The Ahmanson engagement (opening Nov. 14) takes the place of a visit by the Wonderful Town tour, which has been cancelled. The staging will move to San Francisco for an eight-week run following L.A.
There had been talk in the theatre community since late August that Caroline would be Ahmanson-bound, but official word did not come until late Sept. 16. Caroline, or Change, with book and lyrics by Kushner and music by Jeanine Tesori, will be the first show in the 2004-05 season of Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre.
CTG/Ahmanson artistic director Gordon Davidson said, "When the national tour of Wonderful Town was cancelled by its producers, we immediately attempted to mount the production ourselves. It was important for us to deliver the show as promised to our subscribers. But, without a touring company and the show continuing its Broadway run, Wonderful Town was no longer available for us to produce ourselves. But, as fortune would have it, Caroline, or Change is now available to the West Coast following its New York run. This provides us with a unique opportunity to keep this remarkable musical together and join forces with Carole Shorenstein Hays, Caroline, or Change's original lead producer on Broadway and principal owner of San Francisco's Best of Broadway series, in presenting the only other U.S. engagements. This extraordinary Broadway production of Caroline, or Change will play the Ahmanson for eight weeks and then transfer to San Francisco."
The San Francisco engagement is Jan. 25-Feb. 27, 2005, at the Curran Theatre. The unique operatic pop musical "takes place in Louisiana in 1963, just before the assassination of President Kennedy and during the Civil Rights movement. Caroline is the black maid of a Southern Jewish family, consisting of a father, his new wife and his young son. The son's birth mother has recently died and the new stepmother tries to establish a relationship with the young boy, who already has a close connection with Caroline. The title of the musical 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."
The work originated at The Public Theater, played Off-Broadway between November 2003 and February 2004 and then moved to Broadway with a large group of producers carrying it to late August.
It received six Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Book and Best Score. The show closed on Broadway on Aug. 29. A two-disc cast album preserves the score.
Tickets for Caroline, or Change go on sale starting Sept. 26, and will range in price from $20- $80 for previews, and $25-$90 for regular performances.
For further information, call CTG Audience Services at (213) 628-2772 or visit www.TaperAhmanson.com.