PARADE

Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken Theater Arts Center
Anaheim, CA

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This Tony Award-winning musical is based on one of the most notorious, publicized, and hotly debated trials in US history. Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-raised Jewish factory manager in Georgia, is accused of an unthinkable crime. Exploring a case full of false testimonies and circumstantial evidence, Parade is an example of the power of musical theater to tell complex and important stories. Armed with a breathtaking score by Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years) and a powerful script by Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy), this transformational story is part murder mystery and part exploration of the endurance of love and hope against all odds.

Recommendation: Ages 13 and above. Contains adult language.

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"If it sounds depressing it’s not, especially given Chance Theater’s terrific revival, bolstered by Kari Hayter’s choreographically brilliant direction, and a central performance by the astounding Allen Everman, a doppelganger to the real-lfe Frank; Everman is hands down one of the best fits of actor to role that I have ever seen."

"Anaheim’s Chance Theater gave this show a stunning, innovative production (scenic design by Fred Kinney) on bare wooden planks in a staging involving little more than tables and chairs in constant motion. Costuming by Elizabeth Cox brought out the class disparities of a deeply racist society given to populist appeals against outsiders who besmirch our Southern womanhood. Confederate flags are prominently waving. It has become one of the great American social commentary musicals, a powerful story not just of prejudice and discrimination, but also of feminist emergence as Leo’s wife Lucille (Erica Schaeffer) rises to her husband’s defense, even as he tried to discourage her from asserting herself so visibly (typical man’s “I can handle this” pride)."

"Parade is an exceptional production, well acted and directed, and makes for a thought-provoking and memorable night of theater."

"From The Who’s Tommy to Jerry Springer: The Opera to West Side Story to Hairspray to A Chorus Line, Chance Theater’s summer musicals have established a standard of excellence unmatched in the OC. Parade, relevant in ways that might have seemed unimaginable even a year ago, carries on this esteemed tradition to unforgettable effect."

"This visually arresting, emotionally potent production is hard to shake off afterward."

"And while Chance’s production is by no means small in scale, its stripping away of theatrical window dressing proves that the show’s power lies in handling it as a chamber musical. Nothing in Hayter’s heart-wrenching staging separates us from the characters and their words and actions, and her choreography and Robyn Manion’s musical direction amplify the force of the story and songs. Their work is bolstered by Fred Kinney’s mostly bare raked wooden stage, Masako Tobaru’s subtle lighting, Ryan Brodkin’s sound design and Elizabeth Cox’s spare-looking early 20th-century costumes. Chance’s up-close handling puts our focus wholly onto the actions, emotions and vocal work of every member, top to bottom, of Hayter’s superlative 18-person cast."

"While admittedly, not a show for those who prefer that their musical entertainments promote more ‘light-hearted’ and easily-digested sentiments, for mature theater enthusiasts who yearn for thoroughly compelling, thought-provoking fare, “The Chance Theater’s ’ latest is well worth the trip."

"Parade is an exceptional production, well acted and directed, and makes for a thought-provoking and memorable night of theater."

"Emotionally resonant from start to finish, Chance Theater's admirably ambitious production of PARADE creates grandness in a smaller scale, yet its impact is still palpable."

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