A&E: Caroline, or Change

Tony Kushner’s Olivier-winning musical opens at the Arden

Note to self: The shortcut to making a play as conflict-driven as possible is to simply have the setting in Louisiana during the civil rights era, where race and rage issues abound. And that's just what playwright Tony Kushner did. Kushner, who has Pulitzer, Tony and Emmy notches on his belt,


Note to self: The shortcut to making a play as conflict-driven as possible is to simply have the setting in Louisiana during the civil rights era, where race and rage issues abound. And that's just what playwright Tony Kushner did. Kushner, who has Pulitzer, Tony and Emmy notches on his belt, based Caroline, or Change on his own childhood experiences. So, who's Caroline? Not just a woman who has the misfortune of bearing the last name Thibodeaux, she's also a divorced, middle-aged African-American maid who works for the Jewish Gellman family. While doing laundry, Caroline is allowed to keep any change that is found in eight-year-old Noah Gellman's pockets. The spare change turns out to be more than just money. Along with the serious, conflicted tone of the play is a virtuosic, klezmer, bluesy-gospel, sung-through score by composer Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Mille, Violet), which makes sense — Caroline was originally commissioned as an opera.

March 8th to April 8th, times vary. Tickets $27 to $45. Arden Theatre Company, 40 North 2nd Street, 215-922-1122; ardentheatre.org.

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