Patricia Noonan.
Patricia Noonan.
Friday, May 15
With her bright, expressive smile, 24-year-old actress Patricia Noonan already stands out from the crowd. When she steps into the limelight as mill worker Julie Jordan in Barrington Stage Company's season opening production of "Carousel," Berkshire audiences will understand why BSC Artistic Director Julianne Boyd had no doubts about casting her in the leading role.

At the age of 5, she appeared in "The Music Man" at a community theater near her suburban Philadelphia home. Her recent theater studies at Boston College took her to England, France and an internship at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in Connecticut. She cut her professional teeth at White Plains Performing Arts Center in the musicals "Man of La Mancha," "How To Succeed..." and "Ragtime" before joining the world premiere cast of "Little House on the Prairie."

Thinking at first that she had missed the chance to audition for "Carousel" — one of her all-time favorite shows — she went on to win the lead role.

"Rodgers and Hammerstein are a big reason I fell in love with musical theater," she explained in a phone call from her home base in New York City. "I grew up on all the classics. The opening 'If I Loved You' sequence is one of the most beautiful things written in musical theater.

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This will be Noonan's first visit to the Berkshires, but she won't be coming alone. Her real-life friend from "Little House on the Prairie," Sarah Jean Ford, has been cast alongside her as Julie Jordan's best friend, Carrie Pipperidge.

"Carousel" director Boyd explained, "Musicals take us out of ourselves . . . and the music of 'Carousel' does it in spades."

Noonan struck her as the perfect partner for carnival roustabout Billy Bigelow, she said: "I saw the gorgeous voice, a wonderful actress, and just that extra-special fire that you could see why the two of them would connect."

Barrington Stage

Performance: 'Carousel'

Opening: June 17

Where: Pittsfield