At the core of “Carousel,” which has been revived with breathtaking emotional intensity at the Imperial Theatre, is a dark fatalism that trails the leading lovers like their own shadows. Although the major Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals are broadly considered, with good reason, to be shot through with romance and uplift, in this 1945 musical — their greatest, in my view — they explored the facets of love and of life that bring as much sadness and sorrow as pleasure and joy. The new production, Broadway’s first since Nicholas Hytner’s landmark 1994 revival, has been directed by the veteran Jack…

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  1. Charles Isherwood writes, “Those who may find this production too dance-heavy might note that in the original, Agnes de Mille’s second-act ballet alone ran a full 40 minutes!”

    If that were true, it would rate the exclamation point with which Mr. Isherwood punctuates the end of his sentence, but it’s not true. It’s not even close to true. Nonsense has been written about the length of the original ballet over the years, some of it by de Mille herself, but anyone with a bit of common sense would realize that the idea that the ballet ran 40 minutes is nonsense. At the link you can watch the complete second-act ballet from the original production, with Bambi Linn and Robert Pagent, shot on the stage of the Majestic one night after a performance. The orchestra musicians were not willing to stay without extra pay so this performance of the ballet was accompanied only by piano. The “Hornpipe” was shot the same night. The “Hornpipe” can also be found on youtube.