Photo Flash: First Look At Berkeley Rep's PARADISE SQUARE: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL
See new photos from Paradise Square: An American Musical. The world premiere is helmed by acclaimed director Moisés Kaufman, with choreography by the legendary Bill T. Jones and a book by Marcus Gardley, Craig Lucas, and Larry Kirwan. Music by Jason Howland and Larry Kirwan, with lyrics by Nathan Tysen, and based on the songs of Stephen Foster.
It's 1863 and in a 20-block area of Manhattan known as the Five Points, Black and Irish Americans live side by side, work together, marry, and for a brief period realize racial harmony. However, the intensifying Civil War soon results in the first-ever Federal draft, leading to riots as whites are called to enlist while blacks are barred from serving. Will the hard-won bonds of friendship, community, and family in the Five Points prevail or be severed forever?
Calling upon a variety of musical and dance traditions including Irish step-dancing and African traditional forms (such as Juba dancing), as well as new ones created from their fusion (tap dance), Paradise Square subverts and reframes some of the most popular music of the 19th century while honoring and celebrating this unique neighborhood's diverse inhabitants, whose passionate, moving, and heartbreaking experiences burn in our imaginations today.
"Paradise Square takes us to a critical moment in the history of the United States, raising questions about American identity that are still at the fore of our public consciousness 150 years later," says Artistic Director Tony Taccone. "Creating a new musical out of that context is a daring and challenging task - and I have full faith that this world-class team, led by director Moisés Kaufman, is up to it. Their honest, politically informed, vivid, and empathetic capturing of that moment in time is tremendously exciting to me."
Photo Credit: Alessandra Mello/Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Christina Sajous (Annabelle â€œNellyâ€' Freeman)
The company of Paradise Square: A New Musical
Jacobi Hall (Ensemble), Sidney Dupont (William Henry Lane), Kevin Dennis (Mike Quinlan), Christina Sajous (Annabelle â€œNellyâ€' Freeman), Daren A. Herbert (Rev. Samuel E. Cornish), and Madeline Trumble (Annie Oâ€™Brien)
Hailee Kaleem Wright (Ensemble), Karen Burthwright (Ensemble), and Sidney Dupont (William Henry Lane); (back row, l to r) ChloÃ© Davis (Ensemble), Sir Brock Warren (Ensemble), Jamal Christopher Douglas (Ensemble), and Jacobi Hall (Ensemble)
(l to r) Jacobi Hall (Ensemble), ChloÃ© Davis (Ensemble), Christina Sajous (Annabelle â€œNellyâ€' Freeman), Sir Brock Warren (Ensemble), Garrett Coleman (Ensemble), Hailee Kaleem Wright (Ensemble), and Jamal Christopher Douglas (Ensemble)
Sidney Dupont (William Henry Lane) and A.J. Shively (Owen Duignan); (background, l to r) Jacob Fishel (Stephen Foster/Milton Moore), Daren A. Herbert (Rev. Samuel E. Cornish), and Madeline Trumble (Annie Oâ€™Brien)