GLOUCESTER – Gloucester Stage Company (Paula Plum, Interim Artistic Director; Christopher Griffith, Managing Director) has announced the regional premiere of the critically acclaimed PARADISE BLUE by Tony Award® nominee Dominique Morisseau, with direction by the creative team of Elise Joyner and Logan Pitts. The powerful noir-inspired drama laced with jazz and intrigue will run from August 26 to September 18.
Blue, a gifted trumpeter, contemplates selling his once-vibrant jazz club in Detroit’s Blackbottom neighborhood – it’s 1949, and gentrification is banging on the door. The house band is desperate to stay, Blue’s demons tempt him to leave, and the arrival of a seductive stranger turns everything upside down. Blue must choose between escaping his demons and the human cost of leaving the only home he’s ever known. This dynamic and musically-infused drama shines a light on the challenges of building a better future on the foundation of what our predecessors have left us.
“It is significant as a theatre company that we are producing a play that narrates the struggles of a Black community in Detroit circa 1950, forced to surrender sacred space, home space, in the wave of gentrification that sill crushes Black communities today,” said, Paula Plum, Interim Artistic Director of Gloucester Stage. “It is part of our mission to elevate Black voices, and Dominique Morisseau is one of those voices. Through her, we begin to understand the trauma, heartbreak, and destruction that is the cost of gentrification and attempted eradication of Black culture. It is a gripping and shocking drama – the story of one Jazz man, Blue, torn between familial loyalty and personal dreams of greatness– that will touch the hearts of our audience, even as the story awakens a sense of outrage and awareness of racial injustice.”
Bringing the rich and multi-layered story of PARADISE BLUE to Gloucester Stage will be led by the directorial team, Elise Joyner and Logan Pitts. The cast stars Darian Michael Gary (P-Sam), Alexandria Danielle King (Silver), Durrell Lyons (Blue), Dereks Thomas (Corn), and Destiny Washington (Pumpkin). The production is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.
“There is a remarkable dichotomy that Morisseau reveals by means of this historically thriving jazz club, Paradise, sitting on the precipice of destruction. It illuminates a definitive correlation between the members of this sacred community, their relationship within it, and the troubles that haunt their very dreams– their very existence,” shared the production’s Co-Directors, Elise Joyner and Logan Pitts. “Like the club, we see the soul of these characters on the precipice of change. As musicians, lovers, and people, we witness a metamorphosis of their individuality, thus asking what must be dismantled for the sake of progress and how they respond, so tangibly in a real way, resonates deeply with us today.”
PARADISE BLUE will run from August 26 through September 18. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 pm at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester. Tickets are now on sale and available by visiting GloucesterStage.com.
The production is made possible with support from The Beauport Hospitality Group. The 2022 Season at Gloucester Stage has been made possible by the Shubert Foundation and the Applied Materials Foundation.
About the Artists:
Dominique Morisseau (Playwright) is the author of The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle), which includes the following plays: Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre), and Detroit ’67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem and NBT). Other plays include: Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LA Byrinth Theatre), Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre) and Follow Me To Nellie’s (Premiere Stages). She is also the TONY
nominated book writer on the new Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Imperial Theatre). Dominique is an alumna of The Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, Women’s Project Lab, and Lark Playwrights Workshop and has developed work at Sundance Lab, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Eugene O’Neil Playwrights Conference. She recently served as Co-Producer on the Showtime series Shameless (3 seasons). Additional awards include the Spirit of Detroit Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper Prize, TEER Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Audelco Awards, NBFT August Wilson Playwriting Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, OBIE Award (2), Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, Variety’s Women of Impact for 2017-18, and a recent MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow.
Elise Joyner (Co-Director) is a director and stage manager based in the New York/New Jersey area. As a graduate of Kean University, she received a BFA in Theatre Design and Technology. Elise’s theatre journey began as a stage manager in high school, which continued throughout her college years. In her senior year in 2019, Elise co-directed dEAD dOG pARK with Megan Tobias for KTC Second Stage. Directing became a passion for Elise, and dEAD dOG pARK was nominated for Best Direction of a Play in the 2019 BroadwayWorld NJ Awards. Since then, Elise has been the directing apprentice for Premiere Stages’ Yasmina’s Necklace and the Assistant Director for Kean Theatre Conservatory’s PARADE. Most recently, she had the opportunity to be a Production Assistant for ART’s revival of 1776, directed by Diane Paulus and Jeffery L. Page. Currently, Elise is also directing a free staged reading of WIPEOUT by Aurora de Azua at Gloucester Stage on September 6.
Logan Pitts (Co-Director) is a New York City-based director, performer, and collaborative artist across theater, opera, film, dance, and music. He specializes in facilitating creative spaces and communities as innovative conductors for change, with a keen focus on sharing Black & Queer narratives rich in nuance, adventure, and joy. Logan’s work has been featured Off-Broadway, as well as many prolific venues such as Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, and most recently as Guest Director for SUNY Purchase Conservatory’s production of BARBECUE. Logan is now proud to return to Gloucester Stage, where he previously served as dramaturg for Reparations. In 2020, Logan held the Artist-in-Residence position as Guest Director with Vassar College, pioneering new forms of virtual and hybrid theater. This experimental space reinforced his artistic voice seen in other pandemic works such as Dancing Through (The Tank/Allongé Film), Twilight LA (NYSEC), Iolanthe (NYGASP), and Noir Femme Avengers (Harlem9). Ever an advocate for the development of new theater, Logan has premiered original works such as Bran Castle (Signature Theatre), Bach & Bleach (LaMaMa), The Light Years by The Debate Society (Powerhouse Theater/NYSAF), I Am Antigone (Theater for a New City), ALICE (The Tank) and The Secret (NYNW, Theatre Row). Other favorite productions include Waxler’s On the Town, The Madison Theatre’s West Side Story, and the US national tour of The Mikado & Pirates of Penzance.
Darian Michael Garey (P-Sam), a recent transplant to Los Angeles, grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and spent most of his time playing football and basketball as a kid. While attending business school, he began performing in theater and making independent movies. His credits include Tuck in Slaughter City, LB in Boys of Winter, Ariel in The Pillowman, Man in Hills Like White Elephants, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, and Martin Luther King in Only Just a Minute.
Alexandria Danielle King* (Silver) is an actor, writer, educator, dancer, director, and nature enthusiast. Born in Chicago, she received her BA in Drama from Tufts University and advanced theater training from The Moscow Arts Theatre School, Billie Holiday Theatre, and Stella Adler BASI. She believes that performance art is a divine tool for revealing and examining the condition of the heart. Some of her previous acting credits include The Bluest Eye (The Huntington Theatre), Pipeline (Central Square Theater), The Revolutionists (The Nora Theatre), Broken City: Wall St. (Pop Up Theatrics), Arabian Nights (The Underground Railway Theatre), Antigone in Antigone (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Chelle in Detroit ’67 (New Horizon Theatre), Lorraine Hansberry in Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart (PBS American Masters). Alexandria has received award nominations from the Berkshire Theatre Critics, Elliot Norton, and IRNE Awards.
Durrell Lyons* (Blue) is a trained actor, dancer, spoken word artist, and voice-over artist. Originally born and raised in Wichita Falls, TX, his works include a supporting role in the period thriller Alice and a recurring role in Tyler Perry’s The Haves and Have Nots. He also had a guest starring role in the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez On Me and co-starred in the DC Comics series Doom Patrol.
Dereks Thomas* (Corn) is an actor/singer based in New York City and Providence, RI. He’s appeared Off-Broadway (Atlantic Theater Company), regionally (Trinity Rep, Studio Theatre, American Repertory Theater), internationally at the historic Moscow Art Theater, and on the television show PRODIGAL SON (FOX). He grew up in Maryland and is classically trained with a Master’s Degree in acting from the A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. He also holds a B.S. from The Citadel.
Destiny Washington (Pumpkin) is an experienced and versatile actress from Dallas, Texas, who has worked in film, television, and stage. Her most notable production on stage has been Queen Me, which debuted off-Broadway and was a finalist at the NYNW theater festival. As well as, Meet the New First Lady, in which she was the lead alongside Willie Taylor from Day 26/Love and Hip Hop LA. Destiny can be seen on TV’s One Fatal Attraction and starring in the upcoming films Triple D Revenge (featuring the late Mo3) and Trap Soldiers, directed by A. Muhammad.
PERFORMANCE TIMES AND LOCATIONS: All performances, unless noted, are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 pm at Gloucester Stage Company located at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester.
TICKETS ON SALE NOW: Single Ticket prices range from $15 to $54, with discounts available for seniors, military families, college students, youth under 18 years of age, EBT Cardholders, and Cape Ann residents. For detailed ticket information, visit www.gloucesterstage.com.
Season Packages start at $220 for five tickets for any mainstage performance and include early access to seating, no fees, and free ticket exchanges. Packages can be purchased or renewed by calling the Box Office at 978.281.4433 or by visiting gloucesterstage.com/subscribe.
For additional information, contact The Box Office, located at 267 East Main Street, Gloucester or call 978.281.4433 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
*Member Actors Equity Association (AEA) Union
Gloucester Stage Company is Boston’s North Shore premier professional nonprofit theater company. Presenting professional productions of intellectually stimulating and socially relevant theater since its inception, Gloucester Stage has developed a highly engaged audience eager to experience the power of live theater. (gloucesterstage.com)
GLOUCESTER STAGE COMPANY’S 2022 SEASON:
August 26 – September 18, 2022 | PARADISE BLUE
September 30 – October 23 | THE THIN PLACE `
Written by Lucas Hnath * Directed by Dee Dee Batteast
This haunting production is a part ghost story and part dissection of “truth,” which builds a never-ending loop between your head and your sixth sense and satisfies the cravings of both. This journey will make you question your assumptions about the spirit world in chilling moments of revelation. With insight and relentless curiosity, the Tony Award-nominated playwright Lucas Hnath’s play transforms the theater into an intimate séance, crafting an unnerving testament to the power of the mind, which has a mind of its own.