Caroline, or Change production Nov. 12-21 marks historic Georgetown collaboration

Georgetown University academic programs and student-run ensembles join forces to present Kushner’s moving musical about race relations and the civil rights struggle

October 29, 2009 — Washington, D.C. — The Tony-nominated, semi-autobiographical “Caroline, or Change,” with book and lyrics by Tony Kushner (“Angels in America”) and music by Jeanine Tesori (“Thoroughly Modern Millie”), runs Nov. 12-21, 2009 in the Davis Performing Arts Center’s Gonda Theatre (showtimes below). A co-production between Mask & Bauble Dramatic Society, Black Theatre Ensemble, the Georgetown University Music Program, and the Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program, the show is supported by the largest team of student, faculty, and staff ever to work on a theatrical production at Georgetown.

Loosely based on an incident from Kushner’s childhood, “Caroline, or Change” is set against the backdrop of the Kennedy assassination and the Civil Rights Movement during the final tumultuous months of 1963, and explores the clash between two families’ American experiences. Caroline Thibodeaux, an African-American maid in a Jewish family’s wealthy Louisiana household, discovers money in the laundry of eight-year old Noah, forcing her into an ethical dilemma that ultimately leads to a new appreciation for the power of change. Tesori’s exhilarating score weaves gospel, pop, blues, jazz, and traditional Jewish melodies together to support this powerful show the New York Times called “extraordinary.”

The collaboration is a historic event for campus, marking the first time that a student-directed musical, collaboratively produced by the academic programs and student-run co-curricular ensembles, has been presented in the Davis Center’s Gonda Theatre. Davis Center Artistic Director Derek Goldman says: “It has been deeply inspiring to see so many people from so many different cultural, aesthetic, and disciplinary backgrounds come together on one remarkable project. An ambitious undertaking like this is made possible by and built upon the foundation of the collaborative spirit and vision of countless individuals and organizations over many years — the rich history of Mask & Bauble, the country’s oldest student-theater group; the extraordinary legacy of Black Theatre Ensemble, who last year celebrated their 30th anniversary; and the dedication and generosity of so many faculty and staff, both from our academic and co-curricular programs. “
Director Kari Fox, a senior Theater and Performance Studies major (COL ’10), says that it seems especially fitting to do this show at Georgetown. “To be students at a university committed to social justice means that we have a responsibility to tell Caroline’s story… Drawing in an incredibly diverse cast and production team, we have formed our own cross-cultural community here through rehearsal and performance.”
Fox notes also that the powerful message of this work is augmented by the incredible score, sung all the way through without the usual tandem structure of speech and song. “One of our goals was to show how music can enhance a play’s message, attuned to social engagement.”
“Caroline, or Change” is produced by Katie Pak (COL ’12), with musical direction by Professor C. Paul Heins, set design by Elise Lemle (COL ’10), lighting design by Justin Keenan-Miller (COL ’11), costume design by Amelia Salutz (SFS ’11), and sound design by Ian Villeda (SFS ’11). Showtimes include the following:

Thursday-Saturday, November 12-14 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 15, 2009 at 2 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday, November 18-21, 2009 at 8 p.m.


Tickets for Friday and Saturday evening only are $18 general; $15 faculty/staff/alumni/senior (65 or older); and $10 student. Tickets for all other performances are $15 general; $12 faculty/staff/alumni/senior (65 or older); and $7 student. Also available for purchase this season is the Theater & Performance Studies Program’s new Flex Pass, which entitles the bearer to four tickets to any combination of the shows in the GOING MAD season: just $50 for the general public (up to 30% savings), $40 for faculty/staff/alumni/senior (up to 33% savings) and $20 for Georgetown University students (up to 50% savings). To order or for more information, visit or call (202) 687-ARTS (2787).

About the Mask & Bauble Dramatic Society
The Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society prides itself on being the oldest continuously running student theatrical society in the United States. Mask and Bauble was founded in 1852 as The Dramatic Association of Georgetown College. In 1884, the Association’s production of Richard II was an American debut. During the Roosevelt Administration, the club frequently performed at the White House and provided much of the technical staff for press conferences. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a great patron and supporter of the group during that time. From 1956 to 1976, former Georgetown professor Donn B. Murphy headed the club, shifting the emphasis to student involvement and creativity. The Mask & Bauble Dramatic Society claims as alumni such Georgetown graduates as John Guare, Don Ameche, John Barrymore, William Peter Blatty, and Eileen Brennan. Today, Mask and Bauble continues the tradition of student theater, with a season that usually consists of both one classic and one contemporary play, a workshop production, a musical, and the Donn B. Murphy One Act Festival of student -written works. Mask and Bauble also provides other performance and design opportunities including: Midnight Theater, design workshops, an annual performance of A Christmas Carol, and the new 7 Days 2 peace, a forum for student-written pieces of political theater.

About the Black Theatre Ensemble
On the heels of the Black Arts Movement, the Black Theatre Ensemble (BTE) was established in 1979 by a group of students at Georgetown University. BTE is dedicated to producing dramatic works that celebrate and enrich Black American cultural heritage, and expand and challenge the discourse on the Black experience. Under the tutelage of noted DC actor, director, and educator Lisa Rose Middleton (1994-2005), BTE strengthened its relationship to the professional theater community as well as the transforming academic Theatre program at Georgetown. In the wake of Middleton’s passing, Isaiah Wooden, a Georgetown alumnus, assumed the role of Artistic Director and Advisor from 2005-2008. During this time, BTE renewed its dedication to student-directed and produced theater, a commitment best exemplified by the 2008-2009 season, which boasts two main stage and two special event productions directed, produced, and, in two instances, written by students. Through the arts, BTE strives to provoke substantive dialogue, promote cross-cultural exchange, and engage community. In addition to fully staged productions, BTE organizes several “coffeehouses” throughout the year. These provide a forum for students to express self and share perspective through song, dance, and poetry. After recently celebrating its 30th anniversary, BTE is going strong into our 31st year with two student-directed productions: Tony Kushner’s Caroline, or Change and Ashraf Johaardien’s The Quiet Violence of Dreams adapted from the novel by K. Sello Duiker.

About the Georgetown University Music Program
The Georgetown University Music Program is distinctive for its emphasis on the study of music as both a manifestation of multiculturalism in the American World and a creative activity within contemporary society. The program specializes in all forms of music associated with American Culture, including jazz,rock, film, popular music from around the world, and music stemming from the Western European Tradition (i.e. classical music). The new liberal arts degree in American Musical Culture integrates the University’s strengths in politics and American Studies and is designed for students interested in pursuing careers and/or graduate study in arts management, composition, cultural criticism, entertainment law, media studies, music business, music journalism or musicology.

For well over a century, Georgetown students have actively participated in ensembles such as orchestra, concert choir, jazz band and chamber music. There are also several co-curricular groups such as the Pep Band that perform at athletic events and a cappella singing groups. More recently, the Music Program has expanded its performance offerings. Our 2009-10 season includes performances by groups like the World Percussion Ensemble; Guild of Bands, an organization dedicated to contemporary popular music; and collaborations with professional ensembles including American Opera Theater and the Post-Classical Ensemble. Students can also produce their own recordings in the new Taishoff Recording Studio.

About the Georgetown University Theater & Performance Studies Program
Part of Georgetown University’s Department of Performing Arts, the Theater and Performance Studies Program integrates creative and critical inquiry, emphasizing artistic excellence, interdisciplinary learning, socially-engaged performance, and the spirit of collaboration. Now offering a dynamic major in Theater and Performance Studies, the Program features a nationally-recognized faculty, including a number of the field’s leading scholar/artists, and many of the region’s leading professional theater practitioners. One of the country’s only undergraduate programs in Theater and Performance Studies, the fast-growing program has rapidly attracted significant national attention for its distinctive curriculum, reflecting the political and international character of Georgetown, as well as for its commitment to social justice, and its high-quality, cutting-edge student production seasons. The Theater and Performance Studies Program is distinctive for its focus on adapting, devising and developing new work, civic theater and community-based performance, political theater, international and crosscultural performance, playwriting, performance art, solo and multimedia performance, ensemble-created performance, physical theater, world theater history, and innovative approaches to design and technology, acting, directing, dramaturgy, technical theater, and more.

A partial and rapidly growing list of theatrical luminaries who have had sustained contact with Georgetown students in the Davis Center includes: Theodore Bikel, Irina Brown, Dan Conway, Nilo Cruz, Peter DiMuro, David Dower, Joe Dowling, Olympia Dukakis, David Edgar, Rick Foucheux, Michael Friedman, Marcus Gardley, Ed Gero, Danny Hoch, David Henry Hwang, Moises Kaufman, Liz Lerman, Emily Mann, Sister Helen Prejean, Heather Raffo, Clint Ramos, Stephen Richard, Ari Roth, Christopher Sivertsen, Molly Smith, Tony Taccone, Irina and Paata Tsikurishvili, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Charles Randolph Wright, Karen Zacarias, and Mary Zimmerman.Enter your content here.

Laura Mertens
Public Relations and Special Events Manager
Georgetown University Department of Performing Arts
(202) 687-6933