The Carousel Theatre was one of the first theatres in the round. It opened in 1958 in Framingham, Massachusetts, on Old Connecticut Path and seated between 2,500 and 3,000 people. Owned by Frank Connelly and Gerald Roberts, it was reportedly the largest theatrical tent in the United States at the time.
The first ever performance at the Theater was the musical New Girl in Town on June 30, 1958.
In 1960, the musical theater season schedule featured Andy Devine and Gogi Grant in Showboat, Tony Perkins in Damn Yankees, Ginger Rogers in Annie Get Your Gun, and Howard Keel in South Pacific. The theater even hosted burlesque.
During each summer, approximately nine musical shows were staged featuring ‘name’ stars over the 15 week season. These stars, who came from Broadway and Hollywood, were supported by a resident chorus and orchestra. On occasional Sundays, concerts were offered by popular musicians. These were usually in the field of jazz. Notables included Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, George Shearing, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong.
In addition to Jimi Hendrix in 1968 & Led Zeppelin in 1969, the theater hosted other rock bands as well as singers and comedians. Over the years, the lineup included Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, the Four Tops, the Temptations, the Turtles, Orpheus, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Ethel Merman, Johnny Mathis, David Ruffin, Johnny Winter, Tom Jones, Ray Charles, the Lovin’ Spoonful, Ten Years After, the Association, Jack Benny, Carol Lawrence, Andy Williams, The Osmonds, Phyllis Diller, Danny Kaye, Jack Benny, Joan Rivers, Jerry Lewis, Chicago, Liberace, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Peter, Paul and Mary, and, of course, Tiny Tim.
The Carousel Theater closed in the early 1970s and was destroyed by fire shortly thereafter. It has been replaced by Carousel Office Park, which consists of several office buildings.
(from materials submitted by LD Glover)
Published on October 7, 2020