Paradise Square News

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NY Theatre Guide Logo

Look Forward to Black Stories on Broadway

New York Theatre Guide
June 11, 2021

Broadway theatres are gearing up for reopening at full capacity this fall, with many new works by Black playwrights receiving their Broadway premiere in 2021… Upcoming shows to look forward to include Paradise Square

 

TimeOut Logo

The first entirely new Broadway show since the start of the pandemic will be about 19th century New York

By Anna Rahmanan
TimeOut
June 9, 2021

Ready or not, Broadway is plotting a huge comeback—and we’re giddy with excitement at the mere thought of it.

 

Chicago Tribune Logo

Chicago’s Pre-Broadway ‘Paradise Square’ sets cast

By Chris Jones
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
June 7, 2021

 

Chicago Tribune Logo

Garth Drabinsky-Produced ‘Paradise Square’ Announces 2022 Broadway Opening; ‘Slave Play’s Joaquina Kalukango Joins Cast

By Greg Evans
DEADLINE
June 7, 2021

 

Chicago Tribune Logo

Garth Drabinsky, father of the Loop’s theater district, is coming back to Chicago with a pre-Broadway musical.

By Chris Jones
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
May 18, 2021

Garth Drabinsky, father of the Loop’s theater district, is coming back to Chicago with a pre-Broadway musical. One of North America’s most ebullient producers, a famously intellectual showman, who staged epic Chicago productions of “Showboat” and “Ragtime” and put Donny Osmond in “Joseph” to the delight of audiences [in Chicago] for years — is reigniting high-profile theater in Chicago this fall with a new Broadway-bound musical, “Paradise Square.”

The piece, which uses both original music and the songs of Stephen Foster, focuses on the Lower Manhattan neighborhood of Five Points, positing that its 1863 blend of Irish immigrants and Black Americans, both escapees from slavery and free-born individuals, was a singular fusion wherein two oppressed groups intermingled, intermarried and shared their music, dance and culture.

“Without the return of the theater, great cities like New York and Chicago are just not the same.”

Five weeks of “Paradise Square” represent a bold new bet on the Loop’s live-entertainment fortunes. “[Drabinsky] never lost his passion or his commitment to the project,” Director Moises Kaufman said. “He is trying to do something here both interesting and daring.” Convinced the demographics of Chicago, a city whose culture was formed in no small part by Irish immigrants and Black Americans, would embrace the show and be compelled by the largely unknown story of a neighborhood that promised hope for the future, albeit long deferred. – Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

 

Garth Drabinsky, father of the Loop’s theater district, is coming back to Chicago with a pre-Broadway musical.

‘Paradise Square,’ a Broadway-bound musical, set to open in Chicago in November

By Darel Jevens
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
May 18, 2021

Chicago’s job of presenting new musicals on their way to Broadway — halted last year by the pandemic — is set to resume in November with a show about a key moment in the history of Irish Americans and African Americans.

Garth Drabinsky, the high-profile Canadian impresario who restored and reopened the Nederlander Theatre (then the Oriental) in 1998, is producing “Paradise Square.” Drabinsky was a major player in Chicago theater in the ‘90s, bringing in long-running productions of “Show Boat,” “Ragtime” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat.”

 

Garth Drabinsky, father of the Loop’s theater district, is coming back to Chicago with a pre-Broadway musical.

Broadway-bound tuner ‘Paradise Square’ set to premiere in November in Chicago

By Barbara Vitello
DAILY HERALD
May 18, 2021

Fourteen months after the pandemic shuttered live theater, the Chicago to Broadway pipeline reopens in November with “Paradise Square,” a new musical whose impressive pedigree includes director Moisés Kaufman (“I Am My Own Wife,” “The Laramie Project”) and Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones (“Spring Awakening,” “Fela!”). The opening marks Chicago’s first pre-Broadway run since the COVID-19 pandemic forced theaters to close.

Set during the Civil War in 1863 New York, “Paradise Square” tells the story of the people of Five Points, a lower Manhattan slum where freeborn Black Americans and escaped slaves lived and worked with Irish immigrants. Through their shared cultural heritage, expressed in dance contests at neighborhood dance halls, tap dancing — a combination of Juba dance and Irish step dancing — evolved. However, that racial and cultural harmony was shattered by the bloody July 1863 riots sparked by the establishment of a federal draft.

 

Garth Drabinsky-Produced ‘Paradise Square’ Musical Sets Pre-Broadway Run In Chicago

Garth Drabinsky-Produced ‘Paradise Square’ Musical Sets Pre-Broadway Run In Chicago

By Greg Evans
DEADLINE
May 18, 2021

Paradise Square, the original musical from a creative team that includes Moisés Kaufman, Bill T. Jones, Craig Lucas and Black 47 singer Larry Kirwan, will begin a limited, month-long pre-Broadway engagement in Chicago on Nov. 2.

The musical, set in the notorious Civil War-era Lower Manhattan Five Points slum, is produced by Garth H. Drabinsky, marking a return of the once-ubiquitous Canadian theater executive. Drabinsky, whose previous Broadway productions included Kiss of the Spider Woman, Show Boat, Ragtime and Fosse, is teamed on Paradise Square with longtime colleague Peter LeDonne, who co-produces.

Paradise Square will be the first major pre-Broadway show to open in Chicago after the pandemic shutdown.

 

Chicago’s live theater scene is bouncing back after the pandemic closed curtains

Chicago’s live theater scene is bouncing back after the pandemic closed curtains

WLS-TV, ABC 7, CHICAGO,
EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 4 PM
May 18, 2021

“The live theater scene is bouncing back after the pandemic closed curtains. The musical “Paradise Square” is making its debut later this year…this might be a sign that The Loop is coming back to life. The pandemic darkened the theater district but lights will shine again. Broadway in Chicago is making a comeback later this year and one of the first productions is “Paradise Square,” a Civil War-era musical set in New York about racial harmony undone by the war.”

 

Chicago’s live theater scene is bouncing back after the pandemic closed curtains

WMAQ-TV, NBC 5, CHICAGO
May 18, 2021

Transcript: “Some exciting news for theatre lovers! Live performances are coming back to the stage in Chicago this fall with a special pre-Broadway premiere. The new musical Paradise Square is set in in a New York City slum in 1863 during the Civil War. It tells the story of Irish immigrants who settled alongside Black Americans as they shared cultures and raised their families together. I want to see this!”

 

WGN AM Radio logo

WGN-AM RADIO, CHICAGO
May 18, 2021

Transcript:“It’s a big deal that a pre-Broadway show is coming to the downtown theater district. It’s going to be the pre-Broadway premiere of a musical that’s called Paradise Square. It’s a musical about the merging of Irish and African-American cultures in New York. So that’s what this musical about it’s going to be at the Nederlander Theatre. 5hat’s going to be the big show.”

 

Broadway-Aimed Musical Paradise Square to Play Chicago in November

Broadway-Aimed Musical Paradise Square to Play Chicago in November

By Lindsey Sullivan
BROADWAY.COM
May 18, 2021

A new musical eyeing Broadway is headed to Chicago. Paradise Square will play Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theatre from November 2 through December 5. Director Moisés Kaufman and choreographer Bill T. Jones will return to the show, which was conceived by Larry Kirwan.

Paradise Square is set in 1863 in a 20-block area of Manhattan known as the Five Points, where Black and Irish Americans live side by side, work together, marry and for a brief period, realize racial harmony. However, the intensifying Civil War soon results in the first-ever federal draft, leading to riots. Will the hard-won bonds of friendship, community and family in the Five Points prevail or be severed forever?

 

Producer Garth Drabinsky Returns With Broadway-Bound Musical Paradise Square

Producer Garth Drabinsky Returns With Broadway-Bound Musical Paradise Square

By Lindsey Sullivan
BROADWAY.COM
May 18, 2021

Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theatre will host the pre-Broadway run of the new musical Paradise Square November 2-December 5. The show is produced by Garth H. Drabinsky, the Tony-winning producer behind Kiss of the Spider Woman.

Paradise Square is set in the Five Points neighborhood of New York City circa 1863 and is about a community of poor Irish immigrants and free Blacks who survive the war years and Draft Riots with raucous dance contests in neighborhood bars and dance halls.

The book is a collaboration by Christina Anderson (Good Goods), Marcus Gardley (The House That Will Not Stand), Craig Lucas (The Light in the Piazza), and Larry Kirwan (lead singer of Black 47). It centers on a mixed-race family in 19th-century New York and the saloon run by that family’s indomitable matriarch.

The musical features original songs as well as a reimagining of the songs of Stephen Foster (“Camptown Races”), who was writing and living in the Five Points at the time.

 

New York Times logo

The Real Story of the ‘Draft Riots’

February 18, 2021

In 1863, mobs of white New Yorkers terrorized Black people. The response has something to teach us.