The Music of Paradise Square

A new musical, Paradise Square, is headed to Broadway this spring.

Imagine this: New York, 1863. An accidental society held the promise of what America could be. As the Civil War rages on, free Blacks and Irish immigrants live and love together in the unlikeliest of neighborhoods – the dangerous streets and crumbling tenement houses of Lower Manhattan’s notorious Five Points slum. With visceral and nuanced staging and choreography that captures the pulsating energy when Black and Irish cultures meet and set to a contemporary score that reimagines early American song, Paradise Square depicts an overlooked true-life moment when hope and possibility shone bright.

Speaking of the score, you can now get a taste of what you can expect from Paradise Square ahead of its opening. Watch and listen to some of the songs below and learn more details about this highly anticipated show.

“Paradise Square”“Paradise Square,” the show’s opening number, is set at a rousing celebration in New York City’s notorious Five Points neighborhood at the saloon owned and operated by Nelly O’Brien (Joaquina Kalukango). It’s 1863, and her Irish immigrant husband, Willie O’Brien (Matt Bogart) and his best friend ‘Lucky’ Mike Quinlan (Kevin Dennis) have volunteered to serve the Union Army in the still raging Civil War. The denizens of the Paradise Square Saloon send the soldiers off with cheers led by Willie’s sister Annie Lewis (Chilina Kennedy) and prayers led by her husband, Reverend Samuel Jacob Lewis (Nathaniel Stampley).

“Welcome Home”“Welcome Home,” a new addition to the score since the production at Berkeley Rep in 2019, is sung by Joaquina Kalukango in the lead role of Nelly O’Brien. The Civil War is raging, and Nelly’s Irish husband, Willie O’Brien (played by Matt Bogart), has volunteered to fight for the Union Army, bravely leading the 69th Infantry Regiment. Near the end of Act 1, Nelly, alone in the Paradise Square Saloon she owns, gently recalls the first time she met Willie. Her warm memories soon give way to the harsh reality she is now confronting.

“Breathe Easy”“Breathe Easy,” a new addition to the score since the production at Berkeley Rep in 2019, is sung by the characters of Washington Henry (Sidney DuPont) and his girlfriend, Angelina Baker (Gabrielle McClinton). Separated during their escape from slavery in Tennessee, the pair each travel the Underground Railroad to reunite in the Five Points, before fleeing to Canada. In this Act 2 song, Angelina and Washington dream of the freedom they might enjoy in their future life together.

“I’d Be A Soldier” “I’d Be A Solider” replaces a song of the same name that was featured in the Berkeley Rep production in 2019. It’s a new song, lyric, and arrangement from the earlier production. “I’d Be A Solider” is performed in response to the nation’s first Federal Draft, instituted by President Lincoln to bolster the ranks of the Union Army. Free Black Americans living in New York were not allowed to enlist as they were not considered citizens.

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the show, you can prepare for it’s spring debut. Paradise Square begins previews February 22, 2022 and opens March 20, 2022 so that leaves you time to book your group tickets now! You can do so by visiting the show page or give us a call at 866-302-0995.

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