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

  • Sidney Dupont, left, A.J. Shively and Jacobi Hall (front) perform in the Broadway-bound "Paradise Square" premiering this November in Chicago.

    Sidney Dupont, left, A.J. Shively and Jacobi Hall (front) perform in the Broadway-bound "Paradise Square" premiering this November in Chicago. Courtesy of Berkeley Repertory Theatre

 
 
Updated 5/18/2021 11:57 AM

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!").

Performances run Nov. 2 through Dec. 5 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago. 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.

Hailee Kaleem Wright, left, Karen Burthwright and Sidney Dupont (front row) perform in "Paradise Square," whose pre-Broadway run opens in November in Chicago.
Hailee Kaleem Wright, left, Karen Burthwright and Sidney Dupont (front row) perform in "Paradise Square," whose pre-Broadway run opens in November in Chicago. - Courtesy of Berkeley Repertory Theatre

The score is by Jason Howland ("Beautiful: The Carole King Musical") and Nathan Tysen ("Amelie") with additional material by Masi Asare ("Monsoon Wedding"), Larry Kirwan, the lead singer for Black 47 as well as songs by Stephen Foster, who lived in Five Points at the time.

Kirwan also contributed to the book co-written by Christina Anderson, Marcus Gardley ("The House That Will Not Stand") and Craig Lucas ("The Light in the Piazza").

Tickets are available for groups of 10 or more at (312) 977-1710 or by emailing groupsales@broadwayinchicago.com. "Paradise Square" will be a part of the new Broadway In Chicago subscription launching in August. Individual tickets for "Paradise Square" go on sale June 8. See broadwayinchicago.com for more information,

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