Kushner: Caroline to Go to Broadway in February

News   Kushner: Caroline to Go to Broadway in February Tony Kushner told the Hartford Courant Dec. 11 that Caroline, or Change, the much-discussed new musical he wrote with composer Jeanine Tesori, will definitely transfer to Broadway, arriving in February 2004 at the earliest.

Tonya Pinkins as the title character in Caroline, or Change
Tonya Pinkins as the title character in Caroline, or Change Photo by Michal Daniel

Kushner confirmed the Courant account to Playbill On-Line, while adding that discussions were still running their course and that there was no formal announcement to make at this time. The playwright said a Broadway theatre had been offered, but declined to say which house it was. The New York Times speculated on Dec. 5 that the show's new home may be Broadway's Eugene O'Neill Theatre, currently home to Nine, which is due to close on Dec. 14.

A spokesperson for the Public Theatre, where Caroline is currently playing, said a group of people were committed to moving the show, and that talks were ongoing, but that no deal had been signed.

Producer Carole Shorenstein Hays holds the commercial rights to the project. Kushner also said that Margo Lion has become involved in the transfer movement, and that HBO, the cable network that is currently presenting the small screen adaptation of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, has offered financial backing for a commercial Broadway transfer of Caroline.

Variety earlier reported that HBO is considering filming the work, either as a live performance or as a dramatic film. HBO did not confirm the news account. The network scored a solid critical and ratings hit with "Angels," which premiered on Dec. 7 and will continue (with part two) on Dec. 14.

Caroline is currently running at Off-Broadway's Public Theater, where is opened to much attention, but extremely varied reviews. Nonetheless, if it makes it to Broadway, it will provide stiff competition for Avenue Q and Wicked, arguably the leading contenders to date for the Best Musical Tony Award. On Dec. 5, the run of Caroline, or Change was extended by two weeks to Jan. 4. 2004.

At present, there are no plans to record the score, a Public Theater spokesperson told Playbill On-Line—an unusual circumstance given the high profile of the musical's authors.

The show, which began previews Oct. 29, marks the first collaboration between Tesori and Kushner, as well as Kushner's first musical. George C. Wolfe directs.

The plot, set in 1963, concerns Caroline, the black maid of the Gellmans, a Southern family, made up of a father, his new wife and the man's young son, Noah. The son's birth mother has recently died, and the stepmother is trying to establish a relationship with the child, who already has a close connection with Caroline. The title has a double meaning, referring to the myriad social changes swirling around the family and a family argument surrounding the spare change perpetually found in the boy's pants pockets.

In an interesting sidelight, Kushner told the Courant that the woman on whom the character of Caroline is loosely based will be seeing the show in New York this weekend. She has read the libretto, said Kushner, but hasn't seen the show.