HBO may take new Kushner play to Broadway
HBO, the cable network that transformed gay playwright Tony Kushner's two-part stage work, Angels in America, into a six-hour television event that debuted Sunday, may now also transform Kushner's latest production. Caroline, or Change, Kushner's new musical about an African-American maid who works for a Southern Jewish family, opened on November 30 for a limited run at New York's Public Theater.
Variety has reported that HBO is in talks to back a transfer of the show to Broadway, where the theater would be larger and the run would be open-ended. The show (which has no gay content) would also become eligible for Tony awards, perhaps competing against other current musicals with gay creators, such as Avenue Q and Taboo.
Caroline, with music by composer Jeanine Tesori, was recently extended at the Public and is scheduled to close on January 4. The show received mixed reviews, but among the notices were raves by Frank Rich in the Sunday edition of The New York Times and John Lahr in The New Yorker. Tonya Pinkins plays the title role in the show, which also features a singing washer and dryer and 16 other human cast members.
The funding from HBO would reportedly include the rights to film the show in some form in the future, whether as a taped stage performance or adapted into a TV movie. Variety reported that the show's current producers, Carole Shorenstein Hays and Freddy DeMann, who hold commercial rights to the work, could not comment on any proposed move to a Broadway theater.