me.
In addition to her passion and aspirations for performing, Brianna also has a passion for educating young dancers and actors, helping them to achieve their full potential and more in the performing arts. She currently teaches and choreographs at The Dance Academy of North Jersey, Mayo Performing Arts Center, Delbarton School, Morris County School of Technology, and Roxbury High School. Brianna has also been the Choreographer at Delbarton School for shows such as Working (2021), Something Rotten! (2022), and The Drowsy Chaperone (2023).
Greg Ganakas*as Stage Director
Award-winning director, choreographer, and master teacher Greg Ganakas’s credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, national tours, international productions, and television. He has worked for DisneyLive Entertainment, Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Madison Square Garden. His regional theatre credentials include Tony Award-winning Goodspeed Opera House, Dallas Theatre Center, The Northshore Music Theater, The Long Warf Theater and The Paper Mill Playhouse. He has staged productions for Glimmerglass Opera, Minnesota Opera, Opera Omaha, and Central City Opera, among others. His production of “An Evening of Gilbert and Sullivan”, featuring Beverly Sills and the Boston Pops, was ﬁlmed live at Boston’s Symphony Hall as part of the PBS Great Performances series. Additionally, he has staged the 50th anniversary production of West Side Story at the Globus Theatre in Russia, the Maputo Music Festival in South Africa, the world premiere of Singapora The Musical in Singapore, and the Ravenna Festival, in Italy, celebrating Puccini’s La bohème.
Mr. Ganakas earned an Emmy Award for his production of “Izzo Goes to Broadway”, the Helen Hayes Award, The Kennedy Center Theater Festival Award, and New York University’s Distinguished Teaching Award. A committed educator, he served on faculty at New York University, where he founded their nationally renowned Music Theater program.
He has had the privilege of collaborating with distinguished artists such as Dame Julie Andrews, Betty Buckley, Kristen Chenoweth, Joel Grey, Marvin Hamlisch, Jerry Herman, Patti LuPone, Idina Menzel, Alan Menken, Maestro Riccardo Muti, Sarah Jessica Parker, Harold Prince, and Chita Rivera.
Cody Martinas Conductor
Cody Martin was recently named Music Director at Pensacola Opera, where he has been the Director of Education and Director of the Artists in Residence Program since 2017. During the 2022-23 season, he leads the company’s first ever production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel, as well as sharing the podium for Forty Forward, a 40th anniversary gala concert. Recent seasons have seen Cody leading productions of Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, As One, Florencia en el Amazonas, Man of La Mancha and María de Buenos Aires in Pensacola, as well as making his debut with Fargo-Moorhead Opera conducting Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers. He was on the music staff of Des Moines Metro Opera for three seasons, most recently serving as associate conductor for Rusalka. He previously worked on productions of A Little Night Music, Orphée et Eurydice, and Falstaff in Des Moines. He was on the music staff at Arizona Opera for two seasons, working most recently on productions of Rusalka, Madama Butterfly, Riders of the Purple Sage (world premiere), and La Cenerentola. Prior to that, he served on the music staff of the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center for three seasons, working as an assistant conductor and coach for productions of The Ballad of Baby Doe, Così fan tutte, Rigoletto, Sweeney Todd, Don Giovanni, and Albert Herring.
An avid proponent of new opera, Cody has worked on multiple premieres, including Arizona Opera’s first world premiere, Craig Bohmler’s Riders of the Purple Sage, with a libretto by Steven Mark Kohn; two workshops of The Copper Queen by Clint Borzoni, with a libretto by John de los Santos; a 2014 workshop of Robert Aldridge’s Sister Carrie, and the world premiere of Michael Ching’s Speed Dating Tonight! at Brevard Music Center.
Cody holds degrees from Murray State University and Florida State University.
CONDUCTOR | Cody Martin
STAGE DIRECTOR | Greg Ganakas*
DANCE ASSISTANT | Brianna Ascione*
LIGHTING DESIGNER | Barry Steele
COSTUME DESIGNER | Glenn Avery Breed
HAIR & MAKEUP DESIGNER | Brittany Rappise
SET DESIGNER | Erhard Rom
Sets courtesy of Virginia Opera
PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER | Carson Gilmore*
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER | Alyssa Van Gorder*
REHEARSAL PIANIST | Nathan Cicero
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR | Bryan Chapman
* Pensacola Opera debut artist
Sights & Sounds
Meet the Artists Reception
Friday, March 17 at 10:30 PM
Director’s Champagne Brunch
Sunday, March 19 at 11:45 AM
When choosing your seats, keep in mind that this map is only an approximation and not exactly to scale. If you have specific seating needs or require accessible seating, you may contact the Box Office for more information.
Numbers indicate price level
No stairs in the Orchestra Level
ADA accessible seating in rows V, BB, and DD
House left is even numbered
House right is odd numbered
Center is consecutively numbered
Numbers indicate price level
ADA accessible seating in the Loges
House left is even numbered
House right is odd numbered
Center is consecutively numbered