More PARADE Coverage – Reviews & Reactions

Lots of new news to share for the show the sings out the heart-renching story of of Leo Frank every night.  First, this wonderful trailer for the show.

We’ve gotten new reviews in that appreciate more than they denigrate and yet still feel that the extraordinary tale that’s shared in song somehow comes across as more of a solemn, stolid history lesson than a stirring, moving piece of humane story-telling. I don’t buy the critique that PARADE is overly sincere or sober. There are surprisingly edgy numbers throughout. Clearly, I’m not the only one not buying the “Leo is a cypher/The play is too serious” critique. Take a sampling of some of these students from UDC, the University of the District of Columbia (with thanks to their inspiring  theater instructor, playwright Jacqueline Lawton).

Celeste Caldwell’s Parade Review:

I was not familiar with the story of Leo Frank, until Professor Lawton told our class about it. Its historical and cultural significance made for an even more compelling reason for me to see “Parade.” The production was amazing. To be able to tell such a story interlaced with both music and humor is quite an accomplishment. I was most impressed by the professionalism and sheer talent of the cast, as actors and singers. I was also struck by the scenic design, which was well-crafted and made optimum use of onstage space. The transitions from scene to scene were efficient and seamless. What’s more, it was a thoroughly entertaining experience for me, especially the “Come Into My Office” scene! Yet, I left the theater feeling deeply affected by the potency of the depiction of racism, bigotry, and “mob mentality.” Bravo, to the Fords Theatre and Theater J. The play will forever serve as a reminder: “…lest we forget.”

Denise B. Hall’s Parade Review:

This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend the Ford’s Theatre/Theater J production of “Parade.” The play is based on a true story of what I believe is a double tragedy. The first tragedy was that of Mary Phagan, a 13 year old girl, who was found murdered in a pencil factory where she worked. The second tragedy was the lynching of Leo Frank, a Jewish man who managed the factory who was accused of her murder. The production of this powerful story is truly a must see performance! The cast knocked the ball out of the park with their acting, singing, and dancing! They were fully committed to their roles and performed with such high energy! I enjoyed everything, including the costumes, lights and set! Each of these production elements enhanced the story perfectly! For me, even though I knew what was going to happen, because I knew the history, I found it to be a jaw dropping, lean forward to the edge of your seat performance. Get your tickets!

And from James Page’s Parade Review: 

I had the pleasure of seeing Parade at Ford’s Theater a couple weeks ago. I thought it was an amazing production. I liked how the actors performed the songs and dances. They made this important story and each of the characters come to life in a meaningful way. As a directing student, I learned how to present a play, share a story, move through time and change locations though the use lights, stage location, sound and costumes. Watching the actor who played three different roles was exciting! It was impressive to see him portray each character differently through attitude, movement, gestures, and tone of voice. It was really creative. Everyone did such a great job. I definitely want to see Parade again and encourage anybody who has not seen it to do so. It is well worth it.

Meanwhile, here’s the lead on Lisa Traiger’s review in The Washington Jewish Week:
‘Parade’ – informative, not captivating
So lots of appreciation, but not fully…
A similar rough-love treatment from Trey Graham in The Washington City Paper:
And here’s a lousy header for a great show: “Why is this lynching drama so boring?”

Would love to read other reactions to these kind of snide dismissives. They don’t quite compute. PARADE ain’t boring. How to respond emotionally to a lynching? That’s a legit question. But dull? What am I missing?

Audience to the rescue!