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Journal Articles Studies in Musical Theatre Year : 2022

Paradoxes of stillness in Caroline, or Change


Beginning with its title, Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s 2004 musical Caroline, or Change encloses a dichotomy between movement and stillness. The word ‘change’ is associated with Caroline, the eponymous protagonist, a Black maid who defiantly resists and refuses even the smallest manifestations of turmoil that arise in Lake Charles, Louisiana. A static play, Caroline, or Change contradicts usual expectations of musical theatre’s capacity to generate the hopeful and soaring movements generally associated with utopia. This article argues, however, that far from fixating the musical within monolithic representations of history and Black women, Caroline, or Change ’s stillness seems to offer a redefinition of utopia. Caroline explores moments of stasis as tipping points, in between mobility and immobility, that particularly highlight female performances’ capacity to transform the very genre of the musical.
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hal-03945956 , version 1 (18-01-2023)



Anouk Bottero. Paradoxes of stillness in Caroline, or Change. Studies in Musical Theatre, 2022, 16 (3), pp.181-191. ⟨10.1386/smt_00102_1⟩. ⟨hal-03945956⟩
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