The Heartbreaking Story of Leo and Lucille Frank in Jason Robert Brown’s Parade

The Heartbreaking Story of Leo and Lucille Frank in Jason Robert Brown’s Parade

The Broadway revival of “Parade,” Jason Robert Brown’s musical about the 1915 anti-Semitic lynching of Leo Frank, has a great asset in its young cast.

Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond, playing the husband and wife duo of Leo and Lucille Frank, come across as strikingly young, with neutral stares hiding behind their clashing forces of promise and fear.

This revival focuses on the relationship between the Franks, which intensifies as they face hardship, giving the audience a reason to care about their future.

Although “Parade” is a good musical, it is hampered by Alfred Uhry’s stereotypical Southern characters and a score by Brown that is both memorable and forgettable.

The show starts and ends with a lush and loud number called “The Old Red Hills of Home,” highlighting the ongoing and unchanged stubborn Southern pride, according to the show’s estimation.

Leo moves to Marietta, Georgia, to live with Lucille, feeling out of place as a Jewish man even among Southern Jews.

Leo is arrested on suspicion of killing a teenage employee, Mary Phagan, while working as a manager at the National Pencil Co.

The authorities willfully ignore other suspects and go after Leo.

The play is let down by the hackneyed, barked dialogue of the racist-spewing lawyer Hugh Dorsey and newspaper reporter Britt Craig.

Pictures of the real historical figures projected throughout the production are unnecessary distractions.

Brown’s finest music comes during Leo’s trial, as three factory girls hauntingly harmonize their testimony, coached to lie like Abigail in “The Crucible.”

Platt’s performance during his statement, singing that his character is unemotional, awkward but innocent, is heart-wrenching.

The second act has structural issues, with moments of aimless procedural wading, but there are some sublime moments.

The production is admirably intimate, but the centerpiece of Dane Laffrey’s set, a raised wooden platform that looks like something you might find on a parade route or at an execution, is a hindrance.

The whole cast sits on stage observing the fate of Leo, which is spatially limiting.

However, Arden has directed a tender production of a musical with an anti-hate message that’s distressingly relevant.

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