March 1967 Carousel - 50 Years of Musicals
March 1967 Carousel - 50 Years of Musicals

50 Years of Musicals

March 1967 - "Carousel"

First Musical in Burton T. Seymour Auditorium

By Aileen Carney Sweeney
March 2017


Mary Carney and Jack Miller - Carousel 1967
Mary Carney as Julie Jordan and Jack Miller as Billy Bigelow - Carousel 1967

You'll Never Walk Alone

On March 16, 17, and 18, 1967, "Carousel" was the first musical presented in the Burton T. Seymour Auditorium by the Ilion Drama Club.

"Carousel" opened at Broadway's Majestic Theatre on April 19, 1945, and ran for 890 performances. Audiences in the throes of World War II responded deeply to its story of a young widow raising a child alone, and its spiritual imagery had a profound impact on those who had lost a loved one overseas. The effects of CAROUSEL and its anthem, "You’ll Never Walk Alone" are haunting to this day.... Rolling into the 21st Century, "You'll Never Walk Alone" (listen on YouTube) continues to inspire the world at times of triumph and tragedy.

In 2002, opera great Renee Fleming sang it at Ground Zero as part of the first year anniversary commemorations of the devastating 9/11 attacks. -

Carney Family Loss in 1967

The role of Julie Jordan was played by Mary Carney IHS 1967 in the Ilion High School production of "Carousel". Erin Carney IHS 1975 was also in the production and played the role of a Bascombe child. Sadly, the Carney sisters' father, Dr. Theordore Robert Carney IHS 1936, did not live long enough to see the performances. He died on February 1, 1967 just six-weeks before the opening of the show. He was survived by his widow, Margaret, and their nine children: Bridget, Kathleen, Mary, Patrick, Roberta, Aileen, Erin, Shawn and Theodore.

Seymour Family Loss in 1963

Ilion alumni, Lola Mullen and Burton T. Seymour, married on April 19, 1941. They enjoyed a union of twenty-two years. Fireman Burton T. Seymour tragically died in the line of duty, while fighting the Ilion High School fire on April 21, 1963. The newly constructed auditorium was named in his honor. From that day forward, Lola Seymour raised their six children: daughters, Patricia (Seymour) Coriale, Kathleen (Seymour) Fuhrer, Barbara (Seymour) DeGouff, and Deborah Seymour and sons, Michael and Thomas Seymour. Lola Seymour, age 91, passed away with her family at her side, on Saturday, January 21, 2012. Besides her six children, she was survived by fourteen grandchildren; twenty-seven great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

"Carousel" was the premier musical performed in the new auditorium. Fifty years later, Ilion, and now CVA, students continue presenting musical productions in the same theater.

Carousel Synopsis

"In a Maine coastal village toward the end of the 19th century, the swaggering, carefree carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, captivates and marries the naive millworker, Julie Jordan. Billy loses his job just as he learns that Julie is pregnant and, desperately intent upon providing a decent life for his family, he is coerced into being an accomplice to a robbery. Caught in the act and facing the certainty of prison, he takes his own life and is sent 'up there.' Billy is allowed to return to earth for one day fifteen years later, and he encounters the daughter he never knew. She is a lonely, friendless teenager, her father's reputation as a thief and bully having haunted her throughout her young life. How Billy instills in both the child and her mother a sense of hope and dignity is a dramatic testimony to the power of love. It's easy to understand why, of all the shows they created, "Carousel" was Rodgers & Hammerstein's personal favorite." -

Graduation Scene - Carousel 1967
Graduation Scene - Carousel 1967

Carousel Ilion Production

Visit the Carousel Home Page for the program, including the cast list, staff, and thanks to Jack Miller IHS 1967 and Jim Miller IHS 1972 newly added photographs. Other musicals are listed on the Traditions - Musicals List page


References Cited

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Created and maintained by Aileen Carney Sweeney - Class of 1974

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Modified April 1, 2017

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