The Geffen Playhouse invites you to take a seat and enjoy an evening of theater with their latest show, Paradise Blue.
Paradise Blue is set to run at Geffen Playhouse from November 9 to December 12, at the Gil Cates Theater. Stori Ayers directs the play, which debuted Off-Broadway in 2018 after a 2015 world premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival. What is Paradise Blue? The drama looks at a community facing changes in Detroit’s gentrifying Blackbottom neighborhood in 1949. It is theater in its best form. After two years without seeing a live show, settling into a seat at the Gil Cates theater, to be immersed in a passionate and dramatic telling of stories that matter made the evening all the more memorable. The cast gave moving performances, and the collective unison of sitting in an audience experiencing human emotion together made the show all the more poignant.
Paradise Blue welcomes you into the sultry, jazz-filled Paradise Club. The year? 1949. Travel back in time as the actors bring to life a by-gone era, whose story feels as relevant today as it did over fifty years ago. The cast includes Tyla Abercrumbie (The Chi, Utopia) as Silver, Wendell B. Franklin (The Good Fight, Madame Secretary) as Blue, Alani iLongwe (The Legend of Georgia McBride, Two Trains Running) as P-Sam, Tony Award nominee John Earl Jelks (Radio Golf, Sweat) as Corn, and Shayna Small (Parable of the Sower, Rags Parkland Sings Songs of the Future) as Pumpkin. The story follows Paradise Blue’s owner, Blue, as he struggles with the heart wrenching question of “should he sell his jazz joint as gentrification is banging on the door?” The house band is desperate to stay, Blue’s demons are tempting him to leave, and the arrival of an intriguing stranger turns everything upside down. The show unwraps a story that feels like it could be news today. Gentrification, a hot button topic for sure. Your heart goes out to the actors as they lose themselves in their characters. Follow the ups and downs of this band and their leader, as gentrification pushes them out of their home. A night at the theater that shouldn’t be missed.