Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Album Review: CAROLINE, OR CHANGE (The New Broadway Cast Recording) is Truly Remarkable & Moving

All involved have poured every ounce of their souls and hearts into this record.

Caroline, or Change

Christmas came early when Broadway Records in collaboration with Roundabout Theatre Company, under their new Broadway Records label imprint Roundabout Records, released Caroline, or Change (The New Broadway Cast Recording) on digital platforms last week. The stunning two-disc recording captures every marvelous moment of the mostly sung-through score, gifting fans of Broadway a truly remarkable way to access this show no matter where they are.

Personally, between WICKED, AVENUE Q, and being a freshman in college, I never gave any time to Caroline, or Change in its original Broadway iteration. However, on a whim, this past October, I made my first return to sitting in the audience of a Broadway show by purchasing a Sunday matinee ticket to the revival. I had no idea what to expect, and I was blown away, moved to tears, and left Studio 54 feeling uplifted and forever changed. I don't think this show got the due it deserved some 17 years ago because it was ahead of its time. The conversations our nation has finally gotten around to having after the death of George Floyd has made America ready for this musical. And, luckily, the Roundabout Theater Company is giving us a resplendent production many will talk about for years to come.

Absolutely earning the position of her name sitting above the title, Sharon D Clarke as Caroline Thibodeaux is an incredible force to be reckoned with. Clarke commands the full attention of the listener with her indefatigable strength, tangible emotionality, and pitch perfect performance. Listening to Clarke sing this score will forever etch every nuance of the work in the mind of listeners, setting the golden standard for portrayals of Caroline Thibodeaux going forward. Clarke's renditions of "Duets: Noah Go to Sleep" and "Lot's Wife" are instant Broadway classics, but there isn't a single performance of hers on the recording that isn't an absolute masterclass in powerful and engaging acting.

A true delight to see in performance, Samantha Williams is just as wonderful as Emmie Thibodeaux on Caroline, or Change (The New Broadway Cast Recording). Williams' vigor and energy imbues "Duets: No One Waitin'," "Duets: 'Night Mamma," "Mr. Stopnik and Emmie," "Kitchen Fight," and especially "Epilogue" with incredible life. Like Clarke, Williams' performance is a star-making moment in what is sure to be a fruitful and long career.

Other standout performances come from N'Kenge as The Moon, Nasia Thomas as Radio 1, Nya as Radio 2, Harper Miles as Radio 3, Tamika Lawrence as Dotty Moffett, Arica Jackson as The Washing Machine, Kevin S. McAllister as The Bus, and Caissie Levy as Rose Stopnick Gellman. Numbers such as N'Kenge';s "Moon Change;" Thomas, Nya, and Miles' "Salty Teardrops;" Lawrence's "Dotty and Caroline" and "Sunday Morning;" Jackson's "Laundry Quintet," "1943," and "Ooh Child;" McAllister's "The Bus;" and Levy's "Long Distance" are favorites from the dual album. The entire cast and all involved in the recording have poured every ounce of their souls and hearts into this record, assuring it is nothing short of astounding.

Digital copies of Caroline, or Change (The New Broadway Cast Recording) are available for purchase now. Physical CDs are expected January 14, 2022 and can be pre-ordered from Broadway Records HERE.

Related Stories

From This Author - David Clarke

David Clarke has had a lifelong love and passion for the performing arts, and has been writing about theatre both locally and nationally for years. He joined running their Houston... (read more about this author)

Album Review: A STRANGE LOOP (Original Broadway Cast Recording) is Poignant and Entertaining
July 8, 2022

A STRANGE LOOP is a refreshing Black, queer fantasia on the artistry of creating modern musical theater. It’s similar to [TITLE OF SHOW], but with more to say.

May 6, 2022

Released on what would have been Stephen Sondheim's 92nd birthday - March 22, 2022 - Yellow Sound Label’s SONDHEIM UNPLUGGED: THE NYC SESSIONS - VOLUME TWO is the glorious middle chapter of an epic trilogy of beloved Sondheim showtunes sung by musical theater luminaries. Like the previous entry, this collection is chock full of talented artists skillfully performing hits from Sondheim’s complex yet accessible catalog with glorious dexterity.

BWW Album Review: ASSASSINS (The 2022 Off-Broadway Cast Recording) is Pistol-Smart and Deeply Satisfying
April 12, 2022

Earlier this spring, Broadway Records released ASSASSINS (The 2022 Off-Broadway Cast Recording), giving fans of Stephen Sondheim our third English language commercially released recording of this brilliant score. Closed early because of Omicron, Broadway Records preserved this cast's wonderfully nuanced performances.

BWW Album Review: BETTY BUCKLEY SINGS STEPHEN SONDHEIM Sparkles With Grace and Heart
March 24, 2022

Marking the passing of legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and just ahead of the anniversary of his birth, Tony Award winner Betty Buckley released BETTY BUCKLEY SINGS STEPHEN SONDHEIM. Each rendition from Sondheim’s catalog sparkles with Buckley’s grace and heart, making the album a beautiful love letter to one of musical theater’s greatest artists.

BWW Album Review: FLYING OVER SUNSET (Original Broadway Cast Recording) Shimmers Beautifully But Leaves Us Grounded
March 4, 2022

FLYING OVER SUNSET had the kind of pedigree that made it a must-see show. Yet, many of us missed it. Masterworks Broadway offers theatre lovers a window into the production with FLYING OVER SUNSET (Original Broadway Cast Recording). Despite its beauty, the album exposes why the show shuttered so quickly.