‘Parade’ A Powerful Musical Still Timely After All These Years


“Parade” at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center (Photo by Caught In The Moment)

“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.
























Joan Alperin

About Joan Alperin

Joan was born in Brooklyn and spent many years working as an actress in New York City. Even though she traveled extensively, Joan couldn't imagine living anywhere else.. Well one day, she met someone at a party who regaled her with stories about living in L. A. specifically Topanga Canyon. A few weeks later she found herself on an airplane bound for Los Angeles. Joan immediately fell in love with the town and has been living here for the last twenty years and yes, she even made it to Topanga Canyon, where she now resides, surrounded by nature, deer, owls and all kinds of extraordinary alien creatures.. Joan continued acting, but for the last several years (besides reviewing plays and film) she has been writing screenplays. Joan was married to a filmmaker who created the cult classic films, (way before she knew him) Faces of Death. As a result of his huge following, they created a funny movie review show entitled Two Jews on Film, where Joan and her husband, John would review movies and rate them with bagels You can see their reviews by going to youtube.com/twojewsonfilm. Although it's now only one Jew - Joan is occasionally joined by her beautiful Pekingnese and Japanese Chin.
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