Reviewed by Paula Citron
Studio 180/Acting Up Stage Company
Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Book by Alfred Uhry
Conducted Paul Sportelli
Directed by Joel Greenberg
Performed by Michael Therriault, Tracy Michailidis, Daren A. Herbert, Jeff Irving, Mark McGrinder, Jay Turvey, Mark Uhre and Jessica Greenberg
Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs,
Dec. 30, 2010 to Jan. 22, 2011
The operatic musical Parade has been a succès d’estime since its Toronto workshop and Broadway run in 1998. The subject is bleak – the 1913 rape and murder of child labourer Mary Phagan, and the subsequent trial and lynching of factory manager, the New York Jew, Leo Frank.
The Parade currently playing in town is a 2007 version converted into an ensemble show by the authors for London’s prestigious Donmar Warehouse. The cast has been reduced to 15 singing actors who play many parts, which makes for a much tighter production.
Despite the second act, which I always thought was problematic, this production of Parade is absolutely compelling, courtesy director Joel Greenberg and his creative team.
As played by Michael Therriault, Leo Frank is not completely a sympathetic character, which adds to the interest. Among the strong acting company, Daren A. Herbert is sensational as Newt Lee and Jim Conley.
Parade is thinking people’s theatre, and continues at Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs until Jan. 22.