CHICAGO — The Tony nominee Joaquina Kalukango (’Slave Play”) and the Canadian musical-theater star Chilina Kennedy (“Beautiful”) are to star in “Paradise Square,” the Garth Drabinsky musical trying out this fall in Chicago and then headed to Broadway.
The Canadian producer is returning to downtown Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theatre (formerly the Oriental Theatre), which he restored and where he staged lavish productions of both “Showboat” and “Ragtime.”
“Paradise Square,” which will run between Nov. 2 and Dec. 5 in Chicago before a planned Broadway opening of March 20, tells the story of Manhattan’s Five Points neighborhood in the mid-19th century and posits that the impoverished area supported an integrated community of Black Americans and Irish immigrants.
Other leading performers in the cast include Tony Award nominee John Dossett, Sidney DuPont, A.J. Shively, Nathaniel Stampley, Gabrielle McClinton, Jacob Fishel and Kevin Dennis.
Direction is by Moises Kaufman (”I Am My Own Wife,”), choreography by Bill T. Jones (”Spring Awakening”), and the multi-author book is from Christina Anderson, Marcus Gardley, Craig Lucas and Larry Kirwan. Longtime Drabinsky collaborator Graciela Daniele (”Ragtime”) will provide musical staging, in collaboration with Kaufman and Jones.
The musical features original songs and musical material by Jason Howland, Nathan Tyson and Masi Asare, as well as using some of the songs of Stephen Foster, who was writing and living in the Five Points during the era of the show.
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