Stage Door News
Toronto: The Musical Stage Company and Obsidian Theatre present “Caroline, Or Change” January 30-February 15, 2020
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Following announcements earlier this year of a new annual residency at the historic Winter Garden Theatre and the inaugural production of the residency - a reimagined and expanded staging of their 2012 hit, CAROLINE, OR CHANGE, againin co-production with frequent collaborators Obsidian Theatre - The Musical Stage Company is thrilled to share a sneak peek at this hotly anticipated show, today releasing a first look video.
With book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner (ANGELS IN AMERICA) and music by Tony Award-winner and Pulitzer Prize-finalist Jeanine Tesori (FUN HOME), CAROLINE, OR CHANGE is one of the most celebrated musicals of the 21stcentury. CAROLINE, OR CHANGE will be on stage for a limited 16-performance engagement beginning January 30 to February 15, 2020, coinciding with Black History Month.
The 2020 production reunites many members of the original 2012 creative team led by director Robert McQueen and music director Reza Jacobs, and will star multiple Juno Award-Winner and “Canada’s Queen of R&B” Jully Black in her musical theatre debut as Caroline– widely acknowledged as one of the most powerful female roles in the musical theatre canon. Also joining the cast is internationally renowned Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman as The Moon. Black and Brueggergosman are joined by Canadian theatre veterans Damien Atkins, Oliver Dennis, Keisha T. Fraser, Deborah Hay, Alana Hibbert, Linda Kash, Stewart Adam McKensy, Sam Rosenthal, Vanessa Sears, Camille Eanga-Selenge and Samantha Walkes.
The Musical Stage Company & Obsidian Theatre’s 2012 production of CAROLINE, OR CHANGE at the Berkeley Street Theatre wasmomentous for selling-out, breaking both companies’ box office records, and winning four Dora Awards including Outstanding Production of a Musical and three Toronto Theatre Critics’ Awards including Best Musical.
CAROLINE, OR CHANGE tells the story of Caroline, a black maid working for a Jewish family in 1963 Louisiana. A single mother of four, her salary of $30 a week is not enough. When her employer suggests that Caroline keeps the pocket change she finds in the laundry, this small act of racial condescension creates a moral dilemma for Caroline emblematic of the social and economic tensions set to erupt in the world outside their home.
Set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Kennedy assassination and the Civil Rights Movement, Kushner and Tesori use fantasy and reality to tell a story about ordinary people facing extraordinary change.
With a musical score that blends blues, soul, gospel, classical and traditional Jewish melodies, CAROLINE, OR CHANGE is a timely story of change for our socially-conscious world.
Mitchell Marcus, The Musical Stage Company Artistic & Managing Director, says: “I believe that musicals are uniquely positioned to change the world. If music offers a window into the heart and soul, then what better tool could there be to share relevant stories and spark empathy from audiences? This philosophy is central to our company’s work and it’s the principal reason that we are staging a new production of CAROLINE, OR CHANGE at a scale that will open as many hearts and minds as possible across Toronto. More than ever, I believe that this piece is vital in examining the complexity of societal change. I am in awe of the team and talent that we have secured to ensure a once-in-a-lifetime staging of this exceptional work. And we are honoured to again join forces with Obsidian Theatre, especially during Philip Akin’s final season at their helm, and use our inaugural year in-residence at the Winter Garden Theatre to amplify the resonance of this timely, and hopeful, narrative coinciding with Black History Month.”
The Musical Stage Company’s production of NEXT TO NORMAL, in partnership with Mirvish Productions as part of the 2018-19 Off-Mirvish season, was a major critical and box-office success, winning the 2019 Dora Award for Best Production of a Musical. The company also recently celebrated the transfer of Britta Johnson’s LIFE AFTER, which they developed in their Crescendo Series, to San Diego’s Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theatre for an expanded and well-received run.
Obsidian Theatre is coming off of its largest and most successful season yet, with five productions and three sold out runs, while the company continues to push boundaries and showcase some of Canada’s most talented artists. CAROLINE, OR CHANGE will mark Obsidian’s 20thAnniversary this February, in what will be another exciting milestone for the organization.
Philip Akin, Obsidian Theatre’s Artistic Director says:“Among the many highlights in our decade co-producing works with The Musical Stage Company was our 2012 production of CAROLINE, OR CHANGE at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Based on its significant resonance then, and its social relevance and timeliness now, we are proud to be co-producing a new, expanded production of this excellent musical at the Winter Garden Theatre as part of Obsidian’s 20thAnniversary season.Caroline’s story and themes reflect our contemporary world and we are committed to sharing this work with far-reaching audiences now to ensure a more empathetic and inclusive tomorrow.”
CAROLINE, OR CHANGE has a limited run of 16 performances. Tickets are available now by visiting musicalstagecompany.com.
On stage January 30-February 15, 2020 at Winter Garden Theatre (189 Yonge Street, Toronto) Tickets starting at $39.
Caroline, or Change
Book & Lyrics by Tony Kushner
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Produced by The Musical Stage Company & Obsidian Theatre Company
Programming Partner: The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre - Ontario Heritage Trust
Producing Patrons: Linda & Chris Montague
Director: Robert McQueen
Assistant Director: Tsholo Khalema
Music Director: Reza Jacobs
Choreography: Tim French
Assistant Choreographer - Esie Mensah
Set design: Michael Gianfrancesco
Costume design: Alex Amini
Lighting design: Kimberly Purtell
Sound design: Peter McBoyleStage Manager: AJ Laflamme
Assistant Stage Manager: Kate Sandeson
Apprentice Music Director: Jonathan Corkal
Starring Jully Black - Caroline
Moses Aidoo – Jackie Thibodeaux
Damien Atkins - Stuart Gellman
Oliver Dennis – Grandpa Gellman
Keisha T. Fraser - Washing Machine
Deborah Hay - Rose Stopnick Gellman
Alana Hibbert - Dotty Moffett & Radio
Linda Kash - Grandma Gellman
Evan LeFeuvre – Noah Gellman
Stewart Adam McKensy – The Dryer & The Bus
Micah Mensah-Jatoe – Joe Thibodeaux
Sam Rosenthal – Mr. Stopnick
Vanessa Sears - Emmie
Camille Eanga-Selenge – Radio
Samantha Walkes - Radio
and featuring Measha Brueggergosman - The Moon
Photo: Jully Black as Caroline.