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Carousel
 
Here are some fan's comments
about Kevin's performance as Billy Bigelow "Carousel"
 

 

 

 

 

 

Review By
Sheri

Review Date
3-31-03

Show Dates
March 29-30, 2003

 

 

 


I've finally seen Kevin as Billy Bigelow...And he was just AMAZING! Aside from the eight minutes or so of pure bliss at the end of the first act when he sings "Soliloquy", the thing that I loved the most about his performance was the depth he gave this very complex character.

Billy is a deceivingly complex character that, at first glance, appears rather cliché. It takes a truly gifted actor to bring out the subtleties that make the character so multifaceted. Kevin does a perfect job of adding just enough tenderness to his portrayal to make it possible for the audience to see past his tough front. In a particularly touching scene, when Julie announces that she's pregnant, Kevin rushes up to her and gives her a huge hug. We, in the audience, can't see his facial expression but then he lets out a sweet and joyful laugh and in that brief instant, we know everything we have to know about how he feels about the baby. It was simply beautiful.

In another brilliant scene, Kevin does a wonderful job of playing down Billy's "tough guy" image. He nervously shifts his weight from foot to foot while talking with Jigger - apparently uneasy about the impending crime they're about to commit. He does it absent-mindedly and when Jigger points it out, he stops, only to clutch at his chest because his "heart can't stop jumping around under the knife." Kevin's characterization is beautiful. In these few minutes, he literally turns into a scared little boy in front of our eyes. His mannerisms are so natural and his breathing becomes short and labored and we can see the nervous energy pouring out of him with each move he makes. It was absolutely brilliant.

Although those scenes were wonderful, the moment in the show that got to me the most was the scene in heaven where Billy is talking with Enoch (or the Starkeeper who looks like Enoch) and he runs through the list of things Billy's done wrong in his life. When he mentions that Billy beat Julie, Kevin turns around abruptly and almost gasps out, "I didn't beat her!" There was something so heart-breaking about the look on his face and the tone of his voice that I got a huge lump in my throat each time I saw it. It was incredibly heart breaking.

And his voice...OH.MY.GOSH... His "Soliloquy" was simply the most incredible thing I've ever heard him sing. Especially on Saturday night when it seemed that something overtook him and his voice was stronger, fuller, and more emotional than I've ever heard it. During the course of his solo he went through every possible emotion imaginable - from proud to scared to determined. Only a truly great actor with an incredible voice could pull off "Soliloquy" successfully and Kevin was absolutely phenomenal!

Equally as strong and possibly more emotional was his reprise of "If I Loved You" near the end of the second act. His back was turned to the audience so all we could hear was his gorgeous voice, but on Sunday, I was sitting close enough to the center such that I could see his partial profile. I caught a glimpse of his eyes watering and I can honestly say for those few minutes, my heart broke for Billy and Julie and my eyes started welling up with tears as well.

I have now seen Kevin perform in a total of nine shows and although he was wonderful in each of them, his incredible acting abilities and little nuances that he added to make Billy Bigelow spring to life for me in this production made this my favorite performance of all time.


Just got back from Carousel: another Kevin Earley stunner! At first I was really put off by the sound system. Everyone sounded like they were speaking to us via tin cans. But whatever the technical problems, Kevin's voice soared over them. The rest of the cast was uneven -- some of them were quite good. I was especially impressed with the dance numbers. Since this really was community theatre, with only 3 equity members in the cast, they really did an exceptional job. I can't say I understand why the Star Maker was played by every supporting actor in the cast, but the director made some nice choices in the characterization of Billy Bigalow. He came across as a likeable (albeit somewhat flawed) guy.

 

Submitted By
Linda

Review Date
4-3-03

Show Date
April 3rd, 2003

Submitted By
Bobbie

Review Date
4-5-03

Show Date
March 29th, 2003

Thanks, Bobbie!

 


On March 29th I had the opportunity to see Rodgers and Hammerstein's, "Carousel" in Thousand Oaks, California. I had never seen Carousel before, and I have to be honest, Billy Bigelow is not one of my favorite characters. He hits his wife, he's irresponsible, and never told anyone how he truly felt until he was dead.

So, what is the smart thing to do? You get the best singer you can find to play him. And that is exactly what they did. They got Kevin Earley, whose voice can make you forget that really Billy is kind of a jerk

I have to say that my favorite moment of the night was Kevin's performance of "Soliloquy." I think my jaw dropped to the floor and stayed there through the rest of the musical. Honestly, I saw women pulling tissues out of their purses to wipe their tears. That's how beautiful it was. It was one of those moments where you didn't know someone could sing like that, until that moment.

I guess in the end Billy wasn't that bad of a character. You do come to understand that he did love his wife, and inside wanted to do the right thing, he just didn't know how. Kevin was wonderful at bringing that sensitivity to the role.

Other than Kevin, who of course was my favorite performer, I also very much enjoyed Gordon Goodman as Jigger. He had me laughing really hard more than once. He definitely brought a lot to the musical.

I would definitely recommend seeing Kevin in the role of Billy Bigelow if you ever have the chance. It ranks up there with his performance in "1776," he was that incredible.





As I sat in the audience waiting for the curtain to rise for this performance of "Carousel," I never dreamed that I was about to experience what I can classify only as "heaven." This utopia was constructed by all of the talented actors in this production, but greatly created by the amazing talent of Kevin Earley. His dynamic acting with just the right combination of strength and sensitivity led me through every spectrum of emotion; his voice, powerful yet soft, enormous yet sweet had me completely mesmerized in a state from which I never wanted to return. I believed every word he spoke, every movement he brilliantly conveyed, every heart-rending note he crooned and every solid note he belted. To put in mildly, I fell in love! As the play came to it's end and the curtain raised for the finale, I stood and screamed and hoped that Kevin would know that it was for him - I left the theater wishing that there was a way to bottle up the experience for future pleasure. The closest I will get to that will be when I am treated again to the delightful brilliance that is Kevin Earley!



 
Submitted By
Shelley

Review Date
4-9-03

Show Date
March 29th, 2003

Thanks, Shelley!

Submitted By
Marina

Review Date
4-9-03

Show Date
March 29th, 2003

Thanks, Marina!

 

My mother and I agree that we never have to see "Carousel" again. Kevin's performance as Billy Bigelow was so fully realized, so incredibly moving, and so beautiful that anyone else in the role will pale in comparison.

I will never be able to fully explain the visceral reaction I experienced hearing Kevin sing "If I Loved You" because anytime I begin to describe the emotion I begin to weep.

The talented cast and fabulous production will never be forgotten, and special mention to Lisa Gillespie (especially because we share the same last name) who played Louise Bigelow.

Her ballet was beautiful and well-performed.



Do I like Kevin's interpretation of Billy Bigelow? Let's see - Kevin gets to sing some powerhouse songs that have put Rodgers and Hammerstein at the top on many charts, Kevin plays the romantic lead, Kevin is... Oh the better question would be - How can i HATE Kevin's performance? Kevin has got to be one of the greatest baritones Broadway and America know. His voice is so rich and so full of passion and ... its darn right BEAUTIFUL and SEXY! There is no way to describe Kevin's voice and his performance was equally as great and indescribible.

Billy Bigelow, like Enjolras in "Les Miz" and Sky in "guys and dolls", is a tough act to pull. For one its a character that has been performed numerous times and it also a character that has been made immortal on film. I'm sure that every audience member was thinking about another performance they had seen of "Carousel" and that Billy and of the original movie. However, thanks to the great talent which Kevin posesses I was able to sit back and enjoy a thoroughly new adaptation with one heck of a Billy.

I think one thing which captivated me about Kevin's performance was his interaction with his Julie (Kristi Holden). He was able to weave the perfect amount of vulnerability and roughness into his portrayl which left you neither furious for him for hitting Julie but rather sympathizing for his desire to do what he thinks is best.

I fear if I went on I would never be able to finish. I'll just say that Kevin has got to be one of the greatest singers and actors and I am so blessed that I saw him as Billy Bigelow at the Cabrillo Music Theatre.


  Submitted By
Joy

Review Date
4-1-03

Show Date
March 30th, 2003

Submitted By
Laura

Show Date: 3-29-03

Thanks, Laura!

 
It was great getting together with Sheri and Bobbie for another Kevin event! This time it was Rodger's and Hammerstein's Carousel at the Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks, California. Kevin's powerful performances on numbers like "Soliloquy" and the duet "If I Loved You" made this show a must see. His voice was so engrossing that I barely noticed the horrible costume the poor guy had to wear all through the first act, and that's a good thing.

 
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