Saturday, January 31, 2009

Our first press release!

Gallery Players to Start 'Parade' on Feb. 28

Gallery Players will present the Central Ohio premiere of the Tony Award Winning Play, Parade, from Feb. 28 through March 15. The musical chronicles the real-life 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank, who was accused of raping and murdering a 13-year-old employee, Mary Phagan. The event, which gave rise to the creation of the Anti-Defamation League, ponders the consequences of the miscarriage of justice.

"The trial aroused anti-Semitic tensions in Atlanta and throughout Georgia," said JCC Cultural Arts Director Jared Saltman. "The plot stays closely to the historical story's conclusion that the likely killer was drifter Jim Conley, a key witness against Frank at the trial. The true villains of the piece are the prosecutor Hugh Dorsey - later the governor of Georgia and then a judge - and the rabid publisher Tom Watson, who was later elected a U.S. Senator."

Saltman added that the tale also is a love story. "Frank is newly married to an Atlantan, but feels out of place. He has never blended into Southern society," he said. "However, throughout the course of the play, his wife transforms from a shy bride to a passionate advocate for her husband. When she embarks on a campaign to save her husband from execution, she surprises herself and her husband by taking on the Atlanta society in which she grew up. Once the extent of the courtroom chicanery is revealed, the governor commutes the sentence. But it's a small victory as Frank finally realizes the extent of his wife's love."

The play was written by Alfred Uhry, who also wrote "The Last Night of Ballyhoo" and "Driving Miss Daisy." 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. Jason Robert Brown wrote the music and lyrics that is rich in Americana, with gospel, ragtime, and rythm and blues. Uhry and Brown both won Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Music Score respectively. The play also won several Drama Desk Awards, and has played on Broadway, and in Australia, London, and Ireland.

In the Gallery Players' production Jon Schelb is starring as Leo Frank, with Liz Wheeler playing his wife, Lucille. Additional cast members include: Dawn Farrell, Michael Wilson, Emily Deardo, Rachel Hering, Jonathan Collura, Laron Hudson, Michelle Conison, Abby Kaselak, Drew Eberly, Jay Rittberger, Denae Rall, Sam Vestey, Jennifer Painter, Randy Benge, Joel B. Cohen, Wilma Hatton, Dani Mann, Eileen Howard, Aaron Henley, Wendy Cohen, Bill Fulk, Vera Cermeans, Quentin Schofield, and Aaron Len.

Directed by Frank Barnhart, Parade will be presented: Saturdays, Feb. 28 and March 7, 14 @ 8 p.m.
Sundays, March 1, 8, 15 @ 2:30 p.m.
Thursdays, March 5, 12 @ 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $12 for JCC members, $18 for nonmembers, $10 for senior members, $16 for senior nonmembers, $8 for children or students, and $10 per ticket for groups of 10 or more. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling (614) 231-2731 or at the door.

Contact Saltman at (614) 559-6248 for more information.

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