Monday, 12 February 2018

Full casting announced for Caroline, Or Change at Hampstead Theatre

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

Hampstead Theatre presents Tony Kushner’s and Jeanine Tesori’s celebrated musical Caroline, or Change following its critically acclaimed sell-out run at Chichester Festival Theatre last summer. Sharon D. Clarke will reprise her role as Caroline Thibodeaux in this highly anticipated transfer which is directed by Michael Longhurst. 

1963. In quiet Lake Charles, Louisiana, the destruction of a Confederate statue might just signal that change is in the air... But, what ever the progress of the civil rights movement, in the Gellman household things seem just the same – for now at least. Eight year old Noah, heartbroken by the death of his mother and his father’s remarriage, sneaks down to the basement to spend time with the black maid he idolises, Caroline Thibodeaux: Caroline who runs everything. Whilst the basement may seem a fantastical place - even the appliances have a voice of their own - Caroline’s work there is repetitive and badly paid. But when Mrs Gellman comes up with a way for her to take a little more money home, the consequences for Caroline and Noah’s relationship are not what anybody might have expected...

An Olivier Award-winning musical with a hugely original, highly eclectic and uniquely American score, Caroline, or Change creates an uplifting and profound portrait of America at a time of momentous social upheaval. 

Sharon D. Clarke will be joined by Naana Agyei-Ampuda, Alastair Brookshaw, Angela Caesar, Me’sha Bryan, Sue Kelvin, Teddy Kempner, Ako Mitchell, Abiona Omonua, Vincent Pirillo, Carole Stennett, Sharon Rose, Lauren Ward, T’Shan Williams. 

Sharon D Clarke’s theatre credits include Caroline, Or Change (Chichester), The Life (Southwark Playhouse), Pigs and Dogs (Royal Court Theatre), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (National Theatre), A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes (Tricycle Theatre), An Oak Tree (National Theatre), Everyman (National Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Porgy and Bess (Open Air Theatre, Regents Park), Blues in the Night (Hackney Empire), The Amen Corner (National Theatre, 2014 Olivier Award Winner – Best Supporting Actress), Ghost (Original London Cast, 2012 Olivier Award Nominee – Best Actress and Manchester Theatre Award winner - Best Actress), Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray (Shaftesbury Theatre, West End), Mama Morton in Chicago (Adelphi Theatre), Killer Queen in We Will Rock You (Original London Cast, 2003 Olivier Award Nominee – Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical and WhatsOnStage Theatregoers Choice Award winner), The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre, West End), Fame (Scandinavian tour), Rent (Shaftesbury Theatre, West End), Guys and Dolls (National Theatre), Mama I Want to Sing (Cambridge Theatre, West End), Asaka in Once on this Island (Birmingham Rep and West End, 1995 Olivier Award Nominee – Best Performance in a Supporting Role),Little Shop of Horrors (Leicester Haymarket Theatre) and Medea (Theatr Clwyd & Young Vic). Sharon has also starred in four Pantomime seasons at the Hackney Empire (Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, Mother Goose and Cinderella, directed by Susie McKenna). Her film and television credits include Doctors, Silent Witness, Holby City – series regular, Unforgotten, You, Me and Them II, Death in Paradise, New Tricks, Psychobitches, Bush, Tau, Sugarhouse, Secret Society, Beautiful People, Broken Glass, and Tumble Down. 

Tony Kushner returns to Hampstead following The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a key to the Scriptures in 2016 and Slavs! in 1994. Kushner's plays include A Bright Room Called Day, Angels in America - Parts One and Two and Homebody/Kabul. As well as Caroline, Or Change his collaborations with composer Jeanine Tesori include the opera A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck. Kushner has adapted and translated Pierre Corneille's The Illusion; S.Y. Ansky's The Dybbuk; Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan and Mother Courage and Her Children and the English-language libretto for the opera Brundib├ír by Hans Krasa. He wrote the screenplays for Mike Nichols' film of Angels in America, and for Steven Spielberg's Munich and Lincoln. His books include Brundib├ír, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak; The Art of Maurice Sendak, 1980 to the Present and Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict, co-edited with Alisa Solomon. Kushner is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, an Olivier Award, an Emmy Award, two Oscar nominations and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, among other honours. In 2012, he was awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. 

Jeanine Tesori won the Tony Award for Best Original Score with Lisa Kron for the musical Fun Home. She has also written Tony-nominated scores for Twelfth Night (Lincoln Center); Thoroughly Modern Millie (lyrics, Dick Scanlan) and Shrek - The Musical (lyrics, David Lindsay-Abaire). The National Theatre’s 2006 production of Caroline, Or Change received the Olivier Award for BestNew Musical. Her 1997 Off-Broadway musical Violet (lyrics, Brian Crawley) opened on Broadway in 2014 and garnered four Tony nominations, including Best Musical Revival. Operas include A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck (libretto, Tony Kushner, Glimmerglass) and The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me (libretto, J. D. McClatchy, Kennedy Center). Music for plays includes Mother Courage (dir. George C. Wolfe, with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline); John Guare's A Free Man of Color (Lincoln Center Theater, dir. George C. Wolfe) and Romeo and Juliet (Delacorte Gala). Film scores include Nights in Rodanthe; Every Day and You're Not You. Jeanine Tesori is a member of the Dramatists Guild and was cited by the ASCAP as the first female composer to have two new musicals running concurrently on Broadway. She is the artistic director/co-founder of A Broader Way, an arts empowerment program for girls from underserved communities; the founding artistic director of Encores! Off-Center; and a lecturer in music at Yale University and Columbia University. 

Michael Longhurst is an award-winning stage director. He returns to Hampstead Theatre following his acclaimed production ofGloriathis summer. His lauded production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus at the National Theatre featuring live orchestral accompaniment from the Southbank Sinfonia is currently playing its second run in the Olivier. Michael’s Royal Court production of Constellations starring Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall transferred to the West End, winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Play and received four Olivier award nominations, and ran on Broadway starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson who was Tony-nominated. He also directed Jake Gyllenhaal in his American stage debut at the Roundabout Theatre, New York in If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet. Other theatre includes Bad Jews (West End, Theatre Royal Bath & UK tour), They Drink It In The Congo and Carmen Disruption (Almeida), ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore and The Winter’s Tale (Sam Wannamaker Playhouse), Linda, The Art of Dying, Remembrance Day (Royal Court), A Number (Nuffield & Young Vic), Cannibals (Royal Exchange, Manchester), The History Boys (Sheffield Crucible), Dealer’s Choice (Royal & Derngate), The World Of Extreme Happiness (NT Shed), Stovepipe (site-specific promenade with the National Theatre, HighTide & Bush Theatre, Sunday Times’ Top Ten Theatre Events of the Decade), Midnight Your Time(HighTide),On The Beach(Bush Theatre),On The RecordandGaudeamus(Arcola),dirty butterfly (Young Vic, winner of the Jerwood Directors Award), Guardians (Pleasance & Theatre503, Fringe First Award). Michael trained in directing at Mountview after reading Philosophy at Nottingham University. In 2015, the Evening Standard named him as one of the 1000 most influential Londoners.
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