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VIDEO: Joaquina Kalukango Discusses Her PARADISE SQUARE Tony Awards Performance on TODAY

Paradise Square is now running at the Ethel Barrymore Theater on Broadway.

Joaquina Kalukango sat down with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on the TODAY Show this morning to discuss her acclaimed Tony Awards performance for Paradise Square.

"It was the first time that I was able to see the audience because usually there are blinding lights when we perform. So to feel that space of like 6000 people and to feel that love and support, like literally energy coming at us, was overwhelming," Kalukango said of her performance of "Let It Burn."

Watch the Joaquina Kalukango and the cast of Paradise Square perform on the Tony Awards here.

Kalukango also opened up about how her character of Nelly O'Brien in Paradise Square has helped her through an uncertain period in her life.

"Last year, I was so fearful. I think about living, about breathing, trying to figure out where our community was going to go, how we would all move forward, I think as a society. So to have this character come into my life, this woman who is just like a force of nature, who loves her community with her whole hear, who is absolutely fearless and full of faith, that informed how I should move forward in my life, for sure."

Now playing on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Paradise Square stars Kalukango, Chilina Kennedy, Tony Award nominee John Dossett, Tony Award nominee Sidney Dupont, Tony Award nominee A.J. Shively, Nathaniel Stampley, Gabrielle McClinton, Jacob Fishel, Kevin Dennis and Matt Bogart.

New York City. 1863. The Civil War raged on. An extraordinary thing occurred amid the dangerous streets and crumbling tenement houses of the Five Points, the notorious 19th-century Lower Manhattan slum. Irish immigrants escaping the devastation of the Great Famine settled alongside free-born Black Americans and those who escaped slavery, arriving by means of the Underground Railroad.

The Irish, relegated at that time to the lowest rung of America's social status, received a sympathetic welcome from their Black neighbors (who enjoyed only slightly better treatment in the burgeoning industrial-era city). The two communities co-existed, intermarried, raised families, and shared their cultures in this unlikeliest of neighborhoods.

Watch the new interview here:




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