HARTFORD, CT, February 7, 2014 – Parade, the Tony Award-winning musical with book by Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy and Edgardo Mine) and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown (Songs for a New World and The Last 5 Years), will be staged by the Trinity College Department of Music, February 13 through February 15.
An undergraduate cast of 25 and a professional chamber orchestra is under the direction of Gerald Moshell, professor of music and director of the Musical-Theater Program at Trinity. The choreography is by Julia Strong ’94, and Micah Greene.
Parade is a work of musical theater inspired by a notorious trial a century ago in Atlanta. Leo Frank, a Jewish, Brooklyn-bred, Cornell-educated, recently married manager of a pencil factory, was wrongly accused and found guilty of murdering a 13-year-old girl in his employ. Some legal historians believe that the all-white jury was the first to convict a white man on the basis of a black man’s testimony. Frank’s death sentence was commuted by the governor. He was given a sentence of life in prison, but vigilantes, unhappy with the decision, abducted Frank and lynched him.
Anti-Semitism, the cults of Southern chivalry and the “flower of white womanhood,” memories of the Confederacy’s losses and defeat in the Civil War 50 years earlier, and a declining agrarian society’s resentment of northern industrialists are undercurrents in both the historical record and the musical.
A symposium on Saturday, February 15 at 3 p.m. that will explore the historical, racial, religious, and journalistic issues raised by the case of Leo Frank will be held in the Terrace Rooms in Mather Hall on the Trinity campus, 300 Summit Street. Admission is free. Tickets and reservations are not needed for the symposium.
Ben Brantley, chief theater critic for The New York Times, and Moshell will discuss the place Parade holds in the history of the serious American musical. Issues raised by the Leo Frank case will be discussed by Melissa Fay Greene, an award-winning journalist and author of The Temple Bombing, a book exploring Atlanta Jewry and the Civil Rights movement, and William Jelani Cobb, associate professor of history and Director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Connecticut.
How the Leo Frank case has affected the municipal psyche of Atlanta for 100 years will be discussed by Mark Silk, professor of religion and Director of the Leonard Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity and a former columnist for The Atlanta Constitution, and Trinity President James F. Jones, Jr., a native of Atlanta whose earliest recollections include hearing his grandparents speak of the Leo Frank case.
Between the symposium and the performance, a 6:30 p.m. dinner in Hamlin Hall is available for $20 per person. Reservations are required for the dinner. Please call Christine McMorris at (860) 297-2353 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parade will be performed Thursday and Friday, February 13 and 14, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 15 at 8:30 p.m. in the Austin Arts Center’s Goodwin Theater. General admission is free, but ticket reservations are strongly suggested. Please call (860) 297-2199.
Home Page Photo: Ben Brantley