Parade is a musical with a book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1998 and won Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Original Score, the show has had a U. S. national tour and numerous professional and amateur productions in both the U. S. and abroad. The musical dramatizes the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank, the trial, sensationalized by the media, aroused antisemitic tensions in Atlanta and the U. S. state of Georgia. When Franks death sentence was commuted to life in prison by the departing Governor of Georgia, John M. Frank was taken to Phagans hometown of Marietta, Georgia, and he was hanged from an oak tree. The events surrounding the investigation and trial led to two groups emerging, the revival of the defunct KKK and the birth of the Jewish Civil Rights organization, Harold Prince turned to Brown to write the score after Stephen Sondheim turned the project down. Princes daughter, Daisy, had brought Brown to her fathers attention, Uhry, who grew up in Atlanta, had personal knowledge of the Frank story, as his great-uncle owned the pencil factory run by Leo Frank. In dramatizing the story, Prince and Uhry have emphasized the relationship between Leo and his wife Lucille. Their relationship shifts from cold to warm in songs like Leo at Work/What am I Waiting For and you Dont Know This Man, Do it Alone, and All the Wasted Time. The poignancy of the couple, who fall in love in the midst of adversity, is the core of the work and it makes the tragic outcome - the miscarriage of justice - even more disturbing. The show was Browns first Broadway production and his music, according to critic Charles Isherwood, has subtle and appealing melodies that draw on a variety of influences, from pop-rock to folk to rhythm and blues and gospel. The true villains of the piece are portrayed as the ambitious and corrupt prosecutor Hugh Dorsey, the musical opens in Marietta, Georgia, in the time of the American Civil War. The sounds of drums herald the appearance of a young Confederate soldier, the years pass and suddenly it is 1913. The young soldier has become an old one-legged veteran who is preparing to march in the annual Confederate Memorial Day parade. As the Parade begins, Leo Frank, a Yankee Jew from Brooklyn, NYC, is uncomfortable in the town in which he works and lives, feeling out of place due to his Judaism. His discomfort is present even in his relationship with his wife, Lucille, meanwhile, two local teens, Frankie Epps and Mary Phagan, ride a trolley car and flirt. Frankie wants Mary to go to the show with him. Mary leaves to collect her pay from the factory managed by Frank. While Frank is at work, Lucille bemoans the state of their marriage and she reflects on her unfulfilled life and wonders whether or not Leo was the right match for her
Broadway Playbill cover
The first day of the trial. Spectators were racially segregated. The stenographer can be seen next to Newt Lee, who is being questioned by prosecutor Hugh Dorsey.