Music by Richard Rodgers: Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
In a Maine coastal village toward the end of the 19th century, the swaggering, carefree carnival barker Billy Bigelow captivates a gentle, if determined, millworker, Julie Jordan. They marry, but Billy loses his job and Julie becomes pregnant. In the famous “Soliloquy,” he expresses his excitement and concern about the responsibilities of fatherhood. Intent upon providing a decent life for his family, Billy aids in a robbery. Caught in the act and facing the certainty of prison, he takes his own life and is sent “up there.” Allowed to return to earth for one day fifteen years later, he encounters the daughter he never knew. She is a lonely, friendless teenager, haunted by her father’s reputation as a thief and bully. Selflessly, Billy restores a sense of hope and dignity to both the child and her mother, in a dramatic testimony to the power of love.
Directed by Steve Foster