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Undercurrents of racism

Parade is coming to Sydney

"Now, more than ever before, it feels vitally important to breathe new life into this story. A story that acts as a cautionary tale about the dangers of prejudice, fear and the misuse of power.”

A true story about an unsolved murder that divided a nation, Jason Robert Brown’s Tony Award-winning musical, Parade is coming to Sydney in May 2024, following the Broadway Revival in 2023, and a sell-out season in Melbourne.

With a book by acclaimed playwright Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) and a rousing, colourful and haunting score by Jason Robert Brown (Songs for a New World, The Last Five Years, Bridges of Madison County), Parade is a moving examination of one of the darkest episodes of America’s history.

Set in the early 20th century Atlanta, Georgia, with its legacy of slavery and the Civil War, the story follows Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-raised Jew, who is put on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan. Undercurrents of racism & bigotry, and a mistrial, result in Frank’s condemnation by a conservative community still grappling with the aftermath of the 1906 Atlanta race riots.

A sensationalist publisher fans the flames of religious paranoia, juxtaposing common antisemitic tropes with Southern Puritanical rhetoric, to demonise and scapegoat Frank. Falsification of facts and evidence, coupled together with a janitor’s false testimony, seal Frank’s fate. His only defenders are a governor who risks being politically ostracised if they follow their conscience, and his Southern Jewish wife who finds the strength and love to become his greatest champion.

Sydney-based actor Aaron Robuck will reprise the role of Leo Frank. Aaron works as Cantorial Soloist at North Shore Temple Emanuel in Sydney. His performing credits include La Luna, Dear World and Rags.

The role of Lucille Frank will be reprised by Montana Sharp, a singer, songwriter and session musician who has worked with artists such as Katie Noonan, Kate Miller-Heidke and Kate Ceberano.

“As a Jewish actor, I feel incredibly privileged to be able to be part of the important conversation that this show initiates. I see the ripples of Leo’s story, now 110 years after his death, in my own story and in the world around me – and the fact that I will be able to share this with my hometown in 2024 is something I’m incredibly grateful for,” Robuck said.

Director Mark Taylor (Next to Normal, Rent) said, “Bringing this production of Parade to Sydney in 2024 is thrilling for us as a company. Now, more than ever before, it feels vitally important to breathe new life into this story. A story that acts as a cautionary tale about the dangers of prejudice, fear and the misuse of power.”

Daring, innovative and bold, Parade offers both moral lessons and a timely reminder, as Simon Wiesenthal said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

This could not be more relevant in our world today.

Parade will be at the Seymour Centre from May 9, 2024. For more information and bookings, visit seymourcentre.com 

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