The Boiler Room Theatre (BRT), Williamson County’s original and longest-running professional theatre company, follows its successful run of Steel Magnolias with Jason Robert Brown’s Tony Award Winning PARADE.
With book by Alfred Uhry (Pulitzer Prize for DRIVING MISS DAISY) and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown (THE LAST FIVE YEARS), PARADE had its world premiere at Lincoln Center Theater in 1998. It won the Tony Awards for best book and score, and the Drama Desk and New York Critics’ Circle awards for Best Musical. The show quickly built an international following for its haunting score and powerful narrative and has subsequently been produced by renowned companies around the world, including recent acclaimed productions in London and Los Angeles. Thanks to the BRT production, PARADE will finally have its Middle Tennessee premiere.
PARADE takes place in 1913 Atlanta, Georgia. After a teenaged factory employee is assaulted and murdered, Leo Frank, the young Jewish manager of the factory, is charged with the crime. By manipulating witnesses and tampering with evidence, the prosecution sets about convincing the jury that the wrongly accused Frank is guilty. Considered one of the most sensational trials of the early 20th century, the Frank case pressed every hot-button issue of the time: North vs. South, industrial vs. agrarian, etc. The musical recounts the press frenzy and public outrage surrounding the trial and conviction, including the crusade for justice amid religious intolerance, political injustice fought by Frank’s wife, Lucille. “This show holds such an important message about prejudice and stereotypes,” says director Sondra Morton. “It is an influential part of our southern history. I am honored to direct such an incredible and integral piece of work. My hope is that each audience member leaves reflecting on who they are and how they perceive others.”
Morton’s company of 17 actors, who will play the musical’s 40 roles, includes many of Middle Tennessee’s finest talent. Having recently directed the acclaimed Pippin for the BRT, Paul Cook stars as Leo Frank. Back after her tour de force portrayal of Diana in Next to Normal is Megan Murphy Chambers as his wife Lucille Frank. Also starring are Matt Baugher as Hugh Dorsey, Jordan Ravellette as Britt Craig, Josh Lowry as Frankie, Laura Crockarell as Sally and Ms. Phagan, Dominique Howse as Jim Conley, Hope Dyra as Mary Phagan, Morganne Best as Iola Stover, Paige Brouillette as Essie, Arden Guice as Monteen, Colin Carswell as Newt Lee, Piper Jones as Minnie, and rounding out the cast by playing several characters are Dan McGeachy, Dan Ziegler, Flynt Foster, and Darci Wantiez.
Jamey Green and Lauri Bright serve as PARADE’S musical director and choreographer, respectively, while Jayme Smith (stage manager), Corbin Green (set design) and Katie Delaney (costumes) make up its production team.
A unique feature of this production is the use of Jaz Dorsey, the grandson of the controversial prosecuting attorney depicted in PARADE, as its dramaturge. “Doing the dramaturgy means doing the research, and the first book one grabs these days on the subject of Leo Frank is AND THE DEAD SHALL RISE by Steve Oney. Oney’s book isn’t just about Leo Frank – it is an amazing and compelling history of Atlanta at the turn of the century, so rich in research and knowledge that one paragraph can provoke an entire day Googling the various players who keep coming on the scene. From Oney I learned that Leo’s defense attorney, Luther Rosser, was directly connected to the Dorsey clan, as his son, Luther Rosser, Jr. was married to my grandfather’s sister. Creepy. It seems that there is much that is suspect about Rosser’s defense. Can you say ‘conflict of interest’?”
Performances will be held every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evening during the run at 8 p.m. There will also be one Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on October 14 and one Thrifty Thursday show at 8 p.m. on October 18. Ticket prices are $27 for adults, $25 for seniors (age 60 and up) and students (age 13 through college with valid ID), and $21 for children ages 3 through 12. Matinee prices are $2 less respectively. All Tuesday shows are two-for-one ($27 for two tickets; no other discounts apply). Thrifty Thursdays allow guests to beat the weekend crowds and grab tickets at the bargain price of $17. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Boiler Room Theatre at 615-794-7744 or ordered online atwww.boilerroomtheatre.com.
Following Parade, A Special Revival of the Rocky Horror Show (Directed by Megan Murphy Chambers), then continuing with our 2012 season, A Year With Frog and Toad, and Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge running in repertory. Tickets can be purchase by contacting the BRT Box Office at 615-794-7744.
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The Boiler Room Theatre (BRT) is Williamson County’s first and longest-running resident professional theatre company, established in 2000, launching its inaugural season in March 2001. A 501(c)(3) non-profit Arts organization, BRT’s mission is to present intimate stagings of classic Broadway musicals, area premieres of recent off-Broadway plays and musicals, and original works by local playwrights and composers. BRT’s Youth Educational Programs (YEP!) and its partnership with performance group the ACT TOO Players have provided theatre arts instruction and performance opportunities to more than 10,000 children since its inception in 2001.