Following a 2018 world premiere and an upcoming engagement in Chicago, Paradise Square will receive its Broadway premiere in 2022.
In the slums of Lower Manhattan in 1863, amidst a divided country and a neighborhood crushed by poverty, one extraordinary community was formed. In the Five Points slum, free Blacks and Irish immigrants lived together in something close to harmony — until larger forces tore their corner of the world apart. Now, the new Broadway musical Paradise Square brings the history of Five Points to glorious life. Paradise Square tickets are on sale now.
At the center of Five Points is Paradise Square, a saloon where the neighborhood’s Black and Irish populations drink and dance together. The bar’s regulars are an eclectic bunch: the Black woman owner, her Irish-Catholic sister-in-law, an anti-abolitionist leader, a just-arrived Irish immigrant with mixed feelings about the neighborhood, and a songwriter desperate to make a buck all congregate together. Within this one bar, all their differing visions of what America should be will clash and mix together.
Paradise Square features a book co-written by Christina Anderson, Marcus Gardley, and Craig Lucas. Paradise Square on Broadway tells the story of a divided America struggling to define its identity, and a moment in history when the country’s best ideals briefly shone through.
Jason Howland and Nathan Tysen’s Paradise Square also uses additional material by Masi Asare and Larry Kirwan. The score combines original songs with reimaginings of the works of 19th-century American composer Stephen Foster. Foster was a composer of parlor and minstrel tunes and is typically considered as “the father of American music.” The Paradise Square musical score brings a modern eye to the foundational history of American culture.
Paradise Square combines a thrilling contemporary score with Black American juba and Irish step dancing, two dance styles forms which combined in Five Points slum to eventually form the beginnings of American tap dance. Fela! choreographer and dance legend Bill T. Jones choreographs Paradise Square, with direction by Moisés Kaufman.
Paradise Square was first produced at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2018. It will play a pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago, before transferring to the Barrymore Theatre on Broadway. Paradise Square tickets are on sale now.
It’s 1863 and in a 20-block area of Manhattan known as the Five Points, 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 as whites are called to enlist while blacks are barred from serving. Will the hard-won bonds of friendship, community, and family in the Five Points prevail or be severed forever?