Los Angeles Theater Review: PARADE (3-D Theatricals)

by Tony Frankel on June 21, 2018

in Theater-Los Angeles

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DON’T LET THIS PARADE PASS YOU BY

With no intentions of reviewing, I attended 3-D Theatricals’ astounding rendition of Parade, bookwriter Alfred Uhry and composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown’s emotionally pile-driving musical that reprises an ugly tragedy. I have been begging folks to see this Broadway-caliber outing — it closes Sunday Jun 24 — but heard this response too often: “I saw it at the Taper and didn’t like it.” Yeah, I saw it there, too, and I didn’t like it either, but I know the musical quite well, and promise you that the production, not the musical, was at fault.

The show chronicles the reflexive racism that, a century ago, doomed a suspect stranger, Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-born Jew in 1913 Atlanta, for the murder of one of his teenage factory workers, Mary Phagan. Here the bigotry is anti-Semitism, a xenophobia that ironically unites blacks and whites in a feeding frenzy. The title sardonically refers to the Memorial Day Parade that was backdrop to a civic disgrace fueled by fear, ignorance and scapegoating.

If it sounds depressing it’s not, especially given this thrilling revival — one of the best musical productions that I have seen in L.A. — bolstered by T.J. Dawson’s choreographically brilliant direction, David Lamoureux’s amazing orchestra, a jaw-dropping 47-member (!) cast, and astounding central performances by Benjamin Schrader — as a desperate omnivorous reporter — and Broadway vets Rufus Bonds, Jr., Davis Gaines, and Jeff Skowron, a doppelganger to the real-life Frank. Do not, do not, do not miss this one.

photos by Caught in the Moment Photography

Parade
3-D Theatricals
Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center
1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd in Redondo Beach
ends on June 24, 2018
for tickets, call 714.589.2770 or visit 3-D

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