A story showcasing integrity in the face of the hardships and dangers of the crowd mentality, paired with a grand musical score performed by a large ensemble and orchestra, will take place at the Tower Theater as the production of “Parade” by The Alluvion Stage Company opens on January 1st. 31.
An award-winning musical by Tony originally performed on Broadway in 1998, “Parade” tells the tragically true story of Leo Frank and his trial in 1913 which embodied the deep tensions and prejudices of his city and time. Accused of the murder of Mary Phagan, Frank, a Jewish man from New York City, becomes the target of sensationalism and discrimination within his local community in Georgia, and his ties to his wife grow stronger in an effort to cling to the truth.
Linda Nell Cooper, show director and artistic director of Alluvion, explained the story as an example of how a crowd can sidestep the truth in favor of fulfilling their preconceptions.
“It’s the story of a community coming together, and sometimes when a community comes together, it’s wrong,” Cooper said. “The story is somewhat of a tragedy, but the musical itself is almost uplifting in that it shows a man facing hardships and lying about him keeping his honor and integrity, or that his wife supports him and becomes a stronger person because he learns what integrity means.
Despite the dark subject, Cooper said this show brings a stunning score performed by a 21-piece orchestra – the largest ever to be featured in an Alluvion production – and magnificent choreography. Cooper has described the music as some of the best she has ever heard and is delighted that audiences hear the great voices of the choir fill the theater and see performers returning from past productions. The show features a 45-member cast with 17 alumni.
“It’s kind of an epic show, like ‘Ragtime’ or ‘Les Misérables’, where music sweeps across the stage, and it’s an opportunity for the audience to see and hear one of our highest standards. musicals,Cooper said. “There are faces that people haven’t seen in Liberty in maybe five or six years that they’re going to love to see and hear again.”
Liberty drama teacher Andy Geffken plays Leo Frank, a man who kept himself, he said, and struggled to fit in with his neighbors in a post-Civil War anti-Semitic South . These racial and social factors, as Geffken described it, create “a perfect storm” for this case to turn into a mob-led condemnation.
“He was an underdog, and it was almost too easy to attribute it to this guy without the facts just because they didn’t like him,” Geffken said. “’Parade’ is a little different from the productions we usually do, and I think it’s appealing to the people who come to see the shows. It’s a chance to see something that people can be really challenged by.
AUdrey Moore (’15), a professional actress, plays Leo’s wife Lucille, a woman faced with the situation of having to help defend her husband and their shared integrity in the face of a prejudicial lawsuit. The couple acquire a deeper respect for each other as the affair continues, and reconciliation occurs in their marriage.
Moore said the themes of the story are not that far removed from what society is going through today.
“A big theme of the show is sensationalism, which is very relevant today,” Moore said. “When accusations or news come out, people tend to panic and sensationalize the details and not really give people a fair trial in the social sphere, even if they do get one in the justice (system). “
With a script that includes updated information and characters relating to the case, which is still listed as unsolved, Cooper said the production of Alluvion will interpret this true story as accurately as possible and raise questions. on the truth.
“Even to this day it’s an unresolved case, so the public is left with questions about the real story and what really happened,” Cooper said. “The story can’t change because it was like that, but we have to be creative in the way we tell it. “
January 31, 1, 7, 8, 14 *, 15 – 19:30
February 1, 8, 15 ** – 2 p.m.
February 2, 9, 16 – 3 p.m.
* Talkback Performance ** ASL Interpreted Performance
To purchase tickets, visit Tickets.Liberty.edu or call (434) 582-SEAT (7328) during weekday business hours.