Carnival

CARNIVAL opens on a few trees and the hint of an expansive meadow. The stage is otherwise empty, without even a curtain. A small figure in shabby clothes enters and starts to play a wheezy concertina. Slowly the instruments of the orchestra join in. The stage begins to light up as roustabouts carry in poles and canvas. A carnival is assembled before our eyes. A wide-eyed, pale faced girl appears. She carries a lopsided suitcase and wears a poor fitting suit and black stockings. Lili, this lonely orphan, is enchanted with the desire to join the lively and glamorous carnival.
Lili is unsuccessful at several jobs with the troupe. The troupe, touring the small cities of France about a generation ago, is raffish and run down. We can see that at one time they were very successful. Touches of this former splendor come forth in the jubilant production number Grand Imperial Cirque de Paris. The jugglers, animal acts, aerialists, clowns and dancers perform before Lili’s eyes. She is dazzled by their spirited and colorful excitement. One scene segues into the next without need of curtain or scenery change, except for a few pieces which are pushed off and on by the roustabouts. Scenes are created by banners dropping from the sky and by imaginative highlighting of sections of the stage.
Lili becomes the pawn in a fierce rivalry for her affection between Marco the Magnificent, the troupe’s magician and Paul Berthalet, a puppeteer with an injured leg. She is fascinated with Marco’s fabulous magic. Paul becomes very jealous of Marco, who seems to be winning Lili with his suave and gallant ways. Marco’s dance –Sword, Rose and Cape highlights his personality. His partner in his magic act is billed as The Incomparable Rosalie. She is a comic who threatens to leave him, to marry a doctor who turns out to be a veterinarian. They argue continuously and do a hilarious number –Always Always You in which Marco pierces (with swords) a basket in which Rosalie is enclosed.
Paul communicates through his charming puppets. They include the sentimental walrus who is afraid of “antiwalrus” remarks; the sophisticated fox who observes, “You’ve never fox-trotted until you’ve done it with a fox”; a lively redheaded boy and a society lady who the years have somehow passed by. Still searching for her place in the carnival, Lili finally joins the puppet act.
The spirit of the show is brought to the audience with rousing circus parades, hawkers throwing souvenirs into audience members’ laps, and performers marching down the aisles. At last the conflict between Marco, the lover who is beguiling, and Paul the lover who is true, is resolved. In a brilliant dramatic moment Lili rejects Marco and exits with Paul.
The hauntingly wonderful musical theme Love Makes the World Go Round runs through the story. The mood of the carnival people is captured perfectly in a simple, touching, lighthanded way. Comedy is blended perfectly with pathos. The effect is “America’s Magical Musical” with enchanting appeal for matinee audiences and Saturday night sophisticates.

Cast/Characters

Schlegel – Dick Pool

Rosalie – Ruth Vollrath

Grobert – Joseph Selinski

Jacquet – Robert LaFave

Marco – Robert Montemayor

Paul – Roger Anderson

Lilli – Joan Heule

Doctor Glass – Peter Moody

Small Stuff – Don LaFave

Ensemble – Jane Adams, Theresa Fadlevic, Joe Feustel, Mary Ann Fibiger, Lisa Gleaser, Diane Gillig, Lauri Guske, Sarah Hodges, Jodine Hoegger, Brian Kelm, John Kloosterboer, Bob Levezow, Loida Montemayer, Lynn Nass, Carolyn Pointer, Mary Jo Sizonen, Lorraine Selinski

 

Production Staff

Director: David W. Keyte

Musical Director: Tim Adrianson & Rosemary Tellen

Choreographer: Roger Anderson

Stage Manager: Mark Tellen

Costume Design: Lillian Bailey

Light Design: Don Zastrow

Sound Design: Dick Pool

Properties: Linda Zarvl

Master Carpenters: Warren Weimann, Ludwig Johst, Jeff Seibenaler, Lupe Segovia

Paint Master: Kathleen Andersen

Cover Art: Roger Lahm

Orchestra

Piano: Tim Adrianson

Accordion: Bob Levezow

Guitar: Lyn Nass