Located in the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) corridor, I attended the Geffen Playhouse presentation of playwright Dominique Morisseau’s “Paradise Blue,” which opened November 18.
Set in a 1949 jazz scene in what was then known as Detroit’s Black Bottom, the drama is centered around an intriguing period story of the effects of gentrification, Black affluence, mystery, vindication and redemption during post-World War II when Detroit and other northern cities were crowded with Blacks who migrated from the south seeking a better life.
The play is part of “The Detroit Project,” Morisseau’s acclaimed trilogy that chronicles three eras that would forever change the landscape of Detroit. The cast – Silver (Tyla Ambercrumbie), Blue (Wendell B. Franklin), P-Sam (Alani Ilongwe), Corn (John Earl Jelks) and Pumpkin (Shayna Small) – gave a stellar, bang-up performance!
The stage setting was so realistic that it was easy to drift away to that moment in time. Kudos to the production team and stage crew for seamless scene changes, superb lighting and great music selections. Where some of the dialog may have been lost in the sound settings, the performers’ dynamic animated delivery compensated.
Directed by Stori Ayers, the play runs for two hours and 15 minutes (which includes a 15- minute intermission). Performances run through December 12.
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer and author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon), two books that speak to moral conscience in times like these. Email: [email protected]