Paradise Square, a new musical by Jason Howland, Nathan Tysen and Masi Asare, with additional material provided by Larry Kirwan, and inspired in part by the songs of Stephen Foster, is currently playing in Chicago at the James M. Nederlander Theatre before transferring to Broadway in early 2022. Paradise Square is directed by Moisés Kaufman (I Am My Own Wife) and features choreography by two-time Tony winner Bill T. Jones (Spring Awakening, Fela!). In the video above watch an exclusive performance of "Someone To Love" from Paradise Square featuring Tony Nominee Joaquina Kalukango and Chilina Kennedy.
Along with Kalukango and Kennedy the rest of the cast includes: Sidney DuPont, A.J. Shively, Nathaniel Stampley, Gabrielle McClinton, Jacob Fishel, Kevin Dennis, Matt Bogart, Colin Barkell, Karen Burthwright, Kennedy Caughell, Dwayne Clark, Garrett Coleman, Eric Craig, Colin Cunliffe, Chloe Davis, Josh Davis, Bernard Dotson, Jamal Christopher Douglas, Camille Eanga-Selenge, Sam Edgerly, Shiloh Goodin, Jacobi Hall, Sean Jenness, Joshua Keith, Jay McKenzie, Ben Michael, Jason Oremus, Kayla Pecchioni, Eilis Quinn, Lee Siegel, Erica Spyres, Lael van Keuren, Alan Wiggins, Kristen Beth Williams, and Hailee Kaleem Wright.
New York, 1863. As the Civil War rages on, free Black Americans and Irish immigrants live and love together in the unlikeliest of neighborhoods – the dangerous streets and crumbling tenement houses of Lower Manhattan’s notorious Five Points slum. The amalgamation between the communities took its most exuberant form with raucous dance contests on the floors of the neighborhood bars and dance halls. It is here in the Five Points where tap dancing was born. But this racial equilibrium would come to a sharp and brutal end when President Lincoln’s need to institute the first Federal Draft to support the Union Army would incite the deadly NY Draft Riots of July 1863. Within this galvanizing story of racial harmony undone by a country at war with itself, we meet the denizens of a local saloon called Paradise Square. These characters include the indomitable Black woman who owns it; her Irish-Catholic sister-in-law and her Black minister husband; a conflicted newly arrived Irish immigrant; a fearless freedom seeker; an anti-abolitionist political boss; and a penniless songwriter trying to capture it all. They have conflicting notions of what it means to be an American while living through one of the most tumultuous eras in our country’s history. With visceral and nuanced staging and choreography that captures the pulsating energy when Black and Irish cultures meet and set to a contemporary score that reimagines early American song, Paradise Square depicts an overlooked true-life moment when hope and possibility shone bright.
To learn more about Paradise Square visit: paradisesquaremusical.com