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

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 Broadway previews at the Shubert Organization’s Barrymore Theatre on February 22, 2022, with an opening night set for Sunday, March 20.

Producer Garth H. Drabinsky announced the dates today, along with the new casting of Joaquina Kalukango, currently Tony-nominated for her performance in Slave Play.

As previously reported, the production will arrive on Broadway directly from a five-week Chicago engagement.

The musical’s creative team includes director Moisés Kaufman and choreographer Bill T. Jones, with a book by Christina Anderson, Marcus Gardley, Craig Lucas and Larry Kirwan. Graciela Daniele will provide musical staging, in collaboration with Kaufman and Jones.

The score of Paradise Square is by Jason Howland and Nathan Tysen, with additional material provided by Masi Asare and Kirwan. The musical features original songs as well as reimaginings of the songs of Stephen Foster.

Set in New York City’s Five Points neighborhood of 1863, Paradise Square chronicles the raucous dance contests between the area’s Irish and Black communities, and a racial equilibrium that came to a brutal end with the deadly NY Draft Riots.

The musical will mark the return to Broadway of the once ubiquitous Canadian theater producer Drabinsky, whose legal and financial woes resulted in a prison sentence in Canada. At his peak in the 1990s, Drabinsky produced such Broadway hits as Kiss of the Spider Woman, Show Boat, Ragtime and Fosse.

Drabinsky is teamed on Paradise Square with longtime colleague Peter LeDonne, who co-produces.

Kalukango, best known for her role as Kaneisha in Jeremy O. Harris’ Slave Play, also appeared on Broadway in The Color Purple, Holler If Ya Hear Me and Godspell. Her film and television credits include Amazon’s One Night in Miami, HBO’s Lovecraft Country and the Netflix series When They See Us.

Paradise Square will also feature Chilina Kennedy, John Dossett, Sidney DuPont, A.J. Shively, Nathaniel Stampley, Gabrielle McClinton, Jacob Fishel and Kevin Dennis.

The creative team features scenic design by Allen Moyer, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Donald Holder, and sound design by Jon Weston.

The world premiere of Paradise Square was produced in January 2019 by Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The musical is based on Hard Times, originally conceived by Kirwan, which was originally presented Off Broadway in 2012.

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