Paradise Blue is playing at the Signature Theatre located at 480 West 42nd Street. It runs two hours fifteen minutes with one intermission. The play closes on June 10, 2018.
Ruben Santiago-Hudson is the director. He won a Tony Award in 1996 for Seven Guitars.
The World Premiere was at the Williamstown Theater Festival in 2015.
The play takes place in Detroit, Michigan in a small Black Community formerly known as Blackbottom, on the downtown strip known as Paradise Valley. The place is Paradise Club 1949.
Blue (J. Alphonse Nicholson) is playing his trumpet. When he hit the notes he wants his face lights up. We hear a gun shot.
Pumpkin (Kristoyln Lloyd) is Blue’s girlfriend; she is cleaning the club at the same time reciting poems she has read. Pumpkin helps serve food and tend to the members in the band.
Blue is talking to the members of his band. Corn (Keith Randolph Smith)is the piano player and P. Sam (Francois Battiste) is the drummer. Another member has left the group because he wanted to get paid before the gig not after.
Pumpkin serves Corn and P. Sam coffee, no charge. Blue wants to charge them a nickel. P. Sam complains. Blue tells him I give you a room above the club and don’t charge you. Not only does he own the club but he rents room above the club.
The men talk about the rumors that the area buildings are being bought up so it can be torn down. Blue denies selling the club he inherited from his father.
Blue and Pumpkin are in love. He wants her to sing with the band on Sunday. But she’s not comfortable with that. There is a hidden tension between them. We learn about it later.
Silver (Simone Missick) comes into the club asking Blue if he wants to sell her the club. When he refuses she asks if she can rent a room upstairs. He tells her its five dollars a week including food.
Pumpkin goes to clean Silver’s room. She goes thru her drawers and tries on her sexy bra. She becomes a different woman then one we have seen. When she puts it back she finds a gun. She puts it back scared.
As the play goes on we learn more about Blue, Pumpkin and Sliver.
This is an emotional play that will have a deep impact on you. It is a must see show.
Ruben Santiago-Hudson did an outstanding job directing. He has brought out the best in the whole cast.
Neil Patel set is banner. All around the theatre is club posters of black entertainers of the day, like Billy Holliday. To the right of the bar is a picture of Joe Louis. All the way to the left is Silvers room.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Pictures by Annazor.
To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to photos. Click on photos for this and other shows.