Caroline, or Change
by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori
directed by Alan Patrick Kenny
New Stage Collective
New Stage Collective and its artistic director Alan Patrick Kenny are nothing if not ambitious. When Kenny announced he would open NSC”s 2007-2008 season with the sprawling and complex Caroline, or Change by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and composer Jeanine Tesori, some wondered if NSC was reaching beyond its capacity. Opening night of Caroline offered a resounding “No” to that question. It is a triumph of performance, music, emotion and theatrical satisfaction.
Kenny has directed this sprawling cast of 16 on a spartan set stretching from the east to the west walls of his theater. Elevated platforms allow additional acing space (one provides shelter for the excellent 11-member orchestra), but what you’ll remember about this show is its characters. When Caroline’s frustration explodes near the end of Act Two, it is an astounding theatrical moment.
Kenny’s production is multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and multi-good. Perhaps the greatest change about Caroline, or Change is the notice that NSC has arrived. Don’t miss this one. Grade: A
A wow-factor show opened New Stage’s Main Street space at the end of April, and now another wow-factor show, Caroline, or Change is opening the tiny company’s 2008-09 season.
As written by Tony Kushner with a glorious, era-defining score by Jeanine Tesori, “Caroline” is one of the most engrossing musicals of the last decade. Give a standing ovation to artistic director Alan Patrick Kenny for presenting it with great understanding and dramatic heights that outweigh the flaws.
New Stage Collective, a Cincinnati theater company that frequently tackles challenging and unique theater pieces, is once again eschewing traditional and safe choices with their latest production, Caroline, or Change. The material and the subject matter both have their share of complexities, but the rewards of this production are many: amazingly strong performances, praiseworthy direction and design, and one of the best orchestras in town in a long while to help bring this piece to life. The payoffs of the risks that New Stage continues to have never been as evident as in this very satisfying production.
Alan Patrick Kenny, director of Caroline and artistic director for New Stage, has done some of his best work to date with this show. His staging choices almost always enhance the storytelling, and his active blocking makes good use of the difficult performance space. His actors are extremely well invested in their roles and convey the piece’s strong emotions and subtle humor.
Cincinnati Entertainment Awards:
Cincinnati Acclaim Awards:
-Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical to Taylore Mahogany Scott as Caroline
-Outstanding Musical Direction to Brian D. Hoffman
Cincinnati Entertainment Award Nominations:
-Local Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical to Taylore Mahogany Scott as Caroline
-Local Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical to Aretta Baumgartner as Rose
-Local Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical to Piper Davis as Dotty
-Local Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical to Connor M. Muething as Noah