|Edition:||Late Edition (East Coast)|
|Column Name:||Failed Musicals|
|Copyright New York Times Company Apr 11, 1999|
To the Editor:I am the father of Jason Robert Brown, who composed the music and wrote the lyrics for ''Parade.'' No, I am not objective -- how could a father be? -- but I am also not deaf or unfeeling.
I saw ''Parade'' seven times during its run at Lincoln Center Theater, and three times during the workshop and reading periods. On only one occasion did I notice that the audience was unmoved, and that was during a reading in Toronto in 1997.
Mr. Marks says the score of ''Parade'' is inaccessible. This is unfounded. If he truly heard the music, he would have heard very easy-to-listen-to melodies, like ''You Don't Know the Man,'' ''Big News'' and ''All the Wasted Years.''
If he had been at Carnegie Hall on March 20, he would have seen the crowd give Jason and Daisy Prince a loud ovation for their presentation of ''All the Wasted Years.'' If Mr. Marks had stood in the lobby during the intermission or at the end of ''Parade,'' he would have heard a large majority of the audience marveling at the beauty of the story and the beauty of the music.
I could go on, but what is most significant about Mr. Marks's article is that he misses the point. Nonprofit theaters do not have the means to allow a show to build an audience; there are not enough dollars to throw into advertising and hype to pull audiences in. And there are not enough dollars to sustain houses that are less than 70 percent full during the slow winter season.
Yes, Mr. Marks has a responsibility to tell it as he sees it, but he should look at new composers and artists with a different set of eyes -- ones not of the present but of the future. He should help nurture new composers, not squash them with long sentences and heavy hands.
A father must defend someone he loves.
STUART MARK BROWN Pomona, N.Y.