Caroline or Change, a new musical by composer Jeanine Tesori and playwright Tony Kushner, will be produced by Off-Broadway's Public Theater during the 2002-03 season. George C. Wolfe will direct the work, which has already had a few readings and is still in development.
Kushner originally wrote the libretto for the San Francisco Opera. When that arrangement failed, the Public entered the picture.
Caroline or Change takes place in Louisiana in 1963, just before President Kennedy's assassination and during the Civil Rights movement. Caroline is the black maid of a Southern family, made up of a father, his new wife and the man's young son. 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.
Kushner's Homebody/Kabul, his first new play to see New York City in years, will begin previews at New York Theatre Workshop on Dec. 5. His past works include Slavs!, an adaptation of The Dybbuk (also seen at the Public) and, of course, the two-part epic Angels in America.
Tesori wrote the music for the Off-Broadway musical Violet, seen at Playwrights Horizons. Her Thoroughly Modern Millie was praised during its run at La Jolla Playhouse and will open on Broadway on April 18, 2002. Caroline or Change will be the first musical Wolfe will direct since Broadway's The Wild Party. Prior to that, he staged Jelly's Last Jam, Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk and On the Town, all on Broadway.
?By Robert Simonson