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Signature Theatre Announces Free Events in Connection With Paradise Blue

Dominique Morisseau's drama, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, runs through June 10.

J. Alphonse Nicholson and Kristolyn Lloyd in the Signature Theatre production of Dominique Morisseau's Paradise Blue.
(© Joan Marcus)

Signature Theatre has announced several special free events in connection with the New York debut of Dominique Morisseau's Paradise Blue as part of the company's Spotlight Series. Morisseau's play is currently running through June 10, with opening night set for May 14.

The series will begin with a Page to Stage discussion between Morisseau and the production's director, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, on Wednesday, May 9, at 6:30pm in the Signature Café Bar. The artists, who previously collaborated on Skeleton Crew, will discuss their working relationship and how they've brought Paradise Blue to New York.

On Saturday, May 19, at 4:30pm, Morisseau will participate in a discussion with Rachel Tuchman of Kaplan & Company LLP and Diep Tran of American Theatre magazine titled Art vs. Artist: Consuming, Creating, and Supporting Media in the Modern Age. Moderated by curator and theater director Monica L. Williams, the event will, according to a press release, "explore how we navigate the past, present, and future of art and media in our current cultural era. Can we consume and appreciate the art of offenders, while still denouncing their actions? How do we support the art and agency of women, while also working to dismantle the 'cult of male genius' that has led to valuing the art of abusers over the lives and wellbeing of others? Moving forward, what does the ideal safe space look like and how do we create it?"

And after the performance on Tuesday, May 22, scenic designer Neil Patel and sound designer Darron L. West will participate in a Backstage Pass discussion giving audience members an inside look at the behind-the-scenes mechanics.

In addition, there will be postshow talkbacks after the performances on May 3, 8, 24, and 31, as well as a special talkback on May 23 with Morisseau and a special guest.

Paradise Blue is described as follows: "In 1949, Detroit's Blackbottom neighborhood is gentrifying. Blue, a troubled trumpeter and the owner of Paradise Club, is torn between remaining in Blackbottom with his loyal lover Pumpkin and leaving behind a traumatic past. But when the arrival of a mysterious woman stirs up tensions, the fate of Paradise Club hangs in the balance." The show had its world premiere at the Williamstown Theatre Festival during its 2015 season.

The Signature cast features Francois Battiste (Head of Passes), Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen), Simone Missick (Luke Cage), J. Alphonse Nicholson (Luke Cage), and Keith Randolph Smith (Jitney). The creative team includes Neil Patel (scenic design), Clint Ramos (costume design), Rui Rita (lighting design), Darron L. West (sound design), Thomas Schall (fight direction), Kenny Rampton (original music), Bill Sims Jr. (music director), and Laura Wilson (production stage manager).