It is 1963 in Louisiana during the civil rights movement. Divorced African American maid, Caroline, is doing laundry in the basement of a Southern Jewish family. Eight-year-old Noah has lost his mother to cancer, and his father has remarried to Rose. Unable to give Caroline a raise, and with a plan to teach Noah the value of money—he tends to leave change in his pockets—Rose announces, “Caroline can keep whatever change she finds in laundry.” Caroline is torn between her higher principals and the chance to improve the lives of her children. The situation becomes bitter when Caroline finds a $20 bill in the laundry.
A sung-through musical, Caroline, or Change, with music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Tony Kushner, features a wide range of musical styles from blues to Motown, and spirituals to klezmer, to propel a story of political change, social change, and plain ol’ pocket change. Caroline, or Change is a ground-breaking work which has the power to change the way audiences think about musical theatre, and has collected nearly every award attainable for a theatrical production including the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music.
The Street Theatre Company production features a stellar cast of performers including DaJuana Hammonds, Janette Bruce, Benee’ Wisdom, Shawn Lewis, Dalton Tilghman, and introducing Brooke Davis as Caroline.
Director Peter Vann says, “I've known Street Theatre over the past several years to be a place that is unafraid to tackle some of the most interesting and challenging work out there; and Caroline is certainly no exception. Caroline or Change is one of the most exciting script I've been given to work on in terms of its intense complexity and seemingly eternal emotional depth. Though set in 1963, the play deftly turns our attention to issues that still plague us today as a country and as individuals: upward mobility, attitudes toward the poor, education, race relations, national anxiety, and the inevitability and profound power of metamorphosis, to name just a few. And did I mention that the music in this show is capital "K" killer! The cast and crew amaze me every day with their endless talent and creativity. Caroline or Change is going to be THE surprise hit show to see this season! If you miss it, people WILL stare at you and shake their heads disapprovingly; and there will be nothing I can do about it but say ‘I told you so.’”
Caroline, or Change is presented in part due thanks to Graffiti Advertising, Metro Nashville Arts Commission and Tennessee Arts Commission. The show runs September 7-30. Tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for students and seniors, with specials including a Talk-Back night, Student night, and Starving Artist night. For specific show information, and to purchase tickets, visit www.streettheatrecompany.org. Performances are at Street Theatre, 1933 Elm Hill Pike, just off the Briley Parkway. For more information, call 615-554-7414.
Street Theatre Company is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to fostering professional, affordable and accessible theatre, music and arts education in Nashville. Founded in 2004, the organization produces high quality performances and educational workshops, and provides artistic opportunities for young people.
Photos courtesy of Heavenly Perspective Photography.