Connect with us


He Says: Roundabout’s Caroline, or Change Heats Up from Within on Broadway



A musical about a woman who talks to the washing machine, and it sings back. Who’da thought, right? And it’s not some Disney’s Beauty and the Beast spin-off. It’s serious stuff, here. Yet, “nothing happens in Louisiana on the radio“, except here in the Roundabout Theatre Company‘s emotionally packed revival of Caroline, or Change. And all I can say is thank god it has made it over here. I saw it many years ago, maybe at the Public, where it opened on November 30, 2003, or maybe when it transferred to Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre on May 2, 2004 – I’m not quite sure – but this complex masterpiece has certainly stayed with me. Not because of a song or a melody. Definitely not because of a dance number or an infectious score. It has more to do with the way it hit, and stuck to me, emotionally, almost physically, like the Louisiana heat and humidity. It dampened our skin, and left its wet scent within the fabric of our clothes. It’s joyous and sad, angry and tense, and it made us feel something subtle but every so strong.

Nasia Thomas, Kevin S. McAllister, Harper Miles, Sharon D Clarke in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Caroline, or Change. 2021. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Back in the day, I could not have told you what it was all about, especially when I sat down last week at Studio 54. I remembered the abstractions and the personifications of simple household machines in a powerful objectification. It hit hard when it opened in New York City in 2003, starring the powerful Tonya Pinkins in the title role. Directed by the legendary George C. Wolfe, the musical, with book and lyrics by Tony Kushner (Angels in America) and music by Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home), had a short run, but was extremely well received, nominated for six Tony Awards, including Best Musical and won one for Anika Noni Rose who played Emmie Thibodeaux. I still have visions, albeit not clear ones, of that washing machine coming to life, and my body tells me I felt their power.

Caissie Levy, Sharon D Clarke in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Caroline, or Change. 2021. Photo by Joan Marcus..

The revival production at the Roundabout was set to open in 2020, and I’m sure I don’t need to explain much else. I had thought about seeing this same production of Caroline, or Change when I was in London in 2019, but I already knew it was transferring, and now I can see why. The production, starring the formidable Sharon D. Clarke (West End’s Death of a Salesman) in the titular role, is a triumph in song and spirit. Directed by the British stage director Michael Longhurst (Broadway/West End’s Constellations) with stellar choreographing by Ann Yee (Broadway’s Sunday in the Park…), the piece stomps and shimmies its way forward, never giving in to the big easy, but also never failing to connect and entertain. It is a historic ode, formulated by Kushner to resurrect his own upbringing memories back in Louisiana in the 1960s. It’s complicated and intuitive, breathing history and racial tension together, giving it life inside the home of a young child in a well-off Jewish household, who apparently, was drawn to the hired maid responsible for doing the laundry deep down in the basement.

To see the strong cold Caroline, powerfully embodied by Clarke standing down in the basement working hard for little pay, the scenario, with her employer and their family standing up high and far in the back, places the complicated idea of racial prejudice and white entitlement out front and center. The only one who enters the basement with any curiosity is the family’s son, Noah, portrayed beautifully [in the performance I attended] by the young Adam Makké [alternatively played by Gabriel Amoroso (BAM’s Medea) or Jaden Myles Waldman (Amazon’s “…Mrs. Maisel“)]. He’s inately drawn to her, for her strength and stoic-ness, as he personally struggles to comprehend and deal with the death of his mother, and the intense awkwardness he’s experiencing with his new step-mother, Rose Stopnick Gellman. Dynamically played by the ever-surprising Caissie Levy (Broadway’s Frozen), their engagement registers, pulling us in a myriad of different directions, all unique and well calculated by Levy and the writers. It’s tight and uncomfortable, all with no help from the distracted and distant father, Stuart Gellman, well played by John Cariani (Broadway’s The Band’s Visit). He can’t seem to help himself, as he stands awkwardly and shyly to the side, with clarinet in hand, looking sadly at his son, but can’t seem to find the courage to span the wide gulf that exists between them. It’s literally big enough to drive a bus through. 

Adam Makké, Sharon D Clarke in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Caroline, or Change. 2021. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Caroline, downstairs, toils hard, and battles the demons of her past, embodied in the masculine sailor-form of a deep-voiced dryer, portrayed with depth by Kevin S. McAllister (Ford Theatre’s Ragtime). She holds her trauma in a hard-fisted knot of pain and ache that hangs on every limb. She’s a single working mother, raging against the world at the bus stop with her modernized friend and fellow maid, Dotty, ferociously portrayed by the wonderful Tamika Lawrence (Broadway’s If/Then), and battling at home with her three children; Emmie, Jackie and Joe Thibodeaux, strongly played here by Samantha Williams (Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen), Alexander Bello (Broadway’s The Rose Tattoo), and Jayden Theophile (Broadway’s Tina) [both male parts alternatively played by Richard Alexander Phillips (FX’s “Pose“)]. The love and care fly forward from her stern hard gaze, while her exhausted frame galvanizes her heart and transfixs our gaze as we intuitively lean in to protect.

The show electrically shifts into high gear when Noah’s stepmother Rose decides to teach the boy a lesson, while casually unearthing her own blind liberal patronizing superiority of Caroline and her intrinsic value to the world. We automatically feel the discomfort and anger percolating in the heated moments within the discussion of the value of money – of a boy’s loose change, and what it might mean to a black maid in 1960s America. All Caroline wants is to be seen and valued, with a living wage and a breath of fresh air, far from the heat-inducing Washing Machine, gorgeously portrayed with exquisite bubbles by Arica Jackson (Broadway’s Head Over Heels), and the always interrupting, informing, exciting Radio, beautifully brought to life by a trio of dynamic performers; Nya, Nasia Thomas (Broadway’s Ain’t Too Proud), and Harper Miles (Bat Out of Hell).

Nasia Thomas, Kevin S. McAllister, Sharon D Clarke, Arica Jackson, Harper Miles in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Caroline, or Change. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Assisted powerfully by the talented musical supervisor, Nigel Lilley (Chishester’s South Pacific) and music director/Orchestrator, Joseph Joubert (Broadway’s The Color Purple), the rising fraught temperatures from within play out hard and intense under the watchful eye of the gorgeously voiced Moon, elegantly portrayed by the luminescent N’Kenge (Broadway’s Motown). The unfairness of the basement where Caroline sweats and labors in is where her journey forward must emit from. There is a shift, dramatic and powerful, that takes over the stage. It pulls the light away from the Jewish family, including the Gellman’s Grandma and Grandpa, portrayed by Joy Hermalyn (Baz Luhrmann’s La Bohème) and Stuart Zagnit (Broadway’s Newsies), as well as Rose’s NYC father, Mr. Stopnick, intensely portrayed by the always engaging Chip Zien (Broadway’s Into The Woods), and shines it strongly on Clarke, as she expertly navigates the cathartic route forward. It’s a must-see moment, and a thrilling climb upwards into the proverbial sky. 

On a clunky, overly-metaphoric set, with grand potent costumes, both designed by Fly Davis (West End’s The Ocean at the End…), under strong lighting by Jack Knowles (National’s Beginning) and a rainy, distracting sound design by Paul Arditti (Broadway’s The Inheritance); the traditional arc of a musical doesn’t appear to be present or as neatly structured as the emotional layers it finds inside Caroline. The fiery formulations of inequality breath out as powerfully as the radio and the washing machine sing strongly. The edge is sharp and meaningful, constructing and laying down heavy ideas based on historical disturbances in the racist structure and history of Louisiana. Its power sneaks in and heats your soul, and you’ll never look at a radio or a washing machine in the same way again. Trust me on that one.

For more from Ross click here

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to


Melissa Etherridge My Window A Rock Goddess Spiritual Journey



Oscar and Grammy winner Melissa Etheridge’s autobiographical musical My Window is an informative, riveting, raw, intimate and musically thrilling alsmost 3 hours of entertainment. With 22 albums to her name, Etheridge is a female rock goddess and is on par with Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Ann Wilson, Grace Slick, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, Debbie Harry and the incomparable Janis Joplin.

I originally saw this show when it opened at New World Stages almost a year ago and Etheridge’s theatrical solo show has only gotten better and tighter. She invites theatergoers into an exhilarating evening of storytelling and music. Starting with her birth, we learn about her childhood in Kansas, groundbreaking career highlights, coming out, her lovers, the drugs she has taken, her spiritual journey, her wives, her kids, cancer and what makes Melissa who she is. She is charming, revealing, illuminating as she bares her heart & soul to all who attend.

Photo by Jenny Anderson

In between learning about this bluesy warrior are her confessional lyrics, the raspy, smoky vocals and classics numbers  like “Like The Way I Do,” “Twisted Off To Paradise,”“I’m the Only One,” “Come to My Window,” “I Want to Come Over”.

Photo by Jenny Anderson

Winning a tiny trophy gave way to winning a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocalist in 1998 and again in 1995. Before that in 1993 Etheridge came out publicly, early on in her career. In 2005 Etheridge took the Grammy stage after having cancer to join in a tribute to Janis Joplin. She appeared hairless. Etheridge also won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2007 for “I Need To Wake Up” for the film “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Photo by Jenny Anderson

It turns out Etheridge has always loved musical theatre, as she treated us to a wonderful rendition of “On Broadway.” She did make her Broadway debut in a weeklong stint as St. Jimmy in Green Day’s American Idiot in 2011, but she doesn’t talk about that.

Melissa Etheridge My Window, is wonderfully is written by Etheridge with additional material by Linda Wallem-Etheridge (“Nurse Jackie” showrunner, “That ’70s Show”). The direction by Amy Tinkham is succent and well done.

Everything about this production is well done from the scenic design by Bruce Rodgers, lighting design by Abigail Rosen Holmes, fabulous projection design by Olivia Sebesky and the sound design by Shannon Salmon, which keeps this show clear and clean.

Kate Owens is hysterical as the Roadie/ Stage Manager. This little girl is a star in the making with her rubber face and facial expressions galore. She adds to this show immensely and I definitely want to see more of what she can do.

This is a must see show for anyone LGBTQIA. The message is positive and life affirming. This is a women who owns her talent, charisma and choices, which makes this a joy to watch.

Photo by Jenny Anderson

Melissa Etheridge My Window: Circle In The Square, 235 West 50th Street. Closes November 19th.

Continue Reading


Barry Manilow’s and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Meets The Press Part 2



Yesterday we told you how the cast and creative’s met the press.

The cast and creatives

In today’s edition hear director Warren Carlyle, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman describe their show.

Then it was a treat as the cast sang 5 songs from the show. Including “Harmony,” Hungarian Rhapsody,” “Where You Go’ and “Stars in the Night.”

Hear The Harmonists Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman and Steven Telsey, along with Chip Zien, Sierra Boggess and Julie Benko.

The hit song of the show will be the gorgeous ballad “Every Single Day” sung by Danny Kornfeld.

Harmony begins previews at the Barrymore Theatre on Wednesday, October 18, ahead of a Monday, November 13 official opening night.

Photo’s by Genevieve Rafter Keddy


Continue Reading


The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

JESSE L MARTIN — We caught the debut of Jesse L. Martin’s The Irrational Monday night and really enjoyed it. I’ve been aware of Jesse since his role in Broadway’s Rent and he’s really tremendous. He was great on Law & Order as Ed Green (10 years and 9 seasons); and his role on the CW’s The Flash (as Joe West) was simply terrific.

The show, based on the book by Dan Ariely and created by Arika Mittman, certainly reminds one of The Mentalist or Instinct. This first case isn’t wondrous by any means, but Martin’s charisma carries it all through.

Lauren Holly (NCIS) is in it too, thought her one-scene was over and out in a flash.

I hear the third episode of the show is magnificent, so stay tuned. Don Johnson said many years ago that Don Johnson was made for TV … so is Martin!

Will Swenson and Neil Diamond

SWENSON OUT — (per Deadline) Will Swenson will play his final performance as Neil Diamond in Broadway’s A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical on Sunday, Oct. 29, producers announced today.

A replacement for the starring role will be announced at a future date.

“It’s been the thrill of a lifetime to get to stand in Neil’s shoes,” Swenson said in a statement. “It’s been such an incredible honor to get to know Neil, to tell his powerful story, and bring his amazing songs to Broadway audiences every night. I’m immensely proud of the moving, beautiful show we made. I will miss it very much.”

A reason for Swenson’s departure was not disclosed, but his planned departure date suggests a year-long contract coming to a close: He and the bio-musical began previews at the Broadhurst Theatre last Nov. 2 (official opening was Dec. 4).

“Making A Beautiful Noise with Will Swenson was a deep and wonderful experience,” said director Michael Mayer. “The true affection he has for Neil’s work and life is palpable in every aspect of his tremendous performance. I will miss him terribly, of course, but will always treasure our time together, and very much look forward to the next show we do.”

Swenson has been one of Broadway’s go-to leading men since his breakthrough performance in 2009’s Hair, and he has since starred on the New York stage in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Little Miss Sunshine, Waitress and Assassins, among many other shows.

In addition to Swenson, the cast of A Beautiful Noise features a principal cast of Mark Jacoby as the aged Neil Diamond, Robyn Hurder and Shirine Babb.

The musical includes a score of Diamond’s hits, a book by Anthony McCarten, direction by Mayer, and choreography by Steven Hoggett.

He’s pretty tremendous as Diamond. I didn’t see the show straight away, but absolutely loved it when I did. His exit of kind of short notice … but let’s see what happens.

SHORT TAKES — How about those snappy new graphics for NBC’s Today Show. Introduced a week ago, they certainly look more relevant and certainly more fun. They did the same for Nightly News a week ago. Per TVNewser:The network said the decision to unveil a new logo and graphics for Nightly was made as a way of appealing to younger viewers who primarily consume news using digital media. It’s safe to assume is true for Today, the youngest-skewing of the linear morning shows that boasts a robust digital presence. Here’s their whole story:,effects%20as%20the%20previous%20design%20%E2%80%A6

The Rolling Stones

The next Rolling Stones single, “Sweet Sounds of Heaven,” is tremendous. Mick hasn’t sounded this good in years and Lady Gaga is an added treat. Magnificent! Take a listen:

Donnie Kehr

Donnie Kehr and Cori Gardner’s Rockers On Broadway (their 30th edition) is coming up on Monday, October 16 at SONY Hall. 

Debbie Gibson

Joining honoree Melissa Etheridge will be KT Tunstall and Debbie Gibson, Simon Kirke, Dan Finnerty and Ty Taylor … Happy Bday Chuck Taylor!

NAMES IN THE NEWS –— Anthony Noto; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Paul Lester; Ian Harrison; Magda Katz; Pete Townshend; Miko Blanco; Brad LeBeau; Mal Evans; Derek Taylor; Andrew Sandoval; Rick Rubin; Bill Adler; Cory Robbins; Manny Bella; Race Taylor; Scott Shannon; Buddy Blanch; Steve Walter; Benny Harrison; and BELLA!

Continue Reading


Theatre News: Here We Are, Some Like It Hot, A Beautiful Noise, All The Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented The Villain and The Laramie Project



The curtain rose last tonight on the first performance of the final Stephen Sondheim musical. Here We Are, the new musical from David Ives and Sondheim, is on stage at The Shed’s Griffin Theater (545 W. 30th Street), with an Opening Night on Sunday, October 22, for 15 weeks only.

Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, the cast of Here We Are will feature Francois Battiste, Tracie Bennett, Bobby Cannavale, Micaela Diamond, Amber Gray, Jin Ha, Rachel Bay Jones, Denis O’Hare, Steven Pasquale, David Hyde Pierce, and Jeremy Shamos. The understudies for Here We Are are Adante Carter, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Bradley Dean, Mehry Eslaminia, Adam Harrington, and Bligh Voth.

Here We Are is inspired by two films, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Exterminating Angel, by Luis Buñuel.

Here We Are will include choreography by Sam Pinkleton, set design and costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Tom Gibbons, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, musical supervision and additional arrangements by Alexander Gemignani, hair & make-up design by Wigmaker Associates, and casting by The Telsey Office.

Tickets are on sale on

For each performance, a limited number of $25 tickets will be available via a weekly lottery, which will open for entries on the TodayTix app each Sunday at 12:01 AM for the coming week’s performances and will close at 12:00 PM on the day before each performance. Winners will be notified by push notification and email between 1 – 4 PM on the day before their selected show, and will have 30 minutes to claim their tickets in the app. Entrants may request 1 or 2 tickets, and entry is free and open to all.

Via TodayTix’s mobile rush program, a limited number of $40 same-day rush tickets will be available for that day’s performance of Here We Are at 9:00 AM each day on a first-come, first-served basis. Users can download the app and “unlock” rush tickets by sharing the program on social media ahead of their desired performance day.  

The most award-winning musical of the 2022-2023 season, Some Like It Hot, will play for 13 more weeks through Saturday, December 30, 2023, at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre (225 West 44th Street) before launching a national tour and West End production.

Awarded Best Musical by The Drama League, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle, Some Like It Hot received over 20+ major awards throughout the 2022-2023 season, including four Tony Awards for Best Lead Actor in a Musical (J. Harrison Ghee), Best Choreography (Casey Nicholaw), Best Orchestrations (Charlie Rosen & Bryan Carter) and Best Costumes in a Musical (Gregg Barnes). J. Harrison Ghee made history as the first non-binary performer to take home the Tony Award in their category.

A national tour will launch in September 2024 and a West End production will follow in 2025, produced by The Shubert Organization and Neil Meron in partnership with Ambassador Theatre Group.

At the time of the final performance, the production will have played the Shubert Theatre for over a year, for a total of 483 performances.

Will Swenson and the cast. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Will Swenson, who is electrifying audiences with his star turn in A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical, will play his final performance as ‘Neil Diamond – Then’ at the Broadhurst Theatre (235 West 44th Street) on Sunday, October 29. Casting for the role of ‘Neil Diamond – Then’ will be announced at a future date.

The unofficial commencement of “spooky season” takes place this Friday, September 29, when Tony Award® Nominee and Grammy Award® Winner Patrick Page returns to the New York stage in All The Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented The Villain, a new work created and performed by Mr. Page, based on the villains of William Shakespeare. Directed by Simon Godwin, the solo show will play the DR2 Theatre (103 E 15th Street) beginning Friday, September 29, with an Opening Night set for Monday, October 16, for 14 weeks only.

Tickets are now available at, Telecharge  or by visiting the DR2 Theatre box office (103 E 15th Street).

Julie White

Julie White and Brandon Uranowitz will join Ato Blankson-Wood in a staged benefit reading of The Laramie Project. Moises Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theatre Project’s The Laramie Projectwill bedirected by Dustin Wills (Wolf Play, Wet Brain). The event, which will raise funds to support the work of The Trevor Project, will take place on Monday, October 16th at 7:00 PM at Peter Norton Symphony Space, and is being produced by District Productions. Additional casting is soon to be announced. For tickets and more information, visit

Continue Reading


Barry Manilow’s and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Meets The Press



Harmony, has been in rehearsals for 3 weeks and yesterday morning, they meet the press.

Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow, wrote the original music.

Bruce Sussman

Bruce Sussman, who wrote the book and lyrics

Warren Carlyle

Warren Carlyle

director/choreographer Warren Carlyle

Ken Davenport

and producer Ken Davenport started the show off to a harmonious roll. Harmony begins previews Wednesday, October 18, ahead of a Monday, November 13 official opening night.

Many of the cast are making their Broadway debuts with Harmony, including 5 of the 6 actors playing the Harmonists.

The Harmonists, along with Chip Zien finished out the morning with a performance of the song “Stars in the Night.”

Chip Zien

The production also stars performers Sierra Boggess and Julie Benko.

Sierra Boggess

Julie Benko

Tomorrow meet the men of Harmony

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2023 Times Square Chronicles