Recluse happy to join up with possibly 'tanked up' auds

NEW YORK — It was Broadway’s version of a rock-star moment. The limo rolled up Sunday night in front of the Eugene O’Neill Theater and out popped Tony Kushner, Jeanine Tesori and George C. Wolfe for a major curbside ovation. The theater was playing their new tuner “Caroline, or Change.”

Inside, Tonya Pinkins received the year’s biggest ovation for her “Lot’s Wife” aria.

Kushner broke his long-held tradition of eschewing preems in favor of a Chinese dinner somewhere quiet. “I don’t like opening-night audiences. They’re usually tanked up — not on anything illegal,” he qualified. “But ‘Caroline’ is different. I really wanted to be here with George and Jeanine. It’s not just my baby.”

Kushner said he was “stunned” at the mixed reviews for “Caroline” last fall at the Public.

Two critics who raved about the original production — the New Yorker’s John Lahr and the New York Times’ Frank Rich — showed up at the Gotham Hall bash, as did “Angels in America” alums Mike Nichols and Jeffrey Wright.

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