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Paradise Square Reviews

Broadway ShowsPre BroadwayMusicals2022 Tony Winners2022 Tony Nominees

Average customer review: 3.0 star rating (3.1 Stars)

Number of reviews: 16

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5.0 star rating Dennis Roberts from Wilmette, Illinois

CURB YOUR CYNICISM

Paradise Square offers an idealization we need to embrace. The stratification of race and class leading up to the U.S. Civil War are set aside as "Breath easy" (terrific song!) asserts freedom as the shared dream among Irish immigrants and African American freedmen and escaped slaves. Threatened by the grassroots power of the Five Points neighborhood, NYC "Uptown" elites exploit their privilege to avoid military service, which leads to the disruption of the camaraderie of patrons at Nelly's bar. "Let it Burn" (with a phenomenal performance by Joaquina Kalukango) offers a cataclysmic climax as Nelly sees her bar and neighborhood destroyed. Out of the ashes, the people of Paradise Square renew their solidarity in a difficult time and place. Most importantly, their bond offers an example of how victimized and powerless people can create change for themselves and others.

5.0 star rating Cheryl from South Texas was visiting Chicago

GO SEE THIS OUTSTANDING MUSICAL!!!!

Saw this the day after Thanksgiving and so glad we chose to see this and not listen to some of the reviews. Bring your COVID vaccination card. My husband didn’t have his and was not let in. This show seriously blew me and my daughter away. The voices are powerful, so powerful that I literally jumped out of my chair before Let it Burn was finished to applaud, a few of us did then the whole theater followed. The dancing will captivate you the entire time! Anyone that said this musical dragged on must have a very low attention span. The story and characters are extremely interesting and not once did this musical seem slow to us. My daughter and I agreed this was one of the best musicals we have seen and we have seen many. We both agreed we would see it again and told my husband after he missed a great one!

5.0 star rating Toby Golick from New York, New York

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Saw the NY show in previews. Beautiful score and great dancing, with a first-rate cast. The account of Irish and Black politics of the time was fascinating. The audience and I loved it.

4.0 star rating Li Wright from Chicago, Illinois

THE MUSIC IS GREAT

Just came from the show and the music was lively and really told the story well. However, I didn't feel the choreography was THAT great and I know Bill Jones is the choreographer. But some of the dancing seemed to repeat itself over and over. The lead actress, Joaquina) has the perfect Broadway voice. Big and robust. The set decorations weren't spectacular, maybe so as to not overwhelm the story. At times I think they spent too much time on the runaway slave's story. It seemed to detract from the other stories. Overall, when it came to an end, everything seemed to wrap up nicely.

4.0 star rating T. Clark from Glenview, Illinois

PARADISE SQUARE HAS A LOT OF POTENTIAL

Paradise Square is a local pub where recent Irish immigrants and freeborn black Americans or freed slaves share drinks, dances, and hopes for achieving the American dream. The story was intriguingly expansive, the music and the choreography are great, the performers had excellent voices, the dancers were excellent. There was not a weak performance and the lead actor - Joaquina Kalukango has an excellent voice and her 11 o'clock number (Let It Burn) deservedly brought the house down. Her earlier number, Welcome Home was emotional and poignant. The story dwells on dance, the issues of immigration, slavery, the horrors of war, a lack of economic opportunity and equality. To me, it felt longer than the 2 1/2 performance time and the time spent on the angry soldier or the Union draft could have been reduced significantly without loss of impact. Additional editing could come from three unnecessary moments involving two women who were revealed to be lovers but I was left wondering what was their role in the story. I think Paradise Square has a lot of potential and with editing it will be a show well-worth experiencing.

4.0 star rating AP Cook from Chicago, Illinois

GREAT SHOW

I truly don't understand the bad reviews of this show. There were so many great characters, great songs, and choreography. I was never bored, and it was great to see a play that digs into part of the darker elements of U.S. history. The Riots tore apart this black community, causing thousands to flee. It provides a timely response to the ever present, but my Irish Ancestors were discriminated against too. A great story can be one that educates and entertains. This did both! My only criticism was some of the choreography. I agree that at times it was repetitive. But to see tap, ballet, Irish, African, and African American styles all on one stage? That was something.

3.0 star rating KBE from Chicago, Illinois

DISAPPOINTING SCRIPT

Unfortunately, this show was a disappointment. Although there were a few shining moments, there was little to keep us enthralled with this musical. The choreography was entertaining, although it seemed as though quite a bit of it was repetitive. There were really no weak performances; just a weak script and a lackluster set. Overall, this show needs a lot of work prior to a Broadway opening. It just doesn't emotionally involve the audience and there was a lack of focus in the script. I never felt connected to any of the characters.

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