Russell James Allen '13 and Alexandra Rae Mendes '13, who play lead roles in "Parade," rehearse a scene in preparation for the production Nov. 7 through Nov. 11 in the Alice Austin Theatre. Allen plays Leo, and Mendes plays his wife, in the tale about the only Jew to be lynched in the United States. /PHOTO BY KEITH WALTERS '11
Issues of race, religion, gender and class — which continue to resonate in American society — are explored in the college's latest musical production. The Department of Theatre and Dance and Department of Music are collaborating to stage the Tony Award-winning play "Parade" today through Nov. 11 in the Alice Austin Theatre.
The musical, with the book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, tells the true and tragic story of the life and death of Leo Max Frank, the only Jew to be lynched in the United States, after he was tried and wrongfully convicted of the brutal rape and murder of a 13-year-old in 1913. The musical also recounts the touching love story of Frank and his wife, Lucille, tracing the growth of their relationship as they mature to understand its profound power, but too late.
Theatre Professor Randy Barbara Kaplan is directing the production with student assistance from Kimberly R. Olsen '14, associate director, dramaturg and co-choreographer. Olsen also has created an exhibit outside the theater to enhance the production with photographs and interactive displays that provide historical context for the musical.
Music Professor Gerard Floriano '84 is music director for the production. Louis Lohraseb '13 is serving as associate music director. Rachel Press '14 is stage managing, assisted by students Lauren Costello '15, Elizabeth MacWilliam '15 and Emily Scioli '16. Russell James Allen '13 plays Leo, and Alexandra Rae Mendes '13, plays his loyal wife, Lucille. Together they lead an ensemble of 22 student performers.
"Parade" features set design by Steven Stubblefield, associate professor and chair of the Department of Theatre; lighting and sound design by Johnnie J. Ferrell, associate professor of theatre; and costume design by Crystal Ferrell, visiting assistant professor of theatre. Professors Stubblefield and Kaplan collaborated on the complex projection sequence that accompanies the production.