Before Broadway, Caroline, or Change Ends Public Theater Run Feb. 1; Final Weekend Sold Out | Playbill

News Before Broadway, Caroline, or Change Ends Public Theater Run Feb. 1; Final Weekend Sold Out
Caroline, or Change, the soulful musical about a black maid's conflicts with the white family she works for — to say nothing of the tension she feels within her own Civil Rights-era community — ends its world premiere run at The Public Theater Feb. 1 in anticipation of a move to Broadway April 13.

The final weekend of the twice-extended run at The Public is sold out, a spokesperson confirmed. The moody, idea filled piece has a libretto and lyrics by Tony Kushner (Angels in America), music by Jeanine Tesori (Violet, Thoroughly Modern Millie) and direction by George C. Wolfe (Bring in 'da Noise/Bring in 'da Funk).

Late into The Public run it was announced the production would transfer to the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on April 13 for an opening of May 2. The ambitious, serious work is expected to offer fierce competition in the 2004 Tony Awards, particularly in the direction, score and leading actress categories.

The cast, headed by Tonya Pinkins in the title role of the obstinate, proud Caroline, is expected to move uptown, though a full cast has not been announced for Broadway. A date for the start of ticket sales has not been announced.

The producing team for Broadway is headed by Carole Shorenstein Hays and Jujamcyn Theatres. The remaining producers will be announced at a later time.

Caroline, or Change opened at the Public Theater on Nov. 30. The musical opened to divided reviews, but has won solid audience response and praise for lead actress Pinkins' no-holds-barred performance. Composer Tesori told Playbill On-Line that her wish is to have a recording put together around the time of the spring commercial move, so as to incorporate some tweaks and refinements she, Kushner and Wolfe want.

The show, which began previews Oct. 29, 2003, marks the first collaboration between Tesori and Kushner, as well as Kushner's first musical.

The cast also features Chuck Cooper, Veanne Cox, Reathel Bean, Harrison Chad, Tracy Nicole Chapman, David Costabile, Marcus Carl Franklin, Marva Hicks, Capathia Jenkins, Larry Keith, Ramona Keller, Adriane Lenox, Alice Playten, Anika Noni Rose, Kevin Tate and Chandra Wilson.

Caroline is the black maid of the Gellmans, a Louisiana 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 Southerners and a family argument surrounding the spare change perpetually found in the boy's pants pockets.

Caroline, or Change plays the Newman Theatre in The Public complex, 425 Lafayette Street.

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