Wednesday, September 21, 2005

16 feet below sea level

Listening to the soundtrack to Caroline, or Change while I work, and it takes on a new meaning in the aftermath of Katrina. It's a Tony Kushner (Angels in America) musical based on his childhood in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and his relationship with the maid Caroline. I was fortunate to see it on Broadway before it closed (a real shame). The group I was with got to meet with Kushner and the cast for a question-answer period after the play - such a priviledge.

Anyway, the show starts out with Caroline in the basement doing laundry and singing "Sixteen feet below sea level, caught 'tween the Devil and the dirty brown sea . . ." Basements are rare in Louisiana, but "this house got one." Just hearing the underwater metaphors that weave throughout the show sorta stops the heart a little.

And this you should know as well - Tonya Pinkins (Caroline) shoulda won the Tony. Yes, I saw Idina Menzel in Wicked, and I loved her in it, but she didn't hold a candle to Tonya. When Pinkins sings "Lot's Wife," well, I turn into a blubbering mass of jelly. Incredible! If you get a chance to see Caroline/Change on tour - get thee to it. It will blow you away.

Guess that basement sixteen feet below sea level ain't there no more (or it won't be after Rita hits it).

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