PARADISE SQUARE matinee yesterday — lots of covers, no inserts or announcement
Posted by: AC126748 02:00 pm EDT 06/30/22

Joaquina Kalukango, A.J. Shively, Sidney DuPont and Gabrielle McClinton were all out of the matinee of PARADISE SQUARE yesterday. Despite that, there were no inserts in the Playbill and no pre-curtain announcement. The only notification was on the lobby board, which is shoved into a corner and was partially obscured by one of the open doors to the theater. I didn’t realize so many people were out until I happened to see the board at intermission. (I realized instantly that the woman playing Nelly, Aisha Jackson, was not Kalukango; the others I didn’t know.)

I thought Equity required at least two forms of announcement prior to a performance. Either way, it felt like they were trying to intentionally obfuscate the fact that so many principals were out.

Not sure it would make much difference though, except perhaps in the case of Kalukango. (Jackson sang the crap out of the music, but she’s not much of an actor.) This show feels like something that might be performed at a junior high assembly, boiling complex topics (racism, immigration, patriotism, class struggles) down to easily digestible soundbytes. The score is generic and forgettable, and makes no effort to reflect the period in which the show takes place. Even the Stephen Foster songs they use are orchestrated beyond recognition. Both the understudies and the regular cast members were all professional but fairly broad in their acting; a paycheck is a paycheck, sure, but it was sad to watch poor John Dossett stuck as a standard-issue villain.

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