STERLING — Sterling College Theatre was hoping to make history again with a special musical performance Nov. 19-21, but those plans have been postponed because of the coronavirus.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions with at least two cast members, the Sterling College Theatre production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Carousel" is being postponed until sometime in January. Specific dates will be announced later.
"We are excited to bring this classic show to life," said artistic director Sasha Hildebrand, who is directing the show. "The cast has been working hard and we have some excellent costumes, a unique setting and, of course, the thrilling music all ready to go but now we must delay again. While we all understand the situation we are disappointed. However we are determined to see this show in front of an audience one day soon."
Dates and ticket information will be announced later.
After featuring the college’s first all-Black cast last spring in "Fences," this fall, for the first time ever, the group will present a full-scale traditional musical "in the round."
Hildebrand said she likes to do things that haven’t been done before.
She said one of her friends from her time as a Sterling College student was the one who first suggested a musical in the round in Upper Wilson. Her friend’s original idea was to stage the first Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, "Oklahoma."
"Of course, since ‘Oklahoma’ has been done here relatively recently, we couldn’t do that show," Hildebrand said. "I was thinking, you know, ‘Carousel’ is actually a much more appropriate musical to do in the round because of the sheer fact of a carousel, the shape of a carousel, and the fact that the show is kind of circular in content, it goes in a cycle."
Hildebrand said she chose "Carousel" for several reasons. For one thing, she said, "I think ‘Carousel’ has the most beautiful, lyrical melodies and harmonies out of all of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s shows."
Hildebrand also chose the show because she has been working to bring more elements of dance to the Sterling theater department, and "Carousel" is a dance-intensive show.
To help choreograph and teach the most involved dances, the department brought in a choreographer from New York, Travis Nesbitt. He has worked with Sterling students before helping to choreograph "Little Shop of Horrors" in 2019.
Nesbitt said that choreographing in the round can be challenging because "there are no blind spots on the stage, so the choreography has to stay moving and must be constantly changing perspectives and look aesthetically pleasing on all sides."
But, he said, "With ‘Carousel’ this challenge becomes an opportunity. An actual carousel moves in a circle and is constantly changing perspectives, so this show becomes a wonderful opportunity for the physical stage to reflect the show and thus inform the choreography."
When rescheduled dates are confirmed, all performances of "Carousel" will take place on the second floor of the Wilson building on the Sterling College campus. Social distancing and masks for audience members will be required. Seating will be limited due to the location in Upper Wilson.