Friday, February 12, 2010

Caroline, Or Change is in Brooklyn

Attention Brooklyn (and NYC): "Caroline or Change" is playing at the Gallery Players in Park Slope through Feb. 21. DO NOT MISS IT.

If you are within the sound of my voice you should run, not walk, to the Gallery Players' production of Caroline, or Change.

I'm sure the production will be excellent, because Gallery Players always does a good job. But more than that, this is one of those not-to-be-missed shows. It's sung-through, created from the brain of Tony Kushner (book and lyrics), with music by Jeanine Tesori and first workedshopped at the Public Theater in 1999, directed by George Wolfe. It came back the Public in 2003 for a few months, and not much later moved to Broadway, in 2004, for a short run.

Caroline is the black maid of a Jewish family at the end of 1963 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The mother of the family has died and the stepmother, for various reasons, tells Caroline that when she finds pocket change in the clothes of the nine-year-old boy, Noah, she can keep it. The themes are big, big, big: race, class, anti-semiticism, JFK, the civil rights movement, music, kids, family, grief--you name it. As the Wiki entry says, the music is a whole mix of spirituals, blues, Motown, classical music, and Klezmer, and folk music, and even a little Christmas music. Aniki Noni Rose won a Tony for her portrayal of Emmie, Caroline's older daughter.

I listen to it often, and it still gives me chills and brings me to tears. It's at the Gallery Players through Feb. 21. Dave and Lily are going to visit Grandma on Long Island next weekend so they're going to see it on Friday night. I sure wish I could see it too, but I have school.

If you don't make this, but you should, get over to the Gallery Players some time soon. They do excellent productions, often with Equity actors, on a shoestring. I've never been disappointed with a production there.

The Gallery Players is the theater that gave me my first gig as an assistant stage manager in 2005, god bless them, the job that led to production stage manager with the wonderful Henry Wishcamper, who recommended me to Will Frears, which led to my getting my Equity card when I got hired (with money!) for Will's production of God Hates the Irish at the fabulous Rattlestick Theater in the West Village. But that's a different story.

1 comment:

  1. We saw the show. It was great. I could see it again. This cast was excellent. They did not hold back. Each of them was truly generous with their performance.

    I'm listening to the original soundtrack right this very minute.


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