“Carousel” made Broadway history before its opening by listing all of its cast members on the digital marquee, rather than just the leads.
The Scott Rudin production at the Imperial Theatre, which stars Tony Award-winner Jessie Mueller, Tony Award-nominated actor Joshua Henry and opera star Renée Fleming, begins the digital marquee with their names, but later displays the names of the remainder of the cast, for a total of 39 names. This is the first time a Broadway show has put this number of cast members on the marquee, according to the show’s press representatives, but it also bucks tradition by not solely featuring the names of its stars.
Though in many cases a marquee will feature a star name, there have been notable exceptions, such as the Cameron Mackintosh-produced “Cats,” “Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Misérables,” which originally appeared without names on the marquees, instead seeming to say that the show was the star, says Laurence Maslon, an arts professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
As Maslon notes, history proved Mackintosh right.
“Carousel” has some history of its own, having five previous runs on Broadway. The original company, which had an opening night of April 19, 1945, did not have any known stars in the cast. The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical followed the successful run of “Oklahoma!,” another show that did not have any known stars.
Similarly, the most recent revival of “Carousel,” which ran from February 1994 through January 1995 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, did not have big star names attached. But the show included many now-known actors, catapulting Audra McDonald to fame, and serving as the Broadway debut of Taye Diggs.
At the Imperial Theatre, the digital marquee leads with show art and the three names of the leads, followed by a full spread for each of the three actors and then the main supporting actors. With animation of a carousel in between the lists of names, the marquee then moves through the rest of ensemble.
The show is scheduled to start previews Feb. 28 with an opening on April 12.