“Parade” opened on Broadway in 1998 and won several Tony Awards including Best Book and Best Original Score, as well as six Drama Desk Awards. The musical was co-conceived and directed by the late Harold Prince.
The music and lyrics were by one of my favorites composers, Jason Robert Brown (“The Last Five Years'”) and the book was by Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award winner Alfred Uhry (“Driving Miss Daisy”).This thrilling murder mystery is based on the true story of a Brooklyn born Jewish factory manager, Leo Frank (the wonderful Jeff Skowron) who in 1913 was accused of raping and murdering a 13-year-old employee Mary Phagan (Valerie Rose Lohman) on the day of the annual Confederate Memorial Day parade.
Even before the sensationalized courtroom trial, Leo, who was ostracized for his faith and Northern heritage, was found guilty by the media which contributed and aroused anti-Semitic tensions in Atlanta and the state of Georgia.
“Parade” is a stirring important musical that addresses issues that are still unfortunately relevant today; social injustice and bigotry.
Everyone in the cast is terrific including Davis Gaines, (“Phantom of the Opera”). He plays the prosecutor Hugh Dorsey, who because of his popularity created by the trial, later became the governor of Georgia.
Another notable performance is Chelle Denton, who plays Lucille Frank, Leo’s Jewish wife. Their storyline is the most heartfelt part of “Parade” as we watch Leo come to realize how much he needs and loves his wife.
Also worth mentioning is actor Rufus Bonds, Jr., inn the role of Jim Conley, a factory janitor and ex-convict instrumental in the conviction of Leo. Conley played the same part on Broadway and he won a 2013 Los Angeles Ovation Award as Best Featured Actor in a Musical.
Director T.J. Dawson and Estevan Valdes (who recreated Dana Solimando’s original 2013 choreography), do an amazing job with the huge cast, making this a “must see.”
The show produced by 3D Theatricals opened at The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on June 1, 2018, and is now playing at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center located at 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90278. The remaining performances are 8 p.m. Friday, June 22, 2018, Saturday, June 23, 2018 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 24, 2018, at 2 p.m.
To purchase tickets: Call 310-937-6607 or go to the website.