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Chicago cast announced for ‘Paradise Square’ pre-Broadway run

Tony Award nominee Joaquina Kalukango will lead the cast for the show which will be presented in a five-week, pe-Broadway engagement at the James M. Nederlander Theatre Nov. 2-Dec. 5.

Joaquina Kalukango is among the Chicago cast of “Paradise Square” for its pre-Broadway engagement.
Tony Award nominee Joaquina Kalukango is among the Chicago cast of “Paradise Square” for its pre-Broadway engagement.
Provided

The cast for the Broadway-bound musical “Paradise Square,” which will receive its pre-Broadway run in Chicago this fall, was announced Monday.

Tony Award nominee Joaquina Kalukango and Chilina Kennedy will lead the cast for the show which will receive a five-week engagement at the James M. Nederlander Theatre (24 W. Randolph) Nov. 2-Dec. 5.

The cast will also feature John Dossett, A.J. Shively, Nathaniel Stampley, Sidney DuPont, Gabrielle McClinton, Kevin Dennis and Jacob Fishel.

Produced by Garth Drabinsky, “Paradise Square” is directed by Tony Award nominee Moisés Kaufman (“I Am My Own Wife”), with choreography by two-time Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones (“Spring Awakening,” “Fela!’), and a book by Christina Anderson Marcus Gardley, Craig Lucas and Larry Kirwan. The production features the “re-imagined” songs of Stephen Foster and original compositions, with a score by Jason Howland (“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”), Nathan Tyson (“Tuck Everlasting”), Masi Asare (“Monsoon Wedding”) and Kirwan.

The Berkeley Rep cast of “Paradise Square” featured Hailee Kaleem Wright (front, left to right), Karen Burthwright and Sidney Dupont; and Chloé Davis (back, left to right) Sir Brock Warren, Jamal Christopher Douglas and Jacobi Hall.
The Berkeley Rep cast of “Paradise Square” featured Hailee Kaleem Wright (front, left to right), Karen Burthwright and Sidney Dupont; Chloé Davis (back, left to right) Sir Brock Warren, Jamal Christopher Douglas and Jacobi Hall.
Alessandra Mello

The production, which received its world premiere in 2019 at Berkeley Rep, tells the story, set in New York in 1863, about the tenement housing community of Five Points in Lower Manhattan where Irish immigrants and free-born Black Americans who had escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad co-existed and shared their cultures as the tight-knit community until the Civil War’s New York Draft Riots of 1863 violently changed everything.

“It is here in the Five Points where tap dancing was born, as Irish step dancing joyously competed with Black American Juba,” the show’s official press announcement stated.

Drabinsky, who Chicagoans may remember for his critically acclaimed projects here including “Ragtime,” “Showboat” and record-setting “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” starring Donny Osmond in the 1990s, is the controversial theater mogul who was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted in Canada of defrauding shareholders of Livent, the theater production company he co-founded with Myron Gottlieb, also convicted in the high-profile case. Drabinsky was released on parole in 2013 after serving 17 months, and all charges in the U.S. were later dismissed.

Individual tickets for “Paradise Square on sale at 12:00 a.m. June 8 (midnight Monday) at broadwayinchicago.com.