Caroline, or Change
Court Theatre, Chicago
“A Category 5 hurricane is sweeping across the stage of the Court Theatre at the moment, and it bears the name Caroline, or Change,” said Hedy Weiss in the Chicago Sun-Times. Playwright Tony Kushner and composer Jeanine Tesori’s musical about an African-American maid in the early 1960s is truly “breathtaking.” E. Faye Butler delivers a “bare-nerved, fiercely interior performance” as Caroline, who ekes out her living doing the chores in the Louisiana home of a transplanted Jewish family. Caroline briefly ran on Broadway in 2003. But “something wholly transformative” has taken place under the masterful direction of Charles Newell, as Butler reveals the show’s beating heart.
Maybe the show’s initial run just took place at “the wrong time and place,” said Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune. Whatever the case, Caroline is smashing box office records in Chicago: The Court Theatre has been selling five times as many tickets as usual. Butler’s clarion voice is astonishing, and Kate Fry dazzles as the mistress of the house—a new wife from New York in an unfamiliar place and an uncomfortable situation: “Her maid is angry, her husband is withdrawn, and Noah, the 8-year-old kid of the household, doesn’t love her.” As Noah, the young Malcolm Durning develops a complicated rapport with Butler. Much of Caroline turns on the interactions between “domestic helpers and the children for whom they work,” and these two make an unforgettable pair.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- 10 things you need to know today: November 23, 2014
- How to rescue the American family and fix the broken school system in one fell swoop
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why insects are the future of food
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
Subscribe to the Week