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Paradise Square Delays Broadway Run by Three Weeks

The musical hopes to begin performances when the latest wave of Covid-19 subsides.

Joaquina Kalukango and Chilina Kennedy in the cast of Paradise Square.
(© Kevin Berne)

Producers of the new musical Paradise Square have decided to delay the show's preview period and opening night due to the recent spike in Covid-19 cases. The production will now begin previews March 15 at the Barrymore Theatre ahead of an April 3 opening in lieu of the originally planned first preview on February 22 and March 20 opening.

"During Christmas week, when there were over 560,000 positive daily cases in the US, over 70,000 positive daily cases in NYC and scientists suggested that the virus had yet to peak, we grew deeply concerned for the ongoing safety of our cast, crew and creative team, who were scheduled to begin Broadway rehearsals this month," said producer Garth H. Drabinsky in a statement. "We hope that a later start date for rehearsals and performances after the current wave is predicted to subside will better protect our company, audience and theater community."

Paradise Square is set in the Five Points neighborhood of New York City circa 1863 and is about a community of poor Irish immigrants and free Blacks who survive the war years and Draft Riots with raucous dance contests in neighborhood bars and dance halls. "It is here in the Five Points where tap dancing was born, as Irish step dancing joyously competed with Black American Juba," according to a press statement.

The book is a collaboration by Christina Anderson (Good Goods), Marcus Gardley (The House That Will Not Stand), Craig Lucas (The Light in the Piazza), and Larry Kirwan (lead singer of Black 47). The score of Paradise Square is by composer Jason Howland (who did the arrangements for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) and lyricist Nathan Tysen (Tuck Everlasting). Additional material is provided by Masi Asare (Monsoon Wedding) and Larry Kirwan. The musical features original songs as well as a reimagining of the songs of Stephen Foster ("Camptown Races"), who was writing and living in the Five Points at the time.

Moisés Kaufman (The Laramie Project) directs, with choreography by two-time Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones ('Spring Awakening, Fela!). Ten-time Tony Award nominee Graciela Daniele (Ragtime, Once on This Island'') will provide musical staging, in collaboration with Kaufman and Jones.

The cast will be headed by Joaquina Kalukango, Chilina Kennedy, John Dossett, Sidney DuPont, A.J. Shively, Nathaniel Stampley, Gabrielle McClinton, Jacob Fishel, and Kevin Dennis.