Caroline, Or Change (review)

Caroline, Or Change (review)
Caroline, Or Change (review)
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THE PLAY: Tony Kushner wrote this semi-autobiographical piece about his boyhood as a Jew in 60s Louisana. His relationship with the family maid forms the core of this musical discussion about race, poverty and inequality.


THE PRODUCTION: This show is both musically sophisticated and accessible: a cross between the entertainment of a musical and the philosophical, emotional weight of an opera. Obviously, the voices are vital. Chase Kniffen’s large, creatively attractive set (with sometimes clunky secondary elements) is literally crammed with talent. Leading the cast with her mighty voice is Desiree Roots, but every singer is a powerhouse (including the impressive young talents of Tyandria Ford Jackson and Brandon McKinney). Since the rich sound is created with minimal amplification and excellent 6 piece band (led by Ryan Corbitt), that power has even more impact. As director, Kniffen has molded the performances into a long, complex cultural examination. Michael Jarrett’s busy lighting was either slow or sloppy on opening night, sometimes leaving performers in dark spots.


THE POINT: This is a theatrical piece that’s more appreciated than enjoyed, although the vocal performances create a musical tour de force.


4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)


A Cadence Theatre Company production (in partnership with Virginia Rep) running at the Thetre Gym thru 3/14

Click here to see the SIFTER interview with Chase Kniffen.




  1. Great review Jerry. Why do you not name the music director? You congratulate Chase and the Lighting Designer. I see thus happen a lot and I think you know better. C ‘mon now.

    • Good point, Tony. I have on rare occasions (you’ve probably noticed my reviews are pretty short), but it would have been appropriate for this one.

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