Stage Door News

New York: Canadians Chilina Kennedy and Kevin Dennis in “Paradise Square” premiering on Broadway March 20, 2022

Monday, June 7, 2021

Following a previously announced engagement in Chicago, the new musical Paradise Square will open at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre March 20, 2022. Previews will begin February 22.

Set in Manhattan’s Five Points neighborhood during the Civil War, the musical follows the inhabitants of a local saloon—including the Black woman who owns it, a conflicted newly arrived Irish immigrant, a runaway slave, and a once-great songwriter.

Joaquina Kalukango, a current Tony nominee for Slave Play, will take on the central role of Nelly Freeman, the saloon proprietor. The principal cast will also include Chilina Kennedy (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), John Dossett (Gypsy), Sidney DuPont (Beautiful), A.J. Shively (Bright Star), Nathaniel Stampley (Porgy and Bess), Gabrielle McClinton (Pippin), Jacob Fishel (Fiddler on the Roof), and Kevin Dennis (Young Frankenstein in Canada).

Additional company members will include Karen Burthwright, Kennedy Caughell, Dwayne Clark, Garrett Coleman, Colin Cunliffe, Chloe Davis, Bernard Dotson, Jamal Christopher Douglas, Sam Edgerly, Shiloh Goodin, Jacobi Hall, Sean Jenness, Jay McKenzie, Ben Michael, Jason Oremus, Eilis Quinn, Sara Sheperd, Lael van Keuren, Sir Brock Warren, and Hailee Kaleem Wright, with more to be announced later.

Moisés Kaufman directs the staging, having helmed the 2018 world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Garth Drabinsky will produce, with his longtime collaborator Peter LeDonne co-producing. Paradise Square marks the first major production for Canadian film and stage producer Drabinsky after serving time for fraud surrounding his former company Livent.

Conceived by Larry Kirwan, Paradise Square features a score by Jason Howland and Nathan Tysen, with additional material by Masi Asare and Kirwan. The musical features original songs as well as a reimagining of the songs of Stephen Foster. Christina Anderson, Marcus Gardley, Craig Lucas, and Kirwan penned the book.

Also among the creative team are choreographer Bill T. Jones, musical stager Graciela Daniele, scenic designer Allen Moyer, costume designer Toni-Leslie James, lighting designer Donald Holder, sound designer Jon Weston, projection designer Wendall K. Harrington, special effects designer Gregory Meech, hair and wig designer Matthew B. Armentrout, and dramaturgs Thulani Davis and Sydné Mahone. Casting is by Stewart/Whitley.

By Ryan McPhee for