Stage Door News
Toronto: Jully Black headlines “Caroline, Or Change” January 31-February 16, 2020
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Following the thrilling announcement of a new annual residency at the historic Winter Garden Theatre – the only remaining double-decker theatre in the world and possibly the most magical theatrical venue in the country - The Musical Stage Company is pleased to reveal that the inaugural production of their residency will be a reimagined and expanded staging of their 2012 hit, CAROLINE, OR CHANGE, again in co-production with frequent collaborators Obsidian Theatre. 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 21st century. CAROLINE, OR CHANGE will be on stage for a limited 16-performance engagement beginning January 31 to February 16, 2020, coinciding with Black History Month. Tickets ($39 - $129) are now on sale for groups through THE Group Tix Company with single tickets sales to commence in the fall.
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 was momentous 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 FUN HOME (with a score also by Jeanine Tesori), in partnership with Mirvish Productions as part of the 2017-2018 Off-Mirvish season, was a major critical and box-office success, smashing Off-Mirvish box-office records and enjoying a two-week extension. 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 20th Anniversary 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 20th Anniversary 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 starting today exclusively to groups (eight or more). Single tickets will be available in the fall. Groups who purchase during the advance ticket sales window will be offered a 20% discount as well as priority access to prime seating on future Musical Stage Company productions at The Winter Garden Theatre.
On stage January 31-February 16, 2020 at Winter Garden Theatre (189 Yonge Street, Toronto)
Tickets starting at $39.
Group discounts (orders of 8 tickets or more) are available now via THE Group Tix Company (647-438-5559, Toll Free 1-866-447-7849).
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Photo: Jully Black.