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CAROLINE OR CHANGE transfers to the West End starring Sharon D. Clarke

Aaron Gelkoff (Noah) and Sharon D. Clarke (Caroline Thibodeaux) in Caroline, or Change at Hampstead Theatre by Alastair Muir
Aaron Gelkoff (Noah) and Sharon D. Clarke (Caroline Thibodeaux) in Caroline, or Change at Hampstead Theatre by Alastair Muir

Caroline, Or Change, the celebrated musical written by Tony Kushner, author of Angels in America, with a soaring score from Tony Award-winning Jeanine Tesori, will transfer into the West End’s Playhouse Theatre from 20th November 2018 to 9th February 2019.

Hailed by critics, in a virtuoso performance as Caroline Thibodeaux, Olivier Award-winning actress Sharon D. Clarke will reprise the title role when the production transfers to the West End this autumn. Further casting is to be announced in due course.

Directed by Michael Longhurst, this five-star production received phenomenal critical praise when it opened at Chichester Festival Theatre last year and again following its transfer to Hampstead Theatre, where it is currently sold-out until 21 April.

Louisiana, 1963. Revolution is in the air, though not so much for Caroline, the poorly paid maid toiling endlessly in the sweltering basement of the Gellman household. It’s a fantastical, magical place amidst the piles of laundry and singing washing machines, especially for eight-year-old Noah Gellman who sneaks downstairs to see her whenever he can. Yet a simple gesture to leave more money in Caroline’s pocket is about to test who and how far the winds of change can ever really reach…

Winner of the 2007 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, Caroline, Or Change is a playful, funny, and deeply moving portrait of America at a time of momentous social upheaval, set to an uplifting and profound score of soul, blues, classical and traditional Jewish folk music.

Partly inspired by his own boyhood, the book and lyrics are by Tony Kushner. Kushner is author of the ground-breaking Angels in America, his two-part epic drama about the AIDS epidemic in 1980’s New York which recently ran at the National Theatre, is currently playing at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York, was made into an HBO mini-series and inspired an opera and musical work. Kushner’s film credits include screenplays Fences starring and directed by Denzel Washington, Lincoln, Munich which he co-wrote for Steven Spielberg and forthcoming remake of West Side Story, also for Spielberg. Other credits include The Intellectual Homosexual’s Guide to Capatilism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, Hydriotaphia, Slavs!:Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness and adaptations of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children and The Good Person of Szechwan.

Music is by Jeanine Tesori. Tesori wrote the Tony Award-winning Best Original Score to Fun Home, alongside Lisa Kron’s book and lyrics, the music for Broadway, West End and inernational touring Shrek The Musical, eleven new songs for the stage adaptation of Thoroughly Modern Millie and the score for Broadway production, Violet. In addition to Caroline, Or Change, her work with Tony Kushner includes incidential music for Mother Courage and Her Children and their opera A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck. Film scores include Nights in Rodanthe, The Little Mermaid: Ariels Beginning and Mulan II. Tesori’s opera The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me, premiered at the Kennedy Center in 2013.

Michael Longhurst directs. His credits include the recent revival of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus (National Theatre) and Nick Payne’s Constellations starring Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall at Royal Court and in the West End and with Ruth Wilson and Jake Gyllenhaal on Broadway. Longhurst also worked with Gyllenhaal on his American stage debut in If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet (Roundabout Theatre, New York). Other credits include Gloria (Hampstead Theatre), Belleville (Donmar), Bad Jews (Theatre Royal Bath/West End), and Linda (Royal Court).

Olivier Award-winner Sharon D. Clarke is to reprise her critically-hailed performance in the role of Caroline Thibodeaux. Clarke has enjoyed a long established stage career with credits including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and The Amen Corner (National Theatre), Ghost The Musical (Piccadilly Theatre), The Life (Southwark Playhouse), Porgy and Bess (Regents Park Open Air Theatre), Hairspray (Shaftesbury Theatre) and We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre). On TV, Clarke is known for playing Lola Griffin in BBC’s Holby City.

The score (Jeanine Tesori) is ably directed by Nigel Lilley, and the orchestra seemingly effortlessly glides through a wide variety of musical styles. And at the end, a powerful epilogue by Caroline’s daughter Emmie (Abiona Omonua) closes proceedings with a suitably majestic and hopeful finish. An earlier exchange of views between her and Mr Stopnick (Teddy Kempner) had me on the edge of my seat. This is a remarkably compelling production, gritty and sorrowful, brilliantly performed. 5-star Review

Ambassador Theatre Group, Gavin Kalin Productions, Glass Half Full Productions and Rupert Gavin, in association with Hampstead Theatre, present the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Caroline, Or Change. Book and lyrics by Tony Kushner, music by Jeanine Tesori and is directed by Michael Longhurst, with designs by Fly Davis, choreography by Ann Yee, musical direction by Nigel Lilley, lighting by Jack Knowles, sound by Paul Arditti, casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG and children’s casting by Debbie O’Brien.

Book and lyrics by TONY KUSHNER

Playhouse Theatre
Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5DE
Performance schedule:
First performance: 20 November 2018
Final performance: 9 February 2019


1 thought on “CAROLINE OR CHANGE transfers to the West End starring Sharon D. Clarke”

  1. I saw the show on 15th March, and I was surprised, to see so many seats occupied, considering the show had only opened on 12th. A brilliantly entertaining show, with comedy, humour and over-all terrific all round performance’s from everyone on and involved with the set. Can’t fault a thing. Was hoping to get a few tickets for family, but have sold out.

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