A wonderful 'Parade' deserves an audience
Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2003
When Broadway musicals fail, it's usually easy to figure out why. Bad
script, uninspired songs, nutty concept: The flaws are there for all to see.
Parade is different.
Playwright Alfred Urhy and composer Jason Robert Brown won Tony Awards for
their powerful 1998 musical, yet it lasted less than three months after its
Broadway opening. That's a crime, because Parade is disturbing, enlightening
and moving musical theater. It has rare depth and substance, and it should
have run much longer.
Happily, Parade lives on in regional productions, and it's now at the
Broward Stage Door in Coral Springs.
A company that usually plies its loyal, mostly older audiences with upbeat
musical revivals, Stage Door is taking a real risk in presenting this tale
of two real-life tragedies: the 1913 murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan in
Atlanta pencil factory and subsequent lynching of her wrongly accused boss,
Leo Frank, a Brooklyn Jew who became a victim of Southern anti-Semitism.
That risk pays off in director Dan Kelley's effective, heartfelt production.
Doubling as the designer of a set dominated by sepia-toned images of period
buildings, Kelley and vocal director Eric Alsford draw uniformly good work
from their large cast.
Robert Koutras is an initially off-putting Leo Frank -- intense, aloof, as
judgmental of his neighbors as they were of him -- but he evolves into a
compelling figure, a changed man who too late finds a deeper, truer love
with his courageous wife, Lucille. Vicki White is quietly riveting in that
role, and her duet with Koutras on All the Wasted Time is a gorgeous lament.
Among the company's other standouts are Shane R. Tanner as muckraking
newsman Britt Craig, Sarah Amengual as the vivacious Mary, Eddie Garcia as
Mary's young beau Frankie, Teddy Harrell Jr. as Mary's likely killer and
Ashleigh Lay, whose beautiful, anguished voice as Mrs. Phagan makes the vile
epithet she spits at Leo all the more shocking.
This Parade, offering a chance to see what Broadway audiences should never
have missed, is worth the drive.
ABOUT THE EVENT
Broward Stage Door Theatre
Musical , Theater
Broward Stage Door Theater
8036 W Sample Rd
Coral Springs, FL 33065
01/31/2003 - 03/30/2003 8 p.m. Thu-Sat; 7 p.m. Sun; 2 p.m. Wed-Thu and