Broadway's Paradise Square Closes July 17 | Playbill

Broadway News Broadway's Paradise Square Closes July 17

The Moisés Kaufman-directed musical made its Broadway debut in April at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

Joaquina Kalukango in Paradise Square Kevin Berne

Broadway's Paradise Square closes July 17 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The show opened April 3 after beginning previews March 15. At the time the closing, the production will have played 23 previews and 108 performances.

The original musical is directed by Moisés Kaufman, with choreography by Tony winner Bill T. Jones. It takes place during the Civil War and tells the story of Irish immigrants and Black Americans fighting for a similar cause. Read reviews for the play here.

The show's large ensemble cast is led by Joaquina Kalukango (Slave Play), Chilina Kennedy (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Tony nominee John Dossett (Gypsy), Matt Bogart (Smokey Joe’s Café), Kevin Dennis (Assassins), Nathaniel Stampley (Porgy & Bess), A.J. Shively (Bright Star), Sidney DuPont (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Gabrielle McClinton (Pippin), and Jacob Fishel (Fiddler on the Roof).

Kalukango won a 2022 Tony Award for her performance in the show. Listen to her singing the character's climactic "Let It Burn" from the forthcoming original cast album here.

Producer Garth H. Drabinsky cited COVID-related financial difficulties for the production's brief run in a statement. "We wanted to give Paradise Square every chance to succeed, but various challenges proved insurmountable. We endured two COVID shutdowns, including 13 days right after our opening night, which resulted in a crucial loss of marketing momentum. The show, produced after the start of the pandemic, was not eligible for SVOG funds and was without the benefit of indemnity as insurers would no longer cover new productions for losses due to COVID. Even with significant award recognition and the sensational performance delivered by Joaquina Kalukango and our cast on the Tony Awards broadcast, we only saw a modest bump at the box office."

The production has been the subject of other recent news, with Actors' Equity, representing Broadway actors and stage managers, and United Scenic Artists Local USA 829, representing theatrical designers, bringing legal action against the producers of the musical, citing nearly $350,000 in owed benefit contributions, wages, and payments. Actors' Equity has additionally pledged to add lead producer Garth Drabinsky to its "Do Not Work" list, effectively ending his ability to produce on Broadway.

The show is already planning a national tour for the 2023-2024 season, along with international productions. It remains unclear if Drabinsky's legal troubles with the theatrical unions will jeopardize these future plans for the work. An original Broadway cast album is expected to release in September. 

Paradise Square was conceived by Black 47 frontman Larry Kirwan. Christina Anderson, Craig Lucas, and Kirwan penned the musical's book to a score with music by Jason Howland, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Masi Asare, and additional music by Kirwan.

The production also has staging by Alex Sanchez; music supervision, direction, and orchestrations by Howland; scenic design by Allen Moyer; costume design by Toni-Leslie James; lighting design by Donald Holder; sound design by Jon Weston; and projection design by Wendall K. Harrington.


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