Nominated for six Tony Awards, the musical piece set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement tells the story of Caroline, "the African-American maid of a Southern Jewish couple, and a confidant to their young son, Noah. When Caroline is enlisted in a plan to teach Noah a lesson about leaving change in his pockets, the tide of social change begins to affect her life first-hand." Bay Area favorite C. Kelly Wright stars in the title role that was originated on Broadway by Tonya Pinkins. Julian Hornik portrays young Noah, and Valisia Lekae (Broadway casts of 110 in the Shade and The Threepenny Opera) plays Caroline's daughter Emmie, the role that won Anika Noni Rose a Tony in 2004.
Also featured in the cast are James Monroe Iglehart (Spelling Bee on Broadway) as the Dryer and the Bus, Anise Ritchie as the Moon, Eileen Tepper as Rose, Allison Blackwell as Dotty, Ryan Drummond as Stuart, Randy Nazarian as Mr. Stopnick, Jesse Caldwell as Grandpa Gellman and Roberta Morris as Grandma Gellman. Dawn Troupe, Adrienne Muller and Marsha Lawson collectively play the role of Caroline's radio.
This production, staged by TheatreWorks founding artistic director Robert Kelley, runs April 2-27.
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts is located at 500 Castro Street (at Mercy) in Palo Alto, CA. For tickets, priced $25-$61, call (650) 903-6000 or visit theatreworks.org.
Here are a few pre-production photos of the two central characters:
All photos by Steve Mannshardt