Stage Capsule Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theater

Parade This rich, darkly atmospheric, poignant musical is one of the finest Broadway creations -- undeniably, one of Masquerade Theatre's capstone productions. The story's a boiling maelstrom of community prejudice, legal corruption, religious bigotry and the worst kind of yellow journalism, which leads to the railroading and ultimate destruction of an innocent man, all rendered more incomprehensible and horrible by its being true. Based upon the infamous 1913 Atlanta trial and subsequent lynching of Jewish Leo Frank (Luther Chakurian) for the murder of "little Mary Phagan," a poor young girl employed in the pencil factory where Frank was manager, the musical, by Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry, ironically, tragically contrasts Frank's downward public spiral with the emotional deepening of his marriage. In heart-wrenching counterpart to all the brutal ugliness, he and wife Lucille (Kristina Sullivan) become a true loving couple the more they're forced apart. Sumptuously produced and elegantly directed by Phillip Duggins; abetted by ravishing costumes by Stephanie Bradow and Beth Hempen, deft choreography by Kristin Warren and sweeping musicality from conductor Paula Smith; and superbly sung and acted by the entire gigantic cast, this shattering, powerful modern work gives the lie to the death of the Broadway musical. If anything, through Masquerade's thrilling and intelligent rendition, Parade is its resurrection. Through March 4. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby, 713-861-7045.

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