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so glad this modern masterpiece of musical theater is getting a revival finally
Posted by: Chazwaza 04:45 pm EDT 08/19/19
In reply to: Roundabout announces CAROLINE, OR CHANGE starring Sharon D Clarke on Broadway - Official_Press_Release 01:38 pm EDT 08/19/19

Get ready for some hyperbole... but it comes from a good place! :)

It's been 15 years since the absolutely stunning and, in my opinion, definitive production of this stunningly original, brilliant, and complex musical masterpiece, and it's overdue for a Broadway revival. (And I say definitive having now seen the broadway, the west end, and two smaller productions, including revisiting the score countless times).
I've actually been surprised that it wasn't done as an Encores summer show yet... if any show of the past 25 years went under-recognized and deserves to have a spotlight put on it, it's this one, which should have won the Tony for Best Score and Best Book (but lost both to Avenue Q... not even a split! And I love Ave Q but the level of writing and unique creativity doesn't compare), not to mention Best Actress (but she lost to the inevitable win of Idina for Wicked... which I often compare to Ellen Burstyn losing for Requiem for a Dream to Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich)... hell, it should have won a Pulitzer Prize. I can't think of another musical more uniquely suited for Pulitzer recognition, and I was always baffled that the committee didn't even have as one of the "nominees". (Assuming it was eligible at the Public in 2003, that year it went to Anna in the Tropics with Take Me Out and The Goat as nominees, and in 2004 when it opened on Broadway it went to I Am My Own Wife with the far less notable Man from Nebraska and Omnium Gatherum as nominees - but I assume it was a 2003 contender). I'm so glad at least that the original london production (transfer from Bway) managed to win the Olivier for Best Musical (beating Ave Q and Spamalot which also won Best Musical on Bway)! But still somehow Tonya didn't take home Best Actress (although at least she lost to the incredible Jenna Russell for her Dot in Sunday in the Park with George).

I saw this production on the West End and loved many things about it. I have some qualms with the direction in many parts, and I loved the cast including the tremendous performance by Sharon Clark - though I will say that she was really missing some of the layers, including a layer of comedy and heart, that were part of the boiling gumbo that was Tonya's unbelievable performance. I don't say that to compare the two needlessly but to say it as something the character and show REALLY need that I felt was sadly missing from Sharon's performance the night I saw it. It was there when I saw it in 2004 and every time I listen to the extraordinary original cast recording... incredible that it is, this show is very dense (and I think too long, and really needs a few nips and tucks to make the whole thing a stronger more effective experience for a live audience) and laden with sadness, anger and poetry, and it really needs that bittersweet wink of resignation at the world and life that Tonya brought to it, and is probably in the writing too if you.


I hope the Broadway transfer is even better than the West End, and that this show finds a whole new audience. It really deserves to be seen and revisited as the rare piece of writing that I think it is.
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