Pittsburgh’s Boutique Professional Musical Theater Company
August 21–31, 2014
* Actors Equity Association Member
REVIEWS FOR PARADE
Stage review: 'Parade' digs deep into American hatred
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sharon Eberson
August 25, 2014
On bearing witness to the musical “Parade,” it’s easy to imagine playwright Alfred Uhry, a Jewish son of the South, uneasily confronted with the Confederate Memorial Day parade and its proud displays of the crisscrossed flag of Dixie.
You know the route the story is going to take, and knowing the inexorable outcome, you still can’t look away. Perhaps that’s why the creators chose to resurrect this scar on American history — the lynching of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank — as a musical, with a lush score by Jason Robert Brown. The violence inherent in the facts is implied for the stage, including the rape and murder of young Mary Phagan. The crime for which Frank is indicted happens away from our eyes, but the corruption and hatred that put Frank behind bars and led to his murder is constantly in your face, sung by conniving politicians, unscrupulous reporters and the malleable witnesses easily manipulated through hate and fear.
Pittsburgh in the Round, Isaac Crow
August 24, 2014
Sitting down to write this review of Parade, the one word I can’t get out of my head is “injustice”. As I watched this fabulous production about a man arrested and charged for a crime he did not commit in 1913, my mind couldn’t help but think about the similar events unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri. Now the cases of Leo Frank and Michael Brown aren’t exactly the same, but the general themes are there: a man is unjustly killed for committing no crime, but rather is a victim of prejudice and racism. The Front Porch Theatricals’ production of Parade is coming around at a convenient time, showing us how much (or how little) things have changed in one hundred years.
Parade tells the real story of Leo Frank (Jesse Manocherian), a factory superintendent who is charged with the assault and murder of one of his 13-year old employees, Mary Phagan (Alexandra Illescas). While Leo is innocent, the town quickly turns on him on the basis that he is Jewish. As Leo is imprisoned, his wife Lucille (Daina Michelle Griffith) works tirelessly to help his case and prove his innocence to everyone.
Review: ‘Parade’ offers a powerful tale of an American blood libel
Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, Simone Shapiro
August 28, 2014
A young girl is found dead in the factory where she worked. There are three suspects for the brutal murder: the black night watchman, the black janitor and the Jewish factory superintendent. The town seethes with hatred and prejudice, looking for a scapegoat, demanding “justice.” Blacks and whites are polarized; Jews are demonized. A case is manufactured against the Jew, a Yankee; a witness is offered a plea bargain to lie under oath.
Corrupt politicians seize on this opportunity to win votes. The media fans the flames of bigotry and sells papers with lurid journalism. A mob riots, taking the law into its own hands. An innocent Jewish man is lynched, leaving his loving wife a young widow.
“Parade” – Front Porch Theatricals at the New Hazlett Theater
The Pittsburgh Tatler, Wendy Arons
August 25, 2014
Parade tells the difficult but compelling, “ripped-from-the-headlines of 1915” story of Leo Frank, the only known Jew to fall victim to a Southern lynch mob. A native New Yorker, Frank had moved to Atlanta to become superintendent of his uncle’s pencil factory, which employed local teenaged girls at low wages. One of those girls, thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan, was found murdered in the factory’s basement on Confederate Memorial Day (an occasion marked by a celebratory parade, hence the play’s title). Suspicion quickly fell on Frank, the last person to see her alive, and the local prosecutor, eager to secure a conviction, railroaded him by coercing witnesses into giving false evidence. Frank spent two years on death row unsuccessfully appealing his case before the Georgia Governor, John Slaton, reviewed the trial and evidence and commuted his sentence to life in prison. Outraged by this turn of events, a group of twenty-eight prominent Atlanta citizens, banded together as the “Knights of Mary Phagan,” stormed the prison where Frank was being held, kidnapped him, drove him seven hours to a location outside Marietta, near Phagan’s home, and hung him from the branch of a tree.
Preview: 'Parade' sheds light on a dark slice of American history. Front Porch Theatricals stages the dark Tony-winning musical
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Staff
August 24, 2014
The seeds of "Parade" as Front Porch Theatricals' big summer one-off musical began two years ago, when company chief Leon Zionts and wife Nancy met to discuss a possible return home for director Benjamin Shaw.
After honing his craft with Disney Theatricals and projects as far-flung as "Elf the Musical" and the Tony-winning revival of "The Glass Menagerie," Mr. Shaw is a director for hire, and the Squirrel Hill native has been looking for a project that might bring him closer to his Pittsburgh family and "the fully stocked refrigerator" in his parents' home.
At that first meeting with the Zionts couple, he pitched "Parade," the best musical Tony-winner by Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry.
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Gov. Slaton/ Britt Craig
Frankie Epps/Young Soldier
Judge Roan/Old Soldier
Luther Rosser/Mr. Peavy