Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, giants of American musical theater, created legendary Broadway musicals in the 1940s and 50s and initiated what is widely considered the “golden age” of musical theater. The composers were geniuses at weaving challenging thematic issues into romantic love stories shared through dance and song. Consider The King and I, Oklahoma, South Pacific, and Carousel, all musical theater chestnuts that carry a powerful social commentary punch.

With their original production of Café Carousel, the Ashley Hall Theater Department, under the direction of Director Maida Libkin, created an evening to celebrate and examine the work Rodgers and Hammerstein through the lens of social justice. The team crafted the show’s poignant narrative through meticulous research of the musicals and by working closely with Upper School humanities faculty who teach classes such as Human Rights and International Law, American Studies, and Race Class, and Gender for historical and social context. Café Carousel proved enormously successful giving audiences of all ages much to think about.

Taking their efforts one step further, the Café Carousel cast and crew generously donated a portion of ticket sales, $2,000, to the local Charleston non-profit, My Sister’s House, which provides services and resources to empower victims of domestic violence and their children to live free of abuse. Brava to all!