Warning: wikipedia contains spoilers
Blustery carnival barker Billy Bigelow marries the demure Julie Jordan, and is killed in a robbery attempt while trying to get money for their unborn child. At the Pearly Gates, Billy is given one chance to redeem himself on Earth. He is able to convince Julie and their (now-grown) daughter that he has always loved them, and he ascends to Heaven.
Both Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II said that Carousel was the favorite of their works together. They broke new ground in musical theater storytelling with their extended music/dialogue scenes, such as "If I Loved You" and, hauntingly, the "Soliloquy" (where Billy imagines his unborn child). The final anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone" has taken on a life of its own; a graduation standard, it is also customarily sung by fans at English football matches, especially those of Liverpool F.C
A 1956 movie version starred Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae.