Race, rage and civil rights are at the heart of this acclaimed, deeply personal story by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America). Drawn from Kushner's own Louisiana childhood, Caroline, or Change centers on Caroline Thibodeaux, a divorced, middle-aged African-American maid who works for a Jewish family in the suburban enclave of Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1963. She finds herself in the middle of a family conflict when eight-year-old Noah Gellman's stepmother allows Caroline to keep any money she finds in the child's pockets while doing the laundry. The show's title references the poignant double meaning of the spare change Noah leaves behind and the vast social changes occurring in 1960s America.
Originally commissioned as an opera, Caroline, or Change features a virtuosic, sung-through score by Jeanine Tesori, composer of Thoroughly Modern Millie and Violet--which had its Philadelphia premiere at Arden Theatre Company in 1999. Blending blues, gospel, klezmer and traditional Jewish melodies, Tesori's music provides the breathtaking medium for Kushner's provocative and powerful tale. Caroline, or Change opened on Broadway in May 2004 and was applauded by The New York Times as "an extraordinary new musical."