Eleven-year-old Boston West End actor, Ben Choi-Harris, stars in Moonbox Productions’ upcoming production of ‘Caroline, or Change’ opening on April 20, and running through May 11, at the Boston Center for the Arts Calderwood Pavilion – Wimberly Theater, 527 Tremont St., Boston. Ben plays Noah Gellman in the production. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays/Saturdays at 8pm, Sat/Sun matinees 3 p.m. There will also be a performance on Sunday, April 21, at 7 p.m. and a performance on Tuesday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $60 general admission/$50 Seniors/$30 Students and are available at bostontheatrescene.com or by calling 617-933-8600.
It’s 1963 in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Caroline Thibodeaux, maid to the Jewish Gellman family, has been cleaning houses for 22 years. While she may not like it, Caroline feels as if she knows her place: she’s an African-American, a single mother, a good Christian and a hardworking housekeeper. But when 8-year-old Noah Gellman’s mother dies, his grief blurs all the familiar lines. Shunning his distant father, Stuart, and bewildered stepmother, Rose, Noah clings to Caroline despite barriers of race, culture and religion. He rushes to her each day after school, forgetting everything else – including the change in his pants pockets, which Caroline rescues from the laundry again and again. When Rose finds out how careless Noah is with money, she tells Caroline to keep any coins she finds. Caroline wants to refuse, but on her meager salary, every penny helps – and as the days pass, Noah begins leaving money on purpose, hoping to become a bigger part of Caroline’s life. Meanwhile, just outside the small world of Caroline’s work, the rising tide of the civil rights movement is poised to alter everything she takes for granted. Caroline is torn between her home and her work, her faith and her instincts, her future and her past. What can she do if the only way to remain true to herself is to change?
With music by Jeanine Tesori and a book by Tony Kushner, ‘Caroline, or Change’ breathtakingly interweaves the diverse sounds of the American experience: poetry and prose, gospel and Motown, Klezmer and Zydeco. Produced by Sharman Altshuler, directed by Allison Olivia Choat, Assistant Directed by Arthur Gomez, and with Music Direction by Dan Rodriguez, Caroline, or Change promises stunning visuals, unforgettable music and a story that will challenge your assumptions and lift your heart.
The cast of Moonbox Productions’ presentation of Caroline, or Change features Yewande Odetoyinbo* (Caroline Thibodeaux), Ben Choi-Harris (Noah Gellman), Sarah Kornfield (Rose Stopnick Gellman), Robert Orzalli (Stuart Gellman), Kevin Groppe (Grandpa Gellman), Ellen Peterson (Grandma Gellman), Kira Cowan Troilo (Emmie Thibodeaux), Mark Johnson (Jackie Thibodeaux), Razan Mohamed (Jo Thibodeaux), Phil Thompson** (Mr. Stopnik), Lyndsay Allyn Cox* (Dotty Moffett), Davron S. Monroe* (Bus/Dryer), Pier Lamia Porter* (Washing Machine/Moon), and Maria Hendricks, Aliyah Harris, and Lovely Hoffman* as “the Radio”. (*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, ** Member of SAG/AFTRA).
With each of their shows, Moonbox Productions partners with a local non-profit, sharing space on their website and in promotional materials. Moonbox also gives non-profit partners access to their audiences, helping non-profits to raise awareness for their cause, create connections within their community, and increase the reach and impact of their work. For the production of Caroline, or Change, Moonbox will be partnering with UTEC.
UTEC is dedicated to helping young adults ages 17-25 overcome the very real challenges of poverty, gang involvement, unemployment, and cultural barriers that are pervasive in our service communities. When these young adults succeed, the community sees the greatest positive impact on public safety, public health and economic development. For more information, visit: www.UTECinc.org.
“’Caroline, or Change’ has long been on our short list of musicals to produce, and this is finally the year! We are beyond thrilled to be bringing this deeply moving, beautiful and relevant show to the Wimberly this spring,” said Sharman Altshuler, Producer and Artistic Director for Moonbox Productions. “This show comes from a collaboration between two of American theater’s greatest talents: Tony Kushner (Angels in America) and Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home), and we have gathered a spectacular team of designers, technicians and actors – all from the Boston area — who are bringing their immense talents and passion to the fore to create this production. This is important theater that digs deep at a time when we all need it most,” said Altshuler. “And our partnership with UTEC is adding so much to this project. UTEC’s mission of providing skills, direction and REAL hope to the lives of our most at-risk youth is a powerful example of positive, impactful action, and we are honored to have the opportunity to share our stage with them, and spread the word about their critically important work.”
The creative and design teams include Sharman Altshuler (Producer), Allison Olivia Choat (Director), Arthur Gomez (Assistant Director), Dan Rodriguez (Music Director), Janie E. Howland (Set Design), Jeffrey E. Salzberg (Lighting Design), David Wilson (Sound Design), Joelle Jean-Fontaine (Costume Design), David Lucey (Wardrobe/Run Crew), Elizabeth Ramirez* (Stage Manager), Jo Williams (Production Manager), Mads Massey (Assistant Production Manager), Evyn Newton (Master Electrician), and E. Rosser (Properties Master). To purchase tickets to Caroline, or Change, go to https://www.bostontheatrescene.com/season/caroline-or-change/ To make an additional donation to support the work of Moonbox click here or go to https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=6LVRGZANF8PBU