AMBASSADOR THEATRE GROUP, GAVIN KALIN PRODUCTIONS, GLASS HALF FULL PRODUCTIONS AND RUPERT GAVIN IN ASSOCIATION WITH HAMPSTEAD THEATRE PRESENT THE CHICHESTER FESTIVAL THEATRE PRODUCTION OF

CAROLINE, OR CHANGE

AT THE PLAYHOUSE THEATRE
Book and lyrics by Tony Kushner
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Directed by Michael Longhurst

Running time: 2 HOURS AND 35 MINUTES INCLUDING INTERVAL

FROM £32.50 (See ticket information)

That old copper statue by the Courthouse downtown, honouring the dead Confederate soldier, ain’t there no more…

WEST END

Choose a date and select your own seats online

20 Nov 2018 - 9 Feb 2019
FROM £32.50

Box Office: 020 7722 9301

‘A MODERN MASTERPIECE’ Evening Standard

★★★★★ Sunday Times | ★★★★★ Mail on Sunday | ★★★★★ The Telegraph 

On the day of performance, if it’s sold out on our site, tickets may still be available from the Playhouse Box Office. Please click here to check availability.


Don’t miss the extraordinary and joyously original Caroline, Or Change, as the five-star, Olivier award-winning musical transfers to the West End this November following sell-out runs at the Chichester Festival Theatre and Hampstead Theatre.

Written by Tony Kushner, author of legendary play Angels in America, and with an exceptional, soaring score from Tony Award-winning Jeanine Tesori, Caroline, Or Change stars Sharon D. Clarke in an astonishing “virtuoso performance. To watch her seems a privilege” (The Times).

Louisiana, 1963. Revolution is in the air, though not so much for Caroline, the poorly paid maid toiling endlessly in the sweltering basement of the Gellman household. It’s a fantastical, magical place amidst the piles of laundry and singing washing machines, especially for eight-year-old Noah Gellman who sneaks downstairs to see her whenever he can. Yet a simple gesture to leave more money in Caroline’s pocket is about to test who and how far the winds of change can ever really reach…

Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Musical, Caroline, Or Change is a playful, funny, and deeply moving tale set to a score that hits new heights of emotion, in a production that always delights with imagination. Directed by Michael Longhurst (Amadeus, Constellations), this vital and timely musical opens at the Playhouse Theatre from 20 November 2018 for a strictly limited season.

 

CoCQuotesGIFMarch6

Tue 18 Dec 19:30 Sold Out
Wed 19 Dec 19:30 Book now
Thu 20 Dec 14:30 Book now
Thu 20 Dec 19:30 Book now
Fri 21 Dec 19:30 Book now
Sat 22 Dec 14:30 Book now
Sat 22 Dec 19:30 Book now
Mon 24 Dec 14:30 Book now
Wed 26 Dec 14:30 Sold Out
Wed 26 Dec 19:30 Book now
Thu 27 Dec 14:30 Book now
Thu 27 Dec 19:30 Book now
Fri 28 Dec 19:30 Book now
Sat 29 Dec 14:30 Book now
Sat 29 Dec 19:30 Book now
Mon 31 Dec 14:30 Book now
Wed 02 Jan 14:30 Book now
Wed 02 Jan 19:30 Book now
Thu 03 Jan 14:30 Book now
Thu 03 Jan 19:30 Book now
Fri 04 Jan 19:30 Book now
Sat 05 Jan 14:30 Book now
Sat 05 Jan 19:30 Book now
Mon 07 Jan 19:30 Book now
Tue 08 Jan 19:30 Book now
Wed 09 Jan 19:30 Book now
Thu 10 Jan 14:30 Book now
Thu 10 Jan 19:30 Book now
Fri 11 Jan 19:30 Book now
Sat 12 Jan 14:30 Book now
Sat 12 Jan 19:30 Book now
Mon 14 Jan 19:30 Book now
Tue 15 Jan 19:30 Book now
Wed 16 Jan 19:30 Book now
Thu 17 Jan 14:30 Book now
Thu 17 Jan 19:30 Book now
Fri 18 Jan 19:30 Book now
Sat 19 Jan 14:30 Book now
Sat 19 Jan 19:30 Book now
Mon 21 Jan 19:30 Book now
Tue 22 Jan 19:30 Book now
Wed 23 Jan 19:30 Book now
Thu 24 Jan 14:30 Book now
Thu 24 Jan 19:30 Book now
Fri 25 Jan 19:30 Book now
Sat 26 Jan 14:30 Book now
Sat 26 Jan 19:30 Book now
Mon 28 Jan 19:30 Book now
Tue 29 Jan 19:30 Book now
Wed 30 Jan 19:30 Book now
Thu 31 Jan 14:30 Book now
Thu 31 Jan 19:30 Book now
Fri 01 Feb 19:30 Book now
Sat 02 Feb 14:30 Book now
Sat 02 Feb 19:30 Book now
Mon 04 Feb 19:30 Book now
Tue 05 Feb 19:30 Book now
Wed 06 Feb 19:30 Book now
Thu 07 Feb 14:30 Book now
Thu 07 Feb 19:30 Book now
Fri 08 Feb 19:30 Book now
Sat 09 Feb 14:30 Book now
Sat 09 Feb 19:30 Book now
  • The Times

    'With Donald Trump in the White House and protest in the air, this extraordinary 2003 musical by Tony Kushner and the composer Jeanine Tesori feels right on the money. Inspired in part by Kushner’s own boyhood, it’s an almost entirely sung-through story of race, religion and the grotesque economics of exploitation.'

    'Like Kushner’s earlier epic Angels in America, Caroline, or Change blends socio-historical breadth with intoxicating imagination.'

    'Its rapturous lyricism is spiked with rage, joy, hope and pain, potent and sour-sweet as a deep slug of Bourbon. Michael Longhurst’s production — a transfer from Chichester — is fluid, fantastical, yet emotionally immediate. And Sharon D Clarke is so nakedly unstinting in the title role that to watch her seems a privilege.'

    'So the appliances come to life and sing with her — stirring, yearning, angry music, soaked in the sweat and sizzle of Motown, R&B and the blues. The washing machine is a chanteuse in a dress of soap bubbles. The radio is a glittering girl-group trio, and the detested dryer, turning the basement hot as hellfire, is a velvet-voiced tormentor. A queenly silver moon croons nocturnal comfort after the long, weary working day; and all the melodies coalesce with the Mozartian clarinet and klezmer tunes of the Gellmans’ fractured domesticity.'

    'The ensemble is faultless, and as the formidable, anguished Caroline, Clarke is devastating, her voice full of raw soul that shreds the heart, and sets it soaring. Sensational.'

    To read the full review click here to visit The Times online.

    'Raw and defiant, this revival of Tony Kushner’s musical sizzles with tension'
    ,
  • The Telegraph

    'A singing washing machine? A crooning night bus? Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s 2003 musical set in Civil Rights-era Louisiana remains one of the most innovative modern examples of the form: a giddy marriage of fierce social observation and a gospel- and Motown-inflected score delivered by a cast that includes kitchen appliances and a rising moon.'

    'Change takes on many meanings in Caroline, from the winds of revolution blowing through 1963 to the nickels and dimes that form the bedrock of the American dream. In a hellishly overheated basement in Lake Charles, Sharon D. Clarke’s eponymous black maid Caroline is impervious to the former and – it soon turns out – tormented by the latter as she sweats out her days laundering clothes for the Gellman family.'

    'Longhurst underlines the brute economic forces that link the civil rights movement to the more recent Occupy protests – it’s telling that even the young Noah and Emmie acutely understand that American identity is defined by consumer power. But it’s his lavish execution of Tesori’s score that really captures the soul...'

    'Beautifully staged and impeccably performed, this is an exceptional show.'

    'Exceptional revival of a powerful and innovative drama' - Caroline, Or Change review
    ,
  • Evening Standard

    'The more times I see Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s richly textured through-composed musical set in the American Civil Rights era, the more convinced I grow that this is a modern masterpiece of considerable heft. This production, transferring from Chichester, is a rich asset for London theatre.'

    'It’s 1963 in Louisiana and while everything may be changing around her, all is exactly the grinding same for implacable Caroline Thibodeaux (Sharon D. Clarke, magisterial), the black maid for a grieving white Jewish family. When it’s suggested that Caroline keep the loose change she finds in young son Noah’s pockets, it proves a problematic way of dealing with an underpaid grown woman.'

    'The score swoops, swirls and swells through passionate conviction and quiet sorrow, as well as a wide range of genres.'

    'Director Michael Longhurst’s work is sinuous and stylish – just look at the fun he has with the personified, singing Washing Machine (Me’sha Bryan), dressed in an exuberant costume of plastic soap bubbles – and amounts to a production of real grace. Abiona Omonua as Caroline’s rebellious daughter Emmie is a constant joy. A very classy show.'

    To read the full review click here to visit the Evening Standard online.

    'Sharon D Clarke is magesterial in modern masterpiece'
    ,
  • Time Out

    'Tony Kushner’s semi-autobiographical opera picks over his childhood memories, exploring the injustices that he, a spoilt, sad eight-year-old, was half blind to.'

    'Jeanine Tesori’s score is a rich, tumbling, complex thing: blues, church music, klesmer, opera, and motown sounds all cycle through it, get pushed to the front or provide a low hum in the background.'

    'Sharon D Clarke’s mesmerising performance as Caroline is the still point your eye’s always drawn to. She’s sullen as a kind of resistance to her surroundings, performing an obedience to her employers that strains every part of her body and gives a grim tremble to her voice.'

    'Michael Longhurst has proved he can ‘do’ musicals... it sounds astonishing, and Kushner’s writing achieves something rare: it points to hope, while issuing a reminder that what looks like change can be just going round in so many circles.'

    'Sharon D Clarke stars in this fantastic revival of Tony Kushner‘s strange opera-musical set in Civil Rights-era Louisiana'
    ,
  • Mail on Sunday

    'Down in a sweltering basement in 1963 in Louisiana, Caroline, a black maid, is doing the laundry for the Jewish family she works for. The scorching Sharon D. Clarke wears a pressed white uniform and a thunderously glowering expression, simultaneously conveying her pride and her hurt.'

    'It is too late for Caroline to make radical changes to her life and start again, but not for her firebrand friend Dotty (Nicola Hughes), nor her fearless daughter Emmie (a springy, sparky Abiona Omonua).'

    'Tesori’s music, Fly Davis’s imaginative costumes and designs, and knockout performances give Michael Longhurst’s production a mighty, moving and magical impact.'

    Change is as good as the best: 'Michael Longhurst’s production of Caroline, Or Change is mighty, moving and magical'
    ,
  • WhatsOnStage

    'Unusual doesn't begin to describe this magnificent musical by Tony Kushner, who provided the book and lyrics, and Jeanine Tesori, who wrote the music. It has a kind of bonkers bravura that wraps you in its enthusiastic embrace.'

    'As in Angels in America, he weaves a fantasy from grim reality, bringing a singing washing machine and a singing moon onto the stage, while never losing sight of the anger and bitterness that afflict black Americans struggling to feed their families in a time of radical social change.'

    'The musical explores all this with depth and sophistication. Kushner's lyrics are a mixture of profound poetry, savage political analysis, and sharp humour. Tesori, who later wrote Shrek the Musical and Fun Home, matches him with music of subtle brilliance, incorporating every style from klezmer to spirituals, from jazz to Motown, blending and burnishing them into a surging whole, full of engaging melodies.'

    'This production, a transfer from Chichester, is directed with real flare by Michael Longhurst who is increasingly establishing himself as one of the best directors of musical plays in the business. It's designed by Fly Davis, with economy and imagination.'

    'At the heart of it all stands a sublime performance from Sharon D Clarke that catches every note and beat of what it is like to be Caroline. Her voice is extraordinary, whether it's in her great rumbling shouts of pain at her condition, or the delicate melancholy with which she recalls her feckless husband. But what's also extraordinary is the stillness she brings to her part; you can see her sadness, her anger, her loss simply in the way she smokes her daily cigarette or stares out into the distance.'

    'She's surrounded by a wonderful set of exuberant, telling performances, most notably from the lively household objects (Me'sha Bryan as the washing machine, T'Shan WilliamsSharon Rose and Carol Stennettas the radio, and Ako Mitchell as the dryer), from Abiona Omonua as her spirited daughter, and Naana Agyei-Ampadu as her quick-witted friend Dottie. As Noah, Aaron Gelkoff (on the night I saw it) brings such emotion to the part you forget he is only a child.'

    'Ann Yee provides effortlessly clever choreography and Nigel Lilley conducts an excellent band. All in all, a thought-provoking and satisfying joy.'

    To read the full review click here to visit WhatsOnStage online.

    Review: Caroline, Or Change (Hampstead Theatre)
    ,
  • WhatsOnStage

    'Unusual doesn't begin to describe this magnificent musical by Tony Kushner, who provided the book and lyrics, and Jeanine Tesori, who wrote the music. It has a kind of bonkers bravura that wraps you in its enthusiastic embrace.'

    'As in Angels in America, he weaves a fantasy from grim reality, bringing a singing washing machine and a singing moon onto the stage, while never losing sight of the anger and bitterness that afflict black Americans struggling to feed their families in a time of radical social change.'

    'The musical explores all this with depth and sophistication. Kushner's lyrics are a mixture of profound poetry, savage political analysis, and sharp humour. Tesori, who later wrote Shrek the Musical and Fun Home, matches him with music of subtle brilliance, incorporating every style from klezmer to spirituals, from jazz to Motown, blending and burnishing them into a surging whole, full of engaging melodies.'

    'This production, a transfer from Chichester, is directed with real flare by Michael Longhurst who is increasingly establishing himself as one of the best directors of musical plays in the business. It's designed by Fly Davis, with economy and imagination.'

    'At the heart of it all stands a sublime performance from Sharon D Clarke that catches every note and beat of what it is like to be Caroline. Her voice is extraordinary, whether it's in her great rumbling shouts of pain at her condition, or the delicate melancholy with which she recalls her feckless husband. But what's also extraordinary is the stillness she brings to her part; you can see her sadness, her anger, her loss simply in the way she smokes her daily cigarette or stares out into the distance.'

    'She's surrounded by a wonderful set of exuberant, telling performances, most notably from the lively household objects (Me'sha Bryan as the washing machine, T'Shan WilliamsSharon Rose and Carol Stennettas the radio, and Ako Mitchell as the dryer), from Abiona Omonua as her spirited daughter, and Naana Agyei-Ampadu as her quick-witted friend Dottie. As Noah, Aaron Gelkoff (on the night I saw it) brings such emotion to the part you forget he is only a child.'

    'Ann Yee provides effortlessly clever choreography and Nigel Lilley conducts an excellent band. All in all, a thought-provoking and satisfying joy.'

    To read the full review click here to visit WhatsOnStage online.

    Review: Caroline, Or Change (Hampstead Theatre)
    ,

Artistic team

BOOK AND LYRICS

TONY KUSHNER

MUSIC

JEANINE TESORI

DIRECTOR

MICHAEL LONGHURST

DESIGNER

FLY DAVIS

CHOREOGRAPHER

ANN YEE

MUSICAL DIRECTOR

NIGEL LILLEY

LIGHTING

JACK KNOWLES

SOUND

PAUL ARDITTI

CASTING

CHARLOTTE SUTTON CDG

CHILDREN'S CASTING

DEBBIE O'BRIEN

 

Cast

LISTEN TO CAROLINE, OR CHANGE'S SHARON D. CLARKE ON BBC RADIO 4'S LOOSE ENDS

Posted on 26 March 2018

Sharon D. Clarke talks to BBC Radio 4's Clive Anderson about her starring role in Caroline, or Change

Win tickets to see Caroline, or Change in the West End

Posted on 26 March 2018

This competition is now closed and a winner has been chosen

CAROLINE, OR CHANGE: ★★★★ FROM THE SUNDAY EXPRESS

Posted on 25 March 2018

Michael Arditti awards Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's Caroline, or Change four stars

CAROLINE, OR CHANGE TRANSFERS TO THE WEST END

Posted on 23 March 2018

Following rave reviews, Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's 'modern masterpiece' Caroline, or Change transfers to the West End