Metrofocus: March 31, 2022

Encore: May 13, 2022

Tonight, Joaquina Kalukango, who plays the central character, Nelly, owner of the saloon and Chilina Kennedy who plays her Irish-Catholic sister in law take us inside the tavern for a look at the politics and the plight of the play, Paradise Square.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, BROADWAY WELCOMES A NEW PRODUCTION, 'PARADISE SQUARE.'

AN ENTERTAINING AND POWERFUL LOOK BACK AT NEW YORK CITY'S PAST WITH MESSAGES THAT RESONATE TODAY.

'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M JACK FORD.

AS BROADWAY HAS RETURNED ON THE HEELS OF THE PANDEMICS, NOT ONLY HAS THE GREAT WHITE WAY WELCOMED AUDIENCES BACK, IT'S ALSO WELCOMED NEW PRODUCTIONS.

AND ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL AND ENTERTAINING OF THE NEWCOMERS IS 'PARADISE SQUARE.'

SET IN 1863 IN THE NOTORIOUS FIVE POINTS NEIGHBORHOOD OF NEW YORK CITY, THE SHOW COMBINES BREATHTAKING DANCING AND MEMORABLE SONGS FROM THE EXCEPTIONALLY TALENTED CAST, WITH COMPELLING MESSAGES THAT CONTINUE TO RESONATE DEEPLY TODAY.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK.

♪ THERE'S A SONG THAT FILLS THE AIR ♪ ♪ WHEN THE FIVE POINTS COMES TO LIFE ♪ ♪ WITH THE STRIKING SOUND OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE ♪ ♪ FIGHTING TO SURVIVE ♪ ♪ AND THE CITY'S BIGGEST SLUM ♪ ♪ ON A STREET IN DISREPAIR ♪ ♪ I BUILT A LITTLE EDEN ♪ ♪ CALLED PARADISE SQUARE ♪ ♪♪♪ AND WE'RE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME TWO OF THE STARS OF 'PARADISE SQUARE,' ACCLAIMED ACTORS JOAQUINA KALUKANGO AND CHILINA KENNEDY.

GREAT TO BE HERE.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

AS A JOURNALIST, FULL DISCLOSURE, MY WIFE AND I SAW THE SHOW A WEEK OR SO AGO, JUST THE SECOND DAY OF YOUR PREVIEWS AND IT WAS FABULOUS.

IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS WE'VE SEEN ON BROADWAY IN A LONG TIME.

AND I WAS ASTONISHED TO REALIZE IT WAS ONLY THE SECOND DAY OF PREVIEWS.

I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW HOW IMPRESSED I WAS WITH ALL THE ASPECTS OF THE PERFORMANCE.

SO, LET'S START WITH THIS, AND I THINK THAT VIEWERS ARE ALWAYS FASCINATED WHEN WE TALK WITH PERFORMERS ABOUT WHY.

YOU KNOW, WHY THIS SHOW?

AND I'LL ASK THE SAME QUESTION TO BOTH OF YOU.

YOU BOTH HAVE HAD GREAT SUCCESS ON THE STAGE, SO I ASSUME WITH THAT COMES SOME OPTIONS, SOME OPPORTUNITIES TO CHOOSE.

WHY THEN DID YOU CHOOSE TO DO THIS SHOW?

AND JOAQUINA, LET ME START WITH YOU FIRST, WHY?

I THINK INITIALLY, IT WAS THE CREATIVE TEAM, THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH EVERYONE THAT WAS ON THE BOARD, WAS A DREAM OF MINE.

THE FACT THAT THIS WAS AN ORIGINAL STORY, AN ORIGINAL NEW BROADWAY SHOW, THE FACT THAT I GET TO ORIGINATE A ROLE WAS REALLY EXCITING.

IT'S EPIC.

IT'S AN EPIC MUSICAL.

HUGE ENSEMBLE OF 40 PEOPLE, THE MUSIC IS GORGEOUS, THE STORY IS SO IMPORTANT.

THIS WAS A STORY THAT, A PART OF HISTORY THAT I NEVER KNEW ABOUT AND WAS FASCINATED THAT THIS WAS PART OF NEW YORK HISTORY AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO TELL IT TO NEW YORK CITY AND THIS AUDIENCE WAS REALLY EXCITING.

CHILINA?

I AGREE WITH ALL OF THAT.

I LOVE PLAYING OPPOSITE THIS LADY, SHE IS INCREDIBLE.

AND, YEAH, YOU KNOW, YOU DON'T SEE MUSICALS OF THIS SIZE ANYMORE, ESPECIALLY, YOU KNOW -- IT'S VERY EXPENSIVE TO PUT A MUSICAL ON STAGE, EVEN WITH FIVE PEOPLE, LET ALONE 40 PEOPLE, SO, YOU KNOW, SOMETHING OF THIS SCOPE AND THIS SIZE OF THIS KIND OF A MESSAGE, SOMETHING THAT FEELS SO IMPORTANT AND RELEVANT TODAY, YOU KNOW, THE MESSAGING OF THE SHOW IS VERY IMPORTANT.

I LOVE THIS CHARACTER.

MY CHARACTER IS ANNIE O'BRIEN, AND SHE'S A SPITE FIRE.

THAT'S AN UNDERSTATEMENT.

AND TO GO FROM, YOU KNOW, THIS IS SORT OF THE DREAM OF AN ACTOR, RIGHT, TO TRY TO STRETCH OURSELVES AS FAR AND AS WIDE AS WE CAN AND TO GO FROM PLAYING, YOU KNOW, CAROL OR MARY MAGDALENE TO ANNIE, IT'S VERY FUN.

LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT YOUR CHARACTERS.

CHILINA, YOU TALKED ABOUT ANNIE AND HER ROLE.

JUST A -- A QUICK SORT OF CAPSULIZATION, IT'S SET IN A TAVERN, A BAR, IN THE FIVE POINTS AREA, PARADISE SQUARE.

YOU ARE THE OWNER, YOU ARE THE DAUGHTER OF A FORMER ESCAPED ENSLAVED MAN, CAME TO NEW YORK AND YOU'RE THE OWNER.

YOU ARE MARRIED TO CHILINA'S CHARACTER'S BROTHER, RIGHT?

YES.

WILLIE O'BRIEN.

AND THERE'S AN EXTRAORDINARY SORT OF BOND BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU.

SO, LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THAT BOND.

WHY DOES IT EXIST AND WHY DO YOU THINK IT CARRIES AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR THE AUDIENCE HERE?

WHOEVER WANTS TO JUMP IN FIRST ON THAT ONE.

OH, THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION.

WELL, FIRST, I THINK INITIALLY IT STARTS OFF WITH, WE'RE CYST SISTERS THROUGH MARRIAGE, AND THEN, OF COURSE, IN OUR HARDSHIPS AND THE FACT THAT ANNIE AND HER HUSBAND WORK IN THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD AND DO THAT TYPE OF WORK AND NELLIE IS BRINGING THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER SO, IN A WAY, IT'S A BEAUTIFUL BOND OF THESE TWO PEOPLE THAT CARE SO DEEPLY ABOUT THEIR COMMUNITIES AND CARE ABOUT HELPING EACH OTHER, THAT I THINK BRING THESE TWO FORCES TOGETHER.

AND THEY'RE, LIKE, TWO RIDICULOUS FORCES OF NATURE, LIKE, TWO POWERFUL WOMEN THAT IMMEDIATELY UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER, THAT ARE SO OF THIS WORLD, THAT TAKE NO MESS, YOU KNOW?

THEY'RE TWO BOSSES, RIGHT?

AND I THINK THAT THERE'S SO MUCH JOY AND LOVE WITHIN THIS RELATIONSHIP BECAUSE THEY HAVE SUCH A HUNGER AND A THIRST FOR LIFE AND A DEEP CARE FOR THEIR PEOPLE AND COMMUNITY.

AND CHILINA, LET ME PREFACE THIS, YOUR THOUGHTS, ALSO, BUT IN TERMS OF THE STORY, A COMPELLING THEME OF THE STORY IS, AS IT OPENS, IS THIS EXTRAORDINARY COMMUNITY THAT HAS FORMED HERE BETWEEN BLACK AMERICANS AND IRISH IMMIGRANTS.

AND HOW THEY'RE WORKING TOGETHER, THEY'RE LIVING TOGETHER, THEY'RE LOVING TOGETHER.

AND THEN WE'LL TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS AND HOW THAT BEGINS TO FRACTURE, BUT WITH THAT AS A BACKDROP, AGAIN, YOUR VIEW ON THIS RELATIONSHIP BOND THAT YOU HAVE, ANNIE AND NELLIE.

WELL, THAT'S IT.

SHE HAS, AND BY SHE, I MEAN JOAQUINA'S CHARACTER, NELLIE, HAS PROVIDED THIS WONDERFUL PLACE WHERE WE CAN ALL SAFELY BE TOGETHER IN THE WAY THAT, YOU KNOW, WE LOVE WHO WE WANT TO LOVE AND LIVE HOW HE WANT TO LIVE, THOSE ARE LYRICS FROM THE SHOW, AND WE SHARE WILLIE, YOU KNOW?

MY BACK STORY IS THAT I CAME OVER ON THE BOAT WITH WILLIE, YOU KNOW, HOWEVER MANY YEARS AGO AND WE HAD NOTHING AND SO IN MY WORLD, NELLIE GAVE US THE START IN NEW YORK THAT WE SO DESPERATELY NEEDED, YOU KNOW, WHERE IT'S A LIVE OR DIE SITUATION.

OBVIOUSLY WE DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT QUITE AS WELL TODAY, BECAUSE WE ALL HAVE SO MUCH, BUT BACK IN THE DAYS OF, YOU KNOW, THE POTATO FAMINE, WE LIVED OFF OF NOTHING AND SO MANY PEOPLE CAME HERE ALMOST DEAD, YOU KNOW, AND SO BE ABLE TO GET A JOB AND A PLACE TO LIVE AND, YOU KNOW, A PURPOSE, I MEAN, I SORT OF FEEL LIKE NELLIE SAVED ANNIE'S LIFE.

SO, THAT IS -- THAT'S A HUGE BOND.

AND I JUST WANT TO TALK ABOUT JOY FOR A SECOND, BECAUSE A FRIEND OF MINE CAME TO SEE THE SHOW THE OTHER DAY AND SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT JOY AND HOW IMPORTANT JOY WOULD HAVE BEEN TO THESE PEOPLE AND I HADN'T EVEN REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT IT THAT WAY UNTIL SHE SAID IT, BUT OF COURSE, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU COME FROM SUCH POVERTY AND SUCH LOSS AND YOU FIND THIS NEW LIFE, YOU WANT TO DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO KEEP THAT AND TO FIND AS MUCH JOY IN YOUR LIFE AS POSSIBLE.

BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE ARE NEAR DEATH, THEY'VE GOT DISEASE, THEY'RE DEALING WITH STARVATION, ALL SORTS OF THINGS.

AND SO, WHEN YOU CAN FIND THOSE MOMENTS OF CELEBRATION AND JOY, YOU'RE GOING TO HOLD ONTO THEM, COME HELL OR HIGH WATER.

THAT'S WHY I LOVE THE, YOU KNOW, THE MOMENTS THAT WE CAN SHARE JOY TOGETHER, THE TWO OF US, OR THE WHOLE BAR, WHEN WE CAN DANCE AND CELEBRATE, WE CAN CELEBRATE OUR CULTURES AND THE MIXTURE OF OUR CULTURES COMING TOGETHER.

IT NEVER HAPPENED UNTIL THIS MOMENT, UNTIL NELLIE CREATED THE PLACE WHERE WE COULD DO IT.

IT'S INTERESTING, YOU TALK ABOUT CREATED THE PLACE, I -- I SAW IT REFERENCED TO AS THE CENTER OF GRAVITY OF THE COMMUNITY.

THE BAR.

PARADISE SQUARE.

IT WAS THE PLACE WHERE JOY COULD EXIST.

AND ONE OF THE THEMES, AND YOU BOTH MENTIONED IT HERE, IS THE SENSE OF OTHERNESS, YOU KNOW, WE HEAR THAT TERM OFTEN TODAY.

SOMETIMES WE HEAR IT SADLY AS AN INDICTMENT, AS IF OTHERNESS IS SOMETHING TO BE FEARED.

BUT I THINK ONE OF THE MESSAGES I GOT FROM THIS, AND TELL ME IF -- IF I'M RIGHT ABOUT THAT, IS -- IS THIS PLACE, PARADISE SQUARE, KIND OF CHAMPIONED OTHERNESS.

CELEBRATED OTHERNESS.

AND ALLOWED THE OTHERNESS TO BE WHAT -- WHAT BROUGHT THESE GROUPS TOGETHER -- DOES THAT MAKE SENSE, DO YOU THINK?

JOAQUINA, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

FOR SURE, FOR SURE.

I THINK -- I THINK WHAT PARADISE SQUARE DOES IS, IT PROVIDES A PLACE FOR PEOPLE TO BE THEY'RE AUTHENTIC SELVES.

AND TO FULLY CELEBRATE THAT AND TO UNDERSTAND THAT AS MUCH AS WE LIKE TO THINK THAT OUR DIFFERENCES SEPARATE US, THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT OFTEN BRING US ALL TOGETHER, AND I THINK TO CELEBRATE.

AND SO, I THINK THAT'S THE PLACE WHERE ALL OF THAT CAN LIVE IN THAT SPACE.

LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT, ALSO, CHILINA, YOU TALKED ABOUT THIS BIG CAST, AND I SAW ONE OF THE REVIEWERS USED -- NOT REVIEWERS YET, BUT SOMETHING I SAW WRITTEN ABOUT IT, TALKED ABOUT THIS KIND OF EXPLOSION, THAT IT BURSTS WITH ACTION AND MOVEMENT.

AND THAT'S AN UNDERSTATEMENT, I MEAN, THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON.

AND THE DANCING THAT TAKES PLACE HERE AND THE -- THE COMBINATION OF DANCE.

YOU HAVE THE IRISH STEP DANCE, YOU HAVE THE JUBA DANCING, YOU HAVE TAP DANCING GOING ON HERE.

SO, MY QUESTION TO YOU IS, THE TWO OF YOU, IS -- HAVE YOU EVER BEEN INVOLVED WITH ANYTHING BEFORE IN YOUR CAREER THAT HAS SO MUCH ACTIVITY AND SO MUCH GOING ON ON THE STAGE AS WE SEE IN SOME OF THESE, CHILINA, HOW ABOUT YOU?

AH, WELL, FOR ME, THE ONLY THING I CAN COMPARE IT TO SIZE-WISE IS 'THE LORD OF THE RINGS.'

I DID THAT IN 2005, THAT WAS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT SHOW, OBVIOUSLY, BUT YOU HAD, YOU KNOW, VERY DIFFERENT CONTEXT, BUT YOU HAD THE WORLD OF THE ELVES AND THE HOBBITS AND THE HUMANS, YOU KNOW, ALL COMING TOGETHER, ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT -- AND THE INTERESTING DANCING AND, YOU KNOW, STILTS AND FIRE AND ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT ELEMENTS AND CIRCUS PERFORMANCE AND A CAST OF 55 PEOPLE, WHICH WAS ALSO, YOU KNOW, AT THE TIME UNHEARD OF.

SO, THAT'S THE ONLY THING I CAN REALLY COMPARE IT TO, BUT THIS IS VERY -- THIS IS VERY DIFFERENT.

THIS IS UNIQUE.

THIS SUN LIKE ANYTHING I'VE EVER BEEN APART OF.

I'M CURIOUS HOW AS PERFORMERS, AND I WAS WATCHING, KNOWING THAT I WAS GOING TO INTERVIEW THE TWO OF YOU, I WAS WATCHING YOU CAREFULLY THROUGHOUT THIS.

YOU'RE INVOLVED IN THE DANCING SCENES.

THERE ARE SOME FANTASTIC DANCERS ON THE STAGE.

BILL T. JONES, THE CHOREOGRAPHER, YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW HOW -- TO ME, CHOREOGRAPHERS, PEOPLE WHO CAN SEE THAT, PEOPLE WHO WRITE MUSIC AND CAN CONCEIVE OF THESE ARE GENIUSES.

AND I'M LOOKING AT THIS, SAYING, HOW DOES EVERYBODY REMEMBER THEIR STEP ON THIS?

WHAT'S IT LIKE WHEN YOU'RE REHEARSING AND PREPARING FOR ALL OF THAT ACTIVITY ON THE JOAQUINA?

WE HAVE AN AMAZING SUPPORT SYSTEM.

CHLOE DAVIS, WHO IS THE DANCE CAPTAIN, AS WELL ASSOCIATE CHOREOGRAPHER OF THE SHOW, HAS REALLY DONE AN IMPECCABLE JOB OF ORGANIZING ALL OF OUR STEP DANCERS INTO, LIKE, A DROP BOX LINK THAT KIND OF JUST HELPS US REMEMBER THINGS AS WE KEEP MOVING FORWARD AND WE HAVE TWO INCREDIBLE HAMMER STEP GROUPS WHO ARE ALSO GARRETT AND JASON, WHO ARE PART OF HAMMER STEP, WHO HANDLE THE IRISH STEP DANCE.

THEY'VE BEEN IMPECCABLE IN THIS PROCESS.

I THINK IN CHICAGO, WE INITIALLY STARTED THE FIRST DAY OF REHEARSAL WITH -- LET'S DO AN INTRO TO IRISH STEP DANCE AND AN INTRO TO TAP DANCE AND BY THAT FIRST DAY, WE WERE ALL SO WINDED, LIKE, OH, GOD, THANK GOD WE DON'T HAVE TO DO THIS.

I'M WATCHING THIS -- I'M WATCHING THIS SAYING, YEAH, I'M WATCHING THIS, SAYING, JUST FROM THE ATHLETIC PERSPECTIVE, THE KIND OF SHAPE YOU ALL HAVE TO BE IN TO BE -- TO BE DOING THIS IS -- IS STAGGERING TO ME.

THEY'RE ATHLETES.

THEY'RE ATHLETES.

YEAH.

LET ME ASK, IN SOME WAYS, AGAINEN, I MENTIONED THAT THERE'S SO MANY MESSAGES THAT COME OUT OF THIS SHOW, AND YOU LOOK FOR MOMENTS, AND I WAS WONDERING IF YOU ALL THINK, TOO, THAT THE DANCING, THE COMBINATION OF THE DIFFERENT DANCES AND THE CULTURES THAT THEY SORT OF COE ELESS WITH ON THE STAGE, YOU KNOW, SEEMS -- IN A WAY, EMBLEMATIC OF THE STORY HERE, THE MESSAGES HERE, DO YOU THINK?

I MEAN, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I THINK WE -- I MEAN, WE DON'T SHINE A LINE TOO HEAVILY ON IT, BUT THE BIRTH OF TAP, FOR ME, KIND OF BRINGS THAT UP.

LIKE THE COMBINATION OF THE TRADITIONAL DANCES FROM BOTH SIDES, YOU KNOW, AND THE FACT THAT, YOU KNOW, WE ARE SO -- TAP IS SO MUCH PART OF OUR CULTURE NOW DAYS.

I DIDN'T KNOW WHERE IT CAME FROM.

SO MUCH OF THIS HISTORY I HAD NO IDEA ABOUT UNTIL I STARTED DOING THE RESEARCH AND IT'S -- IT'S BEAUTIFUL.

I MEAN, THIS IS WHAT 'PARADISE SQUARE' IS ALL ABOUT.

LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT MOMENTS IN THIS.

THERE IS A -- I MENTIONED EARLIER ON THAT IT STARTS OFF CELEBRATING THE OTHERNESS, THIS IS THE PLACE, THIS BAR IS THE HAVEN FOR ALL OF THIS, AND THEN IT -- IT BEGINS TO FRACTURE.

CHIL CHILINA, TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW AND WHY THAT'S HAPPENING.

YES, WELL, GOSH, IT'S COMPLICATED.

YOU KNOW, PART OF WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS STORY AND THIS CAST IS THAT WE DO DEAL WITH A LOT OF COMPLICATED ISSUES AND WE'RE NOT AFRAID TO TALK ABOUT THEM.

AND I THINK IT'S WONDERFUL AND WE ALL DO IT WITH GRACE AND LOVE.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT STARTS TO PULL THIS COMMUNITY APART ARE THE DRAFT RIOTS.

SO, 1863, THERE'S, OF COURSE, YOU KNOW, A DRAFT AND A LOT OF IRISHMEN WHO HAVE JUST GOTTEN TO AMERICA ARE FORCED TO FIGHT IN THE WAR.

AND THE, YOU KNOW, THE BLACK COMMUNITY, THEY WANT TO SERVE AND THEY'RE NOT ALLOWED TO, SO THAT CREATES A LOT OF TENSION BETWEEN THESE TWO COMMUNITIES, AND IT'S -- IT'S DIFFICULT.

AND YOU ALSO HAVE -- YOU INTRODUCE THE ELEMENT OF THOSE WHO COULD AFFORD, THE SORT OF SOCIOECONOMIC CRISIS, MEMBERS OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY, WHO WANTED TO FIGHT, GENERALLY WERE NOT ALLOWED TO BECAUSE AS WE KNOW, YOU KNOW, WITH THIS WHOLE GREAT TRAGEDY OF RACISM, IS JUST A FEW YEARS BEFORE THAT, THE DREAD SCOTT DECISION, THE U.S. SUPREME COURT RULED THAT BLACK PEOPLE WERE NOT THAT, THEY WERE NOT PEOPLE, THEY WERE PROPERTY.

SO, THEY WERE NOT TO BE CONSIDERED CITIZENS AND NOT ALLOWED TO FIGHT.

YOU HAD THEM WITH THAT.

YOU HAD THE IRISH IMMIGRANTS, AS YOU SAID, BEING DRAFTED, THEY JUST ARRIVED HERE.

AND THEN YOU HAD THOSE WHO COULD AFFORD IT COULD BUY THEIR WAY OUT OF THE DRAFT, EITHER PAY A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF MONEY, OR THEY COULD PURCHASE A SUBSTITUTE TO GO IN FOR THEM.

SO, I MEAN --

THEY CALLED IT THE RICH MAN'S FIGHT, POOR MAN'S WAR, THAT'S WHAT THEY CALLED IT.

YEAH.

THERE ARE A COUPLE OF GREAT LINES IN THIS WHERE YOU TALK ABOUT ALL OF THAT.

LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT A COUPLE OF MOMENTS WITHIN THAT.

JOAQUINA, YOU DO, TOWARDS THE END OF THE SECOND ACT A SONG CALLED 'LET IT BURN' AND WHEN WE WATCHED IT, IT WAS ACTUALLY RECEIVED A STANDING OVATION FOR IT.

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SHOW.

NOT AT THE END OF THE SHOW.

YOU ALL RECEIVED A STANDING OVATION AT THE END OF THE SHOW, WELL DESERVED, BUT THIS IS AS THE SHOW WAS PROGRESSING.

AND I READ THAT THAT'S NOT UNUSUAL IN THE PERFORMANCES.

SO, I HAVE TWO QUESTIONS FOR YOU.

THE FIRST IS, FOR YOU AS A PERFORMER, I -- I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW THAT MUST FEEL, IN THE MIDDLE OF A PERFORMANCE, TO HAVE AN AUDIENCE STAND UP AND DO THAT, SO, MY QUESTION IS, HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL, AND WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS ABOUT THAT SONG THAT SO MOVED THE AUDIENCE THAT YOU WOULD GET THEM -- IT GETS THEM ON THEIR FEET?

OH -- WELL, TO BE HONEST, THE WONDERFUL THING ABOUT DOING THE SHOW IS THAT THE LIGHTS KIND OF BLIND ME TO THE AUDIENCE, SO, I CAN'T SEE ANYONE, WHICH IS GREAT, BECAUSE I THINK I WOULD HAVE AN OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE IF I COULD ACTUALLY SEE PHYSICALLY PEOPLE STANDING UP, MIGHT REALLY FREAK ME OUT, TO BE HONEST, BUT I DON'T KNOW WHY -- WHAT THAT FEELING IS FOR AUDIENCE MEMBERS TO STAND UP, BUT I DO FEEL LIKE THIS SONG SPEAKS TO SO MANY THINGS, SO MANY SYSTEMS THAT WE'RE TRYING TO BURN, IT SPEAKS TO OUR ANCESTORS WHO COULDN'T SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES, IT SPEAKS TO THIS COMMUNITY WHO STAND UP IN THE FACE OF EVIL AND FEAR, THEY STAND UP AS A COMMUNITY AND COME OUTSIDE AND FACE THIS COMMUNITY, SUCH A POWERFUL MOMENT, I BELIEVE IN THE SHOW, THIS WOMAN, WHO SAYS, I'M GOING TO BE FEARLESS AND FACE THIS COMMUNITY, WHO I USED TO GIVE DRINKS TO, WHO USED TO COME IN MY BAR, THESE ARE PEOPLE I KNOW AND I'M GOING TO CALL YOU OUT BY NAME AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THAT MOMENT.

AND YEAH, AND I THINK A LOT OF IT IS DUE TO JAJASON, HE WROTE SONG, BUT IT IS A SPECIAL MOMENT.

YEAH.

THERE WERE A COUPLE OF MOMENTS, CHILINA, YOU HAVE ONE I WANT TO MENTION AND IT'S -- I'M NOT GOING TO SAY WHY THIS IS HAPPENING, BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO REVEAL ANYTHING, BUT THERE'S A SONG THAT'S CALLED 'SOMEONE TO LOVE' AND YOU BEGIN IT AND EVENTUALLY -- ANNIE AND THEN NELLIE JOINS INTO IT AND WE'VE GOT A CLIP HERE, I WANT TO SHOW AND IT'S THE TWO OF YOU TAPING THIS IN STUDIO HERE, AGAIN, THE SONG IS CALLED 'SOMEONE TO LOVE.'

LET'S TAKE A QUICK LOOK AT THIS.

♪ SOMEONE TO LOVE ♪ ♪ SOMEONE TO LOVE ♪ ♪ IT'S WHAT MOST CAN ONLY DREAM OF ♪ ♪ SO MUCH TO LOSE ♪ ♪ IN THIS TERRIBLE WORLD ♪ ♪ BUT YOU STILL HAVE SOMEONE ♪ ♪ I STILL HAVE SOMEONE ♪ ♪ SOMETHING MOST ONLY DREAM OF ♪ ♪ SOMEONE TO LOVE ♪ ♪ SOMEONE TO LOVE ♪

CHILINA, TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT -- AGAIN, I DON'T WANT TO REVEAL WHY THIS SONG, BUT TALK ABOUT AGAIN, THIS SONG AND THE BOND WE TALKED ABOUT BEFORE, THAT -- SOME PEOPLE LOOKING AT THE TWO CHARACTERS WOULD SAY, I'D BE SURPRISED THERE'S A BOND, TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE BOND HERE AND HOW THIS IS EMBLEMATIC OF IT.

WELL, I THINK, YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE MOST MOVING PARTS OF THE SHOW, FOR ME, IS THIS SONG, BECAUSE I THINK IT KIND OF DESCRIBES THE UNDERCURRENT OF THE BAR, AND IT'S REALLY ABOUT, YOU KNOW, NO MATTER WHETHER WE AGREE OR DISAGREE OR WE HAVE AN ARGUMENT OR WHATEVER THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE, WHEN YOU ARE FAMILY AND YOU ARE COMMITTED TO EACH OTHER AND YOU HAVE A BOND AND YOU LOVE EACH OTHER, THAT IS IT, YOU LOVE EACH OTHER FOR GOOD.

AND I THINK THAT THESE ARE TWO VERY LOIL WOMEN, LIKE I SAID, YOU KNOW, SHE'S BEEN APART OF MY LIFE FOR A LONG TIME AND THE MESSAGE OF THE SONG IS THAT I'M THERE FOR YOU, NO MATTER WHAT, YOU'VE GOT ME, AND I'VE GOT YOU.

AND I WANT TO MENTION ONE THING ABOUT 'LET IT BURN,' BECAUSE JOAQUINA IS SO SWEET, BUT HER PERFORMANCE BRINGS US TO OUR KNEES.

THE FIRST TIME THE CAST WITNESSED HER DOING THAT SONG, WE WERE DOING A RUN-THROUGH, WE STOPPED, WE POUNDED THE FLOOR, WE SCREAMED, WE CRIED, IT IS SOMETHING TO BEHOLD.

IT IS WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION JUST TO COME AND WATCH HER DO THAT SONG.

I WILL JOIN -- YES, I WILL JOIN IN THIS ASSESSMENT BY YOU, BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE WERE ALL DOING IN THE AUDIENCE AFTERWARDS.

IT'S A FABULOUS MOMENT.

GOT ABOUT THREE MINUTES LEFT.

AND I WANT TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS ON, I THINK, THE PERHAPS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT THEME COMING.

I ALSO WANT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT I THINK WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS THAT YOUR TWO CHARACTERS BECOME THE LEADERS HERE AND YOU'RE THE WOMEN.

YOU KNOW, WHICH, AGAIN, IS AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR PEOPLE TO LEARN HERE, THAT IN THIS TIME OF GREAT CRISIS AND STRIFE, THE EMERGENCE OF THE LEADERS ARE ANNIE AND NELLIE HERE, WHICH IS A MESSAGE WE NEED TO TAKE.

THE LAST QUESTION I WANT TO ASK YOU IS THIS, AND IT COMES FROM A LINE, JOAQUINA, THAT YOU DO IN THE VERY END, AND YOU'RE TALKING TO THE AUDIENCE AND I'M GOING TO PARAPHRASE THIS, BECAUSE I WAS SO STRUCK BY IT, I DIDN'T WRITE IT DOWN.

YOU SAY SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT OF DESCRIBING WHAT WE JUST SAW, THAT IT WAS A COMMUNITY THAT LIVED AND I'M SURE YOU'LL KNOW THE WORL WORDS BETTER THAN ME, IN A FUTURE THAT WE HAVE NOT YET ACHIEVED.

TELL ME THAT LINE AND THE MESSAGE THAT WE SHOULD ALL TAKE FROM THAT.

SURE, THE LINE IS, THERE WAS A MOMENT WHEN FOR A BRIEF MOMENT IN A SMALL NEIGHBORHOOD A GROUP OF AMERICANS LIVED IN THE FUTURE.

A FUTURE YET TO BE REALIZED.

AND I THINK WHAT THAT SPEAKS TO IS -- THIS WAS A SPECIAL TIME WHERE A COMMUNITY OF DIVERSE PEOPLE FOUND COMMONALITIES, FOUND A WAY TO LOVE EACH OTHER, TO LIVE WITH EACH OTHER, TO CELEBRATE LIFE TOGETHER BEFORE IT WAS DESTROYED, YOU KNOW, BY OTHER SOCIETIES IN THE WORLD.

AND I THINK WHAT WE CAN ALL LEARN FROM THAT IS THAT OUR DIFFERENCES ARE SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE CELEBRATED AND SOMETHING THAT WE CAN ALL KIND OF FIGURE OUT A WAY TO -- TO -- I GUESS WHAT I'M SAYING IS, OUR DIFFERENCES REALLY TRULY UNITE US MORE THAN SEPARATE US.

AND IF WE CAN GET TO A POINT TO WHERE WE CAN CELEBRATE THOSE DIFFERENCES, I THINK WE FIND SO MANY COMMONALITIES, SO MANY JOYS, SO MANY THINGS THAT WE CAN DO TOGETHER AND CAN GROW AS A COMMUNITY, BECAUSE THE TRUTH IS THAT IN THIS COMMUNITY, SOMETHING LIKE TAP DANCE, WAS CREATED FROM THESE TWO INCREDIBLE COMMUNITIES WITH THE IRISH STEP, AFRICAN JUBA DANCING.

AND WHAT ELSE CAN BE CREATED IN OUR AMERICAN SOCIETY, YOU KNOW, IF WE'RE ALL GIVEN THE CHANCE TO TRULY BE OUR AUTHENTIC SELVES AND SEE HOW WE CAN EMERGENCY THOSE THINGS TOGETHER, WHAT CAN BECOME OF AMERICA IS SOMETHING REALLY EXCITING.

IF WE COULD WALK AWAY FROM SOMETHING LIKE THIS AND YOU GET A SENSE, AND I THINK IN MANY WAYS, IT UNDERSCORES, FOR ME, AND I'M SURE FOR YOU, THE VALUE OF THEATER IS THAT IT -- WHILE WE'RE BEING MARVELOUSLY ENTERTAINED AS WE ARE WHEN YOU WATCH THIS SHOW, THERE ARE ALSO MESSAGES THAT WERE IMPORTANT IN 1863 AND CONTINUE TO BE IMPORTANT TO US TODAY.

AND MESSAGES THAT WE NEEDED TO TAKE NOTE OF AND TO REALIZE THAT THERE CAN BE THAT FUTURE, THAT THAT COMMUNITY LIVED BACK THEN, IF ONLY WE'RE WILLING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

WELL, ONCE AGAIN, THE SHOW IS 'PARADISE SQUARE.'

CHILINA KENNEDY, WHO PLAYS ANNIE AND JOAQUINA KALUKANGO, WHO PLAYS NELLIE, YOU TWO ARE FABULOUS IN THIS.

IT'S A MARVELOUS SHOW.

GOOD LUCK TO YOU AS YOU CONTINUE.

APPRECIATE IT.

LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING TO YOU DOWN THE ROAD.

TAKE CARE NOW.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

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