by Dominique Morisseau
Made Possible in Part by:
by Dominique Morisseau
Co-Directed by Elise Joyner & Logan Pitts
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 are tempting him to leave, and the arrival of a seductive stranger turns everything upside down. This dynamic and musically-infused drama shines light on the challenges of building a better future on the foundation of what our predecessors have left us.
Written by Tony Award-nominated Dominique Morisseau (Ain’t Too Proud the Temptations Musical, Detroit ’67), theatergoers will be transported to Paradise Blue, running from August 26 to September 18. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 pm indoors at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester MA.
Critical Praise for Gloucester Stage’s PARADISE BLUE by Dominique Morisseau
“This play is a gem. Compelling, entertaining, and a slice of real Detroit history when the Black Bottom region was destined to disappear, and cast members earned a rousing applause for their magnificent performances.”
“Suspenseful noir and Detroit history converge in this jazz-infused drama is the fourth show of theater company’s powerful 2022 season. [GSC’s] production is beautiful, thought-provoking and ably acted by the tight cast with direction by the creative team of Elise Joyner and Logan Pitts.”
“Paradise Blue looks terrific. The set is confined to Janie Howland’s clever (and just dingy enough) facsimile of the small Paradise night club, bathed in purples and a greenish teal. Nia Safarr Banks’ costumes are colorful and attractive. Toni Sterling’s lighting heightens the script’s air of being a riddle, its invitation to us to try to figure things out.”
Meet the Creative Team
Dominique Morisseau / Playwright
Dominique Morisseau 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). Additional plays include: Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LAByrinth 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 alumna of The Public Theater Emerging Writer’s 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 most recently served as Co-Producer on the Showtime series “Shameless” (3 seasons). Additional awards include: 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 / Director
Elise is a director and stage manager based in the New York/New Jersey area. As a graduate from Kean University, she received a B.F.A. in Theatre Design and Technology. Elise’s theatre journey began in high school as a stage manager, 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 as well as a Production Assistant for A.R.T.’s revival of 1776 directed by Diane Paulus and Jeffery L. Page. Elise has been enthusiastic to contribute to Gloucester Stage’s 2022 season! As this season’s Directing Apprentice Elise has had the opportunity to Assistant Direct the first three mainstage shows of the season, and is excited to Co-Direct the fourth production! See what else she’s got going on at elisemjoyner.com
Logan Pitts / Director
Logan Pitts is an NYC-based director, performer, and collaborative artist across theater, opera, film, dance, and music. He specializes in transforming 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, many prolific venues such as Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, and most recently as Guest Director for SUNY Purchase Conservatory’s production of BARBEQUE. Logan is now proud to return to Gloucester Stage where he previously served as dramaturg for Reparations last season. 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 pandemica 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 theatre, 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), 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.
Meet the Cast
Darian Michael Garey / P-Sam
Darian Michael Garey is very excited to be making his Gloucester Stage debut. He 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 theatre and making independent movies. His credits include Tuck in Slaughter City, L.B. 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. He recently moved to Los Angeles from St. Louis and is so excited to explore one of his favorite playwrights, Dominique Morisseau with the Gloucester Stage family.
Alexandria Danielle King* / Silver
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Alexandria Danielle King is an actor, writer, educator, dancer, fight choreographer and nature enthusiast. She received her BA in Drama from Tufts University and advanced theatre training from The Moscow Arts Theatre School. She believes that performance art is a divine tool for revealing and examining the condition of the heart. Her previous credits include: Regional: The Bluest Eye (The Huntington Theatre). Off Broadway: Pipeline (WAM & The Nora Theatre), A Christmas Carol In Harlem (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Antigone (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Detroit ‘67 (New Horizon Theatre), The Girls of Summer (The Layon Gray Experience,LLC), The Revolutionists (The Nora Theatre), Broken City: Wall St. (Pop Up Theatrics), Arabian Nights (The Underground Railway Theatre), Shockheaded Peter (Company One), Splendor (Company One), Midsummer Nights’s Dream (Roxbury Repertory Theater), Black Nativity (The National Center of Afro-American Artists). Film: I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Compelling Pictures), Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart (Film Posse), Red Monster (Beyond Measure Productions), Clear History (HBO). Other: Award Wins- Eliot Norton Awards Outstanding Ensemble & Production, The Bluest Eye Award Nominations (Berkshire Theatre Critics, Eliot Norton and IRNE Awards). Website: www.AlexandriaDanielleKing.com Instagram: @DIVINELOVEHEALS
Durrell Lyons* / Blue
Durrell Lyons is a trained actor, dancer, and spoken word artist. Originally born and raised in Wichita Falls, TX. He has been seen on the stage as Oscar in The Odd Couple produced by WaterTower theatre in Dallas, TX, Feldman in Guess Who Showed Up At Dinner produced Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, GA, and Nunn in Holler If You Hear Me produced by Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre in Atlanta, Ga. His most recent screen work includes a recurring role in Tyler Perry’s The Haves and Have Nots, a guest starring role in the antebellum thriller Alice, and a co-starring role on the hit Fox series The Resident.
James Ricardo Milord* / Corn
Pipeline (Central Square Theater), A Christmas Carol (2019); Other credits include The Handmaid’s Tale (Boston Lyric Opera); The Agitators, Cyrano (Gloucester Stage); Anna Christie, Barbecue (Lyric Stage Co. of Boston); Akeelah and the Bee (Wheelock Family Theatre); Clybourne Park (Longwood Players Club); The Good Negro, Splendor, The Brothers Size Trilogy, A Clockwork Orange (Company One); Macbeth (Shakespeare Now). Film: Honest Thief (Solution Entertainment Group), Proud Mary (Screen Gems), The Brotherhood (Showtime), a handful of indies and industrial commercials. Mr. Milord continues to pursue his dreams professionally and encourages all to do the same.
Destiny Deshuan Washington / Pumpkin
Destiny is very excited to be a part of Paradise Blue at Gloucester Stage Theater. Destiny studied Theater Performance with a concentration in Musical Theater at East Stroudsburg University, where she received a BFA. Her recent credits include Lady in Brown in For Colored Girls who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, Jojo in Seussical the Musical, Ronette (Urchin) in Little Shop of Horrors and Angel in Identity with The ESU Theater department. Destiny has been a Finalist at the Kennedy Center Irene Ryans Scholarship acting competition. Destiny was also chosen within region 2 of the Kennedy Center Musical Theater Initiative Competition to study at the Open Jar Institute with director Jeff Whiting. She wants to thank her family and friends for always supporting her passions, and most importantly God for his faithfulness in her life.
Victoria Omoregie / Understudy
Victoria is an actress born and raised in Boston, right in Dorchester. She recently graduated from Boston University 22’ with BFA in Acting. A few of her favorite college credits are The Legend of Georgia McBride (JO) by Matthew Lopez, Othello (Emilia) by William Shakespeare, and In The Red and Brown Water (Shun) by Tarrel Alvin McCraney. A few of her professional theatre credits include The Bomb-Itty of Errors (Anitpholus of Ephesus) and The Winters Tale (Perdita) at Actors’ Shakespesre Project, Anthony and Cleopatra (Charmian) New York Classical Theatre and Lorena: a Tabloid Epic (Medea) at the Boston Playwrights theatre. Outside of acting, she is a lover of hip-hop, jazz, the blues, and poetry. Often these are all things that fuel her artistry, on top of growing up in an African/African-American household filled with culture. To get to know Victoria more visit her website www.victoriaomoregie.com!
Meet the Production Team
Nia Safarr Banks / Costume Designer
Nia Safarr Banks is a Costume Designer from Richmond, Virginia. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and is currently studying to receive her Master of Fine Arts at Boston University. She was nominated in 2019 for Richmond Critic Award for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for An Octoroon ( TheatreLab). Her credits include: Pipeline (Virginia Repertory Theatre), Passover (American Shakespeare Center), and The Barber of Seville (The Santa Fe Opera).
Aubrey Dube / Sound Designer
Aubrey Dube’s previous design credits include Bluest Eye (Huntington), Trayf, Good (New Rep), Vinegar Tom, Monster, Serious Money, Pentecost (PTP/NYC); Big Love, The Imaginary Invalid, In The Next Room, and Man of La Mancha (Middlebury College); A Taste of Honey (Boston Center for American Performance); Delirium, Daddy Issues, and The Hothouse (Boston University); Winter People (Boston Playwrights Theatre); Fences (The Umbrella Theatre) and Downtown Crossing, Vietgone (Company One) Aubrey holds an MFA in Sound Design from Boston University. Originally from Botswana, he now lives in Boston.
Janie Howland † / Scenic Designer
GSC shows include: Dancing at Lughnasa, Jacques Brel. Recent designs include: Polaroid Stories (Northeastern Univ.); 3 Decembers (Berkshire Opera Festival); West Side Story (Reagle Players); Greater Boston New Works Festival (Moonbox); New Works Festival (New Rep); Book Of Will (Lyric Stage). Venues include: NYCDanceAlliance, Lynn Redgrave Theatre (NY), Tennessee Williams Festival, ASP, Odyssey Opera, Weston Playhouse (VT), Umbrella Stage Co., North Shore Music Theatre, Central Square Theatre, Speakeasy Stage, Ohio Star Theatre, Company One, Stoneham Theatre, Seacoast Rep, Merrimack Rep, NJ Shakespeare Festival. 4 time Elliot Norton Award winner, 4 time IRNE Award winner; adjunct faculty at Northeastern University, Emerson and Wellesley College. StageSource Board member since 2018 and Founder of the Prop Co-Op. USA Local 829.
Kristin Kijanka / Assistant Stage Manager
Kristin Kijanka (she/her) is honored to be a GSC Stage Management Apprentice this summer! In August 2020, she graduated from the University of South Florida with a B.A. in theatre arts. Since then, she has been a remote box office associate for Marin Theatre Company, a remote directing apprentice for Unicorn Theatre, and an in-person administrative associate for Palm Beach Dramaworks. Favorite credits include Rock of Ages (ASM) at the Lake Worth Playhouse; The Wolves (SM) at the University of South Florida; Disenchanted! (SM) at mad Theatre of Tampa. She sends love to her family and to Nazbi.
Camille Monae / Intimacy Director
Camille Monae is an Actor and Intimacy Professional based in Atlanta, GA. She is a proud member of the inaugural cohort class of Intimacy Coordinators of Colors and trained under Theatrical Intimacy Education. She is a fierce advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Arts and for the promotion of safe sets and stages for people of all backgrounds and experiences. You can learn more at www.camillemonae.com
Michael O’Herron / Costume Assistant
Michael is a Boston based Costume Designer currently pursuing a BFA in Costume Design at Boston University. Michael previously worked as a costume designer for over 3 years at Laura’s Center for the Arts at the South Shore YMCA. Over that time he worked on over 8 productions, and worked directly with students from the ages of 6 to 15. Michael just recently designed Freaky Friday at the Bigfork Summer Playhouse for their 63rd season of live theatre in Bigfork, Montana. Recent assistant design credits include Passage and Shakespeare in Love at Boston University, Guys and Dolls, Mamma Mia, and The Full Monty at Bigfork Summer Playhouse, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Shakesperience Productions.
Emme Shaw / Properties Designer
Emme is thrilled to be back at GSC designing props for Paradise Blue! Recent design work at GSC includes Baskerville, and Reparations ( Broadway World award), both during our 2021 outdoor season at Windhover, 39 Steps, Native Gardens (2019), Cyrano,( 2018), and Out of the Mouths of Babes (2017). Other regional design work includes 39 Steps, Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and Miss Holmes Returns at Greater Boston Stage, and BLKS (Elliot Norton Award) at Speakeasy Stage. Emme is a classically trained actor (CMU Drama) and Prop Master at Boston College. Next up, English, at Speakeasy Stage. Thank you to Phoebe.
Marsha Smith* / Stage Manager
Marsha Smith is very excited to return to Gloucester Stage Company, though
Windhover was lovely. She has been privileged to work on so many shows here including Mr. Fullerton, Between the Sheets, Reparations, 39 Steps, Lifespan of a Fact, Cyrano, Doubt, Fences, The Flick, Spring Awakening, and 9 Circles. Marsha has worked over the years at BostonPlaywrights’ Theatre on shows like Laughs in Spanish, Franklin, Burning, and Little Black Dress. She will be returning to BPT in the winter for another new play project. Last summer Marsha had the experience of working with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company on the Boston Common for The Tempest. Marsha has an undergraduate degree from Emerson College and lives on her family’s
farm in southern New Hampshire.
Toni Sterling / Lighting Designer
Toni Sterling is a freelance lighting designer in Atlanta. This is her debut collaboration with Gloucester Stage Company. Some of her recent works in Atlanta: Wolf at the End of the Block: Theatrical Outfit, Intimate Apparel: Actor’s Express, Othello: Oglethorpe University, Feeding Beatrice: Aurora Theatre, Marie and Rosetta: True Colors Theatre, Red Speedo: Actor’s Express, The Bluest Eye: Synchronicity Theatre. A few of her favorite designs were The Nether, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Good Children, Dido and Aeneas, and Once on This Island. She loves to go wherever light takes her. www.tonisterling.com
Robert Walsh˚ / Fight Director
Gloucester Stage Company directing credits include: Grand Horizons, Think of Me Tuesday, The 39 Steps, My Station in Life, Cyrano, The Rainmaker, Bank Job Songs For A New World, The New Electric Ballroom, North Shore Fish, Fighting Over Beverley, The Widow’s Blind Date, The Primary English Class, Our Town. Gloucester Stage Company acting credits include: Gloucester Blue, Sins of the Mother, The Subject Was Roses, The Barking Sharks, Two for the Seesaw. Producing Artistic Director, American Stage Festival: Bus Stop, Intimate Exchanges, Jacques Brel…, and Lend Me a Tenor, among others. Artistic Associate: Actors’ Shakespeare Project: Richard III, As You Like It, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Coriolanus, Twelfth Night, Measure For Measure. Other productions directed include: Othello (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); Round and Round The Garden, Table Manners, K2, Later Life, Holiday Memories (Merrimack Rep); Rancho Mirage, Race, Speed-The-Plow, True West (New Repertory Theatre); The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, The Goatwoman of Corvis County (Shakespeare & Co.); Misalliance, A Life in the Theatre (Two River Theatre Co.); I Hate Hamlet (StageWest); The Little Foxes (Barter Theatre); and Of Mice and Men (Greater Boston Stage Co.), among others. Roles in recent feature films include: Black Mass, and the upcoming Fourth of July and A Playful Romance. Robert directed the on-field ceremonies for the ’99 All-Star Game at Fenway Park. He is on the faculty at Brandeis University.
Critical Praise for PARADISE BLUE by Dominique Morisseau
“It’s hard not to become absorbed in the motivations and maneuverings of the play’s fully drawn characters.”
“There’s a musicality to Dominique Morisseau’s new drama, and it’s not only because the action takes place in a jazz club.”
“The play feels very much alive … thanks to Morisseau’s prodigious gifts for language and creating small moments that register with significant emotional impact.”
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA)
ºMember of Stage Directors & Choreographers Society (SDC)
† Represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA-829 of the IATSE
PARADISE BLUE is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.