VIDEO: Go Inside Rehearsals For Berkeley Rep's PARADISE SQUARE: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL
In the video below go inside rehearsals for 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."
Previews begin Thursday, December 27, 2018 and the show runs through Sunday, February 17, 2019. Press day will be Thursday, January 10, 2019. Tickets start at $40, and can be purchased online at berkeleyrep.org and by phone at 510 647-2949 (Tue-Sun, noon-7pm).