Art of an old-fashioned town with text reading "New York, 1863. An accidental society held the promise of what America could be. Paradise Square: A New Musical."

Paradise Square

Ethel Barrymore Theatre

243 W 47th St
New York, New York 10036

OPENING DATE
March 20, 2022
PERFORMANCE START DATE
February 22, 2022
Show Type 
Broadway
Show Genre 
Musical
Drama

New York, 1863. 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. The amalgamation between the communities took its most exuberant form with raucous dance contests on the floors of the neighborhood bars and dance halls. It is here in the Five Points where tap dancing was born. But this racial equilibrium would come to a sharp and brutal end when President Lincoln’s need to institute the first Federal Draft to support the Union Army would incite the deadly NY Draft Riots of July 1863.

In this galvanizing story of racial harmony undone by a country at war with itself, we meet the denizens of a local saloon called Paradise Square: Nelly Freeman, the indomitable Black woman who owns it; Annie O’Brien, her Irish-Catholic sister-in-law and her Black minister husband, Rev. Samuel Jacob Lewis; Owen Duignan, a conflicted newly arrived Irish immigrant; Washington Henry, a fearless freedom seeker; Frederic Tiggens, an anti-abolitionist political boss, and Milton Moore, a penniless songwriter trying to capture it all. They have conflicting notions of what it means to be an American while living through one of the most tumultuous eras in our country’s history.



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