Save on Tickets for all the Top ShowsCall 1-800-838-8155

Meet the Tony Nominees: Joshua Henry of 'Carousel'

Category Broadway

|by Jeryl Brunner |

Why playing Billy Bigelow is a game-changer for Joshua Henry

With great passion, grit and heart, Joshua Henry stars as carnival barker Billy Bigelow in the revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel. Nominated for 11 Tonys and 12 Drama Desk awards, including Best Revival, the beloved musical combines a feast of dance and musical experiences. Justin Peck of the New York City Ballet brings his inspired choreography, while directing legend Jack O’Brien directs. In addition to Henry, the dream team cast includes Jessie Mueller, Lindsay Mendez, Alexander Gemignani, Margaret Colin and opera’s Renée Fleming. A three-time Tony nominee, Henry’s other Broadway credits include Violet, The Scottsboro Boys, Shuffle Along, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, American Idiot, Bring It On and In the Heights. Before Carousel he played Aaron Burr on tour in Hamilton.

Joshua Henry in 'Carousel' (Photo: Julieta Cervantes)

Joshua Henry in 'Carousel' (Photo: Julieta Cervantes)

When did you know you had to be an actor? 
Joshua Henry:
When I joined the Musical Theater Conservatory at the University of Miami my freshman year. That is when I knew. I was obsessed with everything having to do with acting, singing and dancing. And that obsession has only grown. I loved the craft of performing. I loved learning about acting with human emotions and how we can be honest portraying people who we have never met. Also I love trying to connect with people. Acting is a whole empathy game for me. So that was really fascinating.

During my sophomore year of college at the University of Miami, the first production that I did was Violet. (Years later, Henry would ultimately play that same role on Broadway.) What is even more extraordinary is that Michael McElroy, who originally played Flick off-Broadway in 1997, came down to Miami to direct me in that production. So that was very, very special.  He expected so much out of us as actors. And we wanted so much to please him. 

What qualities do you like in your character Billy Bigelow? 
Joshua Henry:
I love the eventual passion and determination that he has to do something great for his family. I’m a new father, so I can really connect with that. It’s my big connection to him. I love that he tries to get a second chance and he does the best that he can with that chance. I think we all need second chances here and there. So I really appreciate that he finally turns a corner. He thinks he can do something really useful to make things better. 

What went through your mind when you were cast in Carousel
Joshua Henry:
I remember having a meeting with Scott Rudin and him telling me about this incredible idea. At first, it was just “what an honor.” It’s such an incredible classic and such a huge piece of our culture musically. My parents grew up with this music. So I thought of the honor of being in a piece of history like this. And then I wondered what the cast was going to look like. How we were going to comprise the cast? And I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Jessie Mueller, Renée Fleming and so many others would be joining. I have been a fan and have admired them. And I worked with Alex Gemignani. It is so great to have an incredible cast like this.

What was the first Broadway show you ever saw? 
Joshua Henry:
Wicked. It was incredible. I was a junior in college and I came up to New York with friends. Seeing Taye Diggs on stage was a really powerful moment. I thought, “Well, actually, there are more possibilities out there than I thought there were.”

For more great theater, check out our Top Shows in May.

Recent Articles

  • Broadway Beat: ‘Come From Away' Celebrates 3 Years on Broadway, More

    Category Broadway

    |by Amy Sapp |March 9, 2020

    Plus, ‘Once Upon a One More Time’ Britney Spears musical cast announced

  • ShowTickets Q&A: Rose Byrne of ‘Medea’

    Category Broadway

    |by Jeryl Brunner |March 5, 2020

    “You feel for this woman who is broken.” 

  • The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Seats for a Broadway Show

    Category Broadway

    |by Mikey Miller |March 4, 2020

    From the meaning of “partial view” to where to sit with toddlers, here’s our complete guide

  • Broadway Q&A: Jay O. Sanders of ‘Girl From the North Country’

    Category Broadway

    |by Jeryl Brunner |March 3, 2020

    “When you see this production, you realize it’s nothing you can expect.”