Tony Award nominee A.J. Shivley stopped by the Playbill studio for an exclusive performance of “I’m Coming” from the 10-time Tony Award nominated Paradise Square. Watch the video above for the full interview and performance.
“Bill T. Jones, our choreographer, his whole artistic outlook is that the best art comes beyond the lines you draw for yourself, beyond what you think you're capable of.” shares Shively. “And that's certainly been my experience working with him on this project. If the requirements of what I'm actually doing in the show right now, if those requirements were on a breakdown, I would probably pass on the audition.”
The show, directed by Moisés Kaufman, made its Broadway debut April 3 following previews which started March 15. The work takes place during the Civil War and tells the story of Irish immigrants and Black Americans fighting for a similar cause.
The show has been nominated for 10 2022 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, and Best Choreography. An original cast album was recorded in the final two weeks of April, however a release date has not been established.
The 40-member cast is led by Tony nominee 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).
The work was conceived by Black 47 frontman Larry Kirwan with a book penned by Christina Anderson, Craig Lucas, and Kirwan to a score by Jason Howland; lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Masi Asare; and additional music by Kirwan.
The cast also includes Colin Barkell, Karen Burthwright, Kennedy Caughell, Dwayne Clark, Garrett Coleman, Colin Cunliffe, Chloe Davis, John Davis, Bernard Dotson, Jamal Christopher Douglass, Sam Edgerly, Shiloh Goodin, Sean Jenness, Joshua Keith, Jay McKenzie, Ben Michael, Kayla Pecchioni, Elis Quinn, Lee Siegel, Erica Spyres, Lael Van Keuren, Brock Warren, and Hailee Kaleem Wright. Aisha Jackson is Kalukango's standby, and understudies includes Eric Craig, Josh Davis, Alan Wiggins, and Camille Eanga-Selegne. Conor Coleman and Kristen Beth Williams round out the company as swings.
The new musical features 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; projection design by Wendall K. Harrington and Shawn Edward Boyle; special effects by Gregory Meeh; hair and wig design by Matthew B. Armentrout, arrangements by Howland and Kirwan; dramaturgy by Thulani Davis and Sydné Mahone; and Irish and Hammerstep choreography by Garrett Coleman and Jason Oremus. Karyn Meek is production stage manager, and casting is by Stewart/Whitley.