musical theatre

In conversation: Aaron Gelkoff and Sue Kelvin

Meet two stars from the award-winning musical Caroline, Or Change

Aaron Gelkoff (photo by Craig Topham) and Sue Kelvin

Aaron Gelkoff (photo by Craig Topham) and Sue Kelvin

Caroline, Or Change, the multi-award-winning musical by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori, draws on Kushner’s Deep South Jewish childhood to tell its tale of changing times in 60s America. The action takes place at Chanukah in 1962, as shockwaves from the assassination of JFK on 22 November rock America and the world. Aaron Gelkoff plays Noah Gellman, a nine-year-old Jewish boy whose relationship with his family’s black maid Caroline (played by Sharon D Clarke**) consoles him more than his stepmother ever can after the death of his mother. Sue Kelvin plays the doting Grandma, mother of the boy’s bereaved father. Judi Herman caught up with both actors to discuss their preparations for the roles; the experience of black and Jewish minorities in 60s Louisiana and how it chimes with our current uneasy times of racism and antisemitism; and what it takes to be a star in musical theatre today – both upcoming and experienced.

Caroline, Or Change runs until Saturday 6 April. 7.30pm (Mon-Sat), 2.30pm (Thu & Sat only). From £20*. Playhouse Theatre, WC2N 5DE. 084 4871 7631. www.carolineorchange.co.uk

*A limited number of £5 tickets are available to ages 16-25 on the day of performance and in person from the Playhouse Theatre box office. There is also an offer on that allows anyone named Caroline a free ticket when also purchasing another paying ticket. ‘Carolines Go Free’ is an exclusive offer available via the box office in person or by phone.

**Note that Sharon D Clarke will not be appearing on Monday evenings 7 Jan to 1 Mar.

Read our five-star review of Caroline, Or Change on the JR blog.

In conversation: Rabbi Leivi Sudak

Discover the extraordinary real life story behind the Tony Award-winning musical Come From Away

Rabbi Leivi Sudak cropped.jpg

From the Canadian Jewish writing team Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come From Away tells the incredible true story of how the residents of Gander, Newfoundland, welcomed the passengers of planes from around the world grounded by the 9/11 attacks, including a stranded rabbi from London. As the show arrives in London via Dublin this January, the real life rabbi – Leivi Sudak of Edgware Lubavitch – tells Judi Herman the full story of the welcome with which he was blessed in Gander, and the support he in turn was able to bring to other passengers and to a Holocaust survivor who had made his home in Gander.

His story is in two parts and both share wonderful instances of the kindness of Gander’s residents. The first ends on a bit of a cliff hanger, while in the second listeners will find out how a fellow passenger, an Israeli Jewish Buddhist, ended up peeling potatoes with Rabbi Sudak to help prepare a Shabbat meal. Discover kosher wine in a Gander supermarket, hear the remarkable story of that Holocaust survivor, and the nail-biting story of how Rabbi Sudak made New York in time for Rosh Hashanah thanks to a 500-mile dash by an extraordinary Gander couple.

Come From Away runs Wednesday 30 January – Saturday 14 September. 7.30pm, 2.30pm (Wed & Sat only). From £19.50. Phoenix Theatre, WC2H 0JP. https://comefromawaylondon.co.uk

Read our review of Come From Away on the JR blog.