See it if 1949 black Detroit jazz club. Players try to save the club despite its owner’s mental illness. Deep characters & relationships. Good music.
Don't see it if You are looking for a lighter or happier story. You aren’t interested in issues of gentrification, mental illness, and female empowerment.
See it if you're a fan of the playwright, curious about Detroit's jazz clubs & ambitions of black people in late 40's with great character profiles
Don't see it if you have no interest in Detroit or African-American history, don't like jazz, uninterested in sharp, authentic performances
See it if features aching blues music, characters speak in/move to blues rhythm, beautiful poetic script
Don't see it if characters stereotypes: siren, doormat, tormented soul; static production; weak actor playing central Blue role, minor characters steal show Read more
See it if Morisseau's saga in post-WWII black Detroit is a jazz fugue rifting as a drama Expert stage craft by Santiago-Hudson covers overt melodrama
Don't see it if Plot covers too many themes & all seem to get short changed Nicholson's Blue gives us the rage sans tragedy but Smith steals drama as Corn
See it if you enjoy shows about the African-American experience, or are looking to complete Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit trilogy.
Don't see it if you don’t enjoy shows about struggling, working-class folks, or live gunshots on stage bother you.
See it if you have never seen a play by Morisseau. She is one of the best of our up-and-coming writers. Acting, directing are both superb.
Don't see it if you are not interested in jazz or the plight of African-Americans in the late 1940's.
See it if you love terrific acting.Keith Randolph Smith is a delight.Play has a weak ending but a terrific first 7/8ths!Ending makes no real sense.
Don't see it if you hate serious plays about African Americans.With strong hints of August Wilson,the play explores the loss of black communities.
See it if Top notch acting is the premiere reason you love theatre ! You enjoy realistic plays that grab you from the first moment & don’t let go !
Don't see it if You are looking for light drama that washes over you and demands nothing from you. A “happily ever after” play is your thing.
"Oddly in a play that features so much talk of jazz and poetry, the real estate story is the most compelling aspect...So overplays its genre tropes that the characters feel like incoherent afterthoughts. Especially in the second act, as the plot tries to wind itself into a climax, they stop making sense...The performances are hot and compelling in the way a five-alarm fire is, making you want to keep watching but also keep your distance...Feels like a work that merits deeper and longer reconsideration."
"If Blue comes off as a bit of a cipher, it's because his decline is a metaphor for what happened to the Motor City's famed African-American enclave Black Bottom...The supporting characters in his orbit have much richer melodies...Their poetic interactions...fuel the drama, which is heavy on atmosphere and emotion and light on action...'Paradise Blue' has overlong riffs and isn't as satisfying as 'Skeleton Crew.' Yet its haunting themes are liable to get stuck in your head."
“One of those plays that feels powerful when you witness it, and starts to spur more and more questions of character and logic the farther you get from it...The actors throw themselves wholeheartedly into climactic moments, doing solid, emotionally connected work even when Morisseau’s script moves toward the neatness and sentiment of melodrama...Morisseau seems to give in to noir logic...I prefer the moments when, outside of archetype, I can see the play’s characters clearly.”
"The thin storyline takes a back seat to the rich language on display; like many a jazz composition, 'Paradise Blue' doesn't cohere very well, but there are some dazzling solos...The play feels very much alive anyway, thanks to Morisseau's prodigious gifts for language and creating small moments that register with significant emotional impact...'Paradise Blue' may be an imperfect play, but it's receiving a nearly perfect production."
"The play restricts itself to being an atmospheric but insubstantial slice of dramatic life. In this staging, Kristolyn Lloyd gives a lovely, self-effacing performance as Pumpkin...In lieu of a plot, Morisseau presents us with a cast of full-bodied characters...The characters are a few players short of the swinging band this play needs. But under the confident direction of Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the thesps have a good handle on their characters."
“Feels less like an improvisatory jazz number than a tightly structured opera...Blue is less interesting as a character than as a thematic totem...If the rest of the characters feel more deeply characterized, that may lie less in Morisseau's writing— than in the very fine actors who bring these ciphers to vivid life...Visual and aural imagination helps Morisseau's flawed but worthy drama sing even when we sometimes find ourselves too conscious of the notes she's trying to hit."
"Firmly establishes Morisseau as one of the most exciting voices to be heard at New York theatres...If the presentation of a gifted but troubled male artist and the nice, nurturing woman who loves him seems bit familiar, it's not a flaw in the proceedings. Morisseau's beautifully stylized piece embraces this, and other character depictions, as antiquated classics and hints at the changes ahead for urban African-Americans and in relationships between men and women."
"Santiago-Hudson has assembled a cast that can handle the richly colloquial dialogue while holding back their characters' intentions with the flair of professional poker players. Nicholson captures Blue's controlling ways while also laying bare the fears that are eating him alive; his careful handling of the character's extreme contradictions makes him a talent to watch...Morisseau is one of the most engaging, enlightening talents to emerge in years, and this play continues her run of successes."