The cast has been announced for Caroline, or Change with book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner and music by Pulitzer Prize finalist Jeanine Tesori, co-produced by The Musical Stage Company and Obsidian Theatre.
Caroline, or Change is a story about a Black maid who earns thirty dollars a week working for a Jewish family in 1963 Louisiana. As a single mother of four, her salary is simply not enough to support her family. A small act of racial condescension creates a moral dilemma for Caroline when her employer suggests that she keep the change she found while doing the laundry. The dilemma that Caroline faces reflects broader socio-economic tensions beyond the domestic sphere.
Set during the turbulent time of the Civil Rights Movement and the Kennedy assassination, Kushner and Tesori use fiction and fact to tell a story about ordinary people facing extraordinary change. With a musical score that blends blues, soul, gospel, classical, and traditional Jewish melodies, Caroline, or Change is a timely story of change for our socially-conscious world.
While Caroline, or Change has already been staged, the 2020 production will reunite many of the same members from the 2012 production. This production will debut multiple Juno Award-Winner and “Canada’s Queen of R&B” Jully Black as Caroline—the role that many acknowledge as one of the most powerful female roles in the musical theatre canon. Joining the cast is renowned Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman who will be playing The Moon.
The production also features Damien Atkins (Angels in America, Soulpepper), Oliver Dennis (Resident Artist at Soulpepper Theatre), Keisha T. Fraser (The Colour Purple, Neptune Theatre), Deborah Hay (A Doll’s House Part 2, MTC/Mirvish), Alanna Hibbert (Parade, The Musical Stage Company), Linda Kash (co-founder of performing arts school PAPA), Stewart Adam McKensy (The Little Mermaid, Buddy—The Buddy Holly Story, The Globe Theatre), Sam Rosenthal (Murdoch Mysteries, CBC), Vanessa Sears (Passing Strange, Musical Stage Co and Obsidian Theatre), Camille Eanga-Selenge (The Book of Mormon, Broadway), and Samantha Walkes (Smokey Joe’s Café, Molson Canadian Studio).
This production of Caroline, or Change is directed by Robert McQueen with Reza Jacobs as music director, Michael Gianfrancesco as set designer, Alex Amini as costume designer, Kimberly Purtell as lighting designer, and Peter McBoyle as sound designer.
Caroline, or Change runs from January 31, 2020 to February 16, 2020, coinciding with Black History Month. For tickets and more information, click here.
The cast of Caroline, or Change answer the question:
What’s one thing you would change today?
Jully Black (Caroline)
I would change the mindset of all mankind and expose the truth of what pressure social media is having on society as a whole. We as a people have willingly signed up to be rated, judged, and to compare ourselves and we wonder why there’s less human connecting in this day and age. Imagine a life where we picked up the phone again as the first option and where we booked time to spend with one another in person before resorting to FaceTime or other digital platforms. So I’m doing my part to live that change desire.
Measha Brueggergosman (The Moon)
I want to BE the change I want to see in the world so I know that in order for real, tangible change to happen in the world, it has to come from the inside out. I am always in the market for more empathy. When I change my selfish attitude, I realize that everything isn’t about me. The vast majority of the time, the blessing I’ve been praying for is wrapped up in the gift of forgetting about my own needs and ambitions and reaching out to help someone else.
Vanessa Sears (Emmie)
I’d give women equal access to education. If I could, I would make it possible for every single female identifying person in the world to go to school regardless of race, religion, health, or socioeconomic status. Girl power!
Stewart Adam Mckensy (Bus/Dryer)
If I had the power I would change the idea of fear and stop it from being used as a weapon to create hate and division so we could learn to understand that the differences within all of us are positive things.
Sam Rosenthal (Mr. Stopnick)
I would change the way our country prioritizes Arts. As the Arts in schools slowly disappear, I feel we are doing a disservice to younger generations. They’re not hearing their stories, and they’re being robbed of the opportunity to develop their creative and communicative skills through in-school creative arts programs. I’d make a dramatic increase in everyone’s exposure to Canadian stories and creative arts if I could.
Samantha Walkes (The Radio)
I would wish that education would be free to all children all over the world, transportation and education materials provided, no matter social circumstance—so we could raise leaders from every culture and diaspora.
Oliver Dennis (Grandpa Gellman)
ONE…thing….change…today. ONE…thing…(So many things) ONE…Ah! Shoes! Have everybody walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I think that would solve everything.
Linda Kash (Grandma Gellman)
I would change the minds of conservative voters.
Keisha T. Fraser (Washing Machine)
As a fan of cartoons I was shocked recently when on a trip abroad I caught the most recent version of The Chipmunks. You know, like Alvin, Simon, Theodore? I was so pleased that they were being global citizens and improving their vernacular by mastering the Italian language, but why did they look, move, and sound like regular human teenage boys? Don’t we accept them as they are no matter how they look? Why we can’t we just let The Chipmunks STAY chipmunks!?!
Deborah Hay (Rose Stopnick Gellman)
If I could change something today, I would change the fact that we are still debating whether or not women should be legally allowed to have ownership over their own bodies. I would propel us into a time where we've evolved beyond that conversation.
Damien Atkins (Stuart Gellman)
Only one thing? About the world? Okay, first priorities: let's make sure that everyone has access to clean drinking water.
Camille Eanga-Selenge (Radio)
If I could change something in the world today, I would trade people’s prejudice for empathy. So many serious issues sprout from people only being able to see conceived differences between themselves and another. Decisions, even laws, are made based on personal agendas, without a true understanding of what the other person is or would be experiencing.
Alana Hibbert (Dotty Moffett & Radio)
I would change the cost of air travel in Canada! I grew up on the West Coast and much of my immediate family still lives there. I do travel to see them a few times each year, but every time I visit I think of how wonderful it would be to just pop back for a long weekend or fly in at the last minute for one of the minor holidays.