Two theatre heavyweights in collaboration with a promising newcomer bring the new musical Parade to Broadway this season. Parade is set to start previews Nov. 12 for an opening Dec. 17 and a 10 1/2 week run through Feb. 28, 1999 at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre -- though that run may be extended.
Brent Carver (a Tony winner for Kiss of the Spider Woman ) and cabaret songstress Carolee Carmello (Hello Again ) star in the musical, as Leo and Lucille Selig Frank. Also featured in the cast of 35 are J.B. Adams as Rosser; Ray Aranha as Newt Lee; Rufus Bonds, Jr. as Jim Conley; Don Chastain (Floyd Collins ) as Judge Roan; Jeff Edgerton as Fiddlin' John; John Hickok as Governor Slaton; Herndon Lackey (Kiss of the Spider Woman ) as Hugh Dorsey; Jessica Molaskey (Dream ) as Mrs. Phagan; Kirk McDonald (Violet ) as Frankie Epps; Evan Pappas (My Favorite Year ) as Britt Craig; Christy Carlson Romano as Mary Phagen; and John Leslie Wolfe (Passion ) as Tom Watson.
Others in the Parade company include Adinah Alexander, Diana Brownstone, Duane Boutte, Thursday Farrar, Will Gartshore, Abbi Hutcherson, Tad Ingram, Emily Klein, Angela Lockett, Megan McGinnis, J.C. Montgomery, Brooke Sunny Moriber, Randy Redd, Joel Robertson, Peter Samuel, Robin Skye, Don Stephenson, Bill Szobody, Anne Torsiglieri, Melanie Vaughan and Wysandra Woolsey.
Patricia Birch, who worked with Hal Prince on Candide and A Little Night Music, choreographs. Designing the show are Judith Dolan (costumes), Riccardo Hernandez (sets) and Howell Binkley (lighting). Librettist Uhry won the 1997 Best Play Tony for his The Last Night of Ballyhoo and the Pulitzer Prize and Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy.
The real-life Leo Frank case occurred in 1913, when a night watchman discovered the body of a 13-year-old factory girl who had been raped and strangled. Leo Frank, a worker at the Georgia factory, was arrested and convicted of the crime, mostly based on questionable testimony by an illiterate sweeper, and prevailing anti-Semitic feelings in the community. Though the Georgia governor commuted Frank's death sentence (in the process ruining his political career), an armed mob pulled Frank from his prison cell and hung him, amidst much celebration, from an oak tree.
Uhry told Playbill magazine writer Jerry Tallmer his interest in the story went beyond simply recounting the tragic plot. "First the love story. Leo Frank had been married only a couple of years to an Atlanta girl named Lucille Selig. I think it was sort of an arranged marriage, but now they fell in love, she became his voice, led a big crusade to save him, got the Governor to review the case. She never left Atlanta, never remarried, never changed her name, lived out her life as what they called a vendeuse at a local dress store; and when I was a little boy, she was one of my grandmother's old-lady friends." Tallmer points out that same grandmother would later reach the stage as Uhry's "Miss Daisy."
Tickets to Parade are on sale at (212) 239-6200.