UCI Drama Presents the Powerful Musical PARADE

UCI Drama Presents the Powerful Musical PARADE

A Deeply Moving Piece Which Highlights Issues of Civil Rights                                                                           

IRVINE, Calif. (October 4, 2016) – UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts Department of Drama returns to the Irvine Barclay Theatre for the second offering in its 2016 – 2017 season, multiple award-winning musical Parade. With a book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, Parade tells the heart-wrenching, true story of Leo Frank: a Brooklyn-raised Jewish man living in Atlanta who was convicted of the rape and murder of his thirteen-year-old employee, Mary Phagan, in 1913; he was subsequently cleared of the charges, but later lynched by vigilantes. The soaring original score was the recipient of a Tony Award, and the original Broadway production received the 1999 Drama Desk Award for Best Musical. The show opens Saturday, November 12th with matinee and evening performances through Sunday, November 20, 2016

Parade is directed by Professor Myrona DeLaney, choreographed by Professor Andrew Palermo, and conducted and musically directed by Drama Chair Daniel Gary Busby. As the first of two musicals that represent the season’s theme of THEM! – which examines xenophobia and the human tendency to point fingers at “the other” – this is an emotionally complex narrative that sits at the crux of north/south, black/white, rich/poor, Jew/gentile polarities, set against the evolving backdrop of the Civil (rights) War.

When asked what opportunities are presented to her by directing this layered story, Professor DeLaney said she sees it mostly as an opportunity to open communication and conversation in areas where it’s most needed, by presenting the 1913 story in such a way that each character has a voice, and none is reduced to a caricature. “We have to tell this story so that a 21st century audience connects to it in a personal way,” DeLaney says. “I don’t want to pass judgment on the individuals in the story, but to examine the context in which this dangerous group-think developed, and to examine the faults of our system that allowed these events to happen.”

Senior BFA Candidate Jacob Ben-Shmuel plays Leo Frank, and is excited to be working on a show that is both artistically transcendent and politically germane. “Jason Robert Brown has a way of making messy, difficult stories absolutely beautiful, and in doing so he doesn’t clean away any of the mess,” says Ben-Shmuel. “This show has the potential to be stunning, heart-breaking, joyous, difficult, beautiful, thought-provoking and impactful, and I hope that anyone coming to see it will open themselves to its inherent messiness. And honestly, the music alone is worth the price of admission!”

Performances and Ticket Information
Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, CA 92612
Evenings: November 12, 17, 18, 19 @ 8 p.m.
Evening: November 16 @ 7:30 p.m.
Matinees: November 13, 19, 20 @ 2 p.m.
General Admission $22 / Seniors & Groups 10+ $20 / UCI Students & Children under 17 $12. Box Office (949) 824-2787 or www.arts.uci.edu/tickets.

The UCI Drama production team will host a post-performance TalkBack on November 13 after the 2 p.m. matinee with the creative team and cast.

UCI Drama presents seven diverse and stimulating productions in the 2016 – 2017 season thematically entitled THEM!: The Iliad, Parade, Our Class, Coriolanus, Clown Aliens, I Dream of Chang and Eng, and Avenue Q. The productions concentrate on presenting the thoughtful journeys of these characters through the character’s voices and experiences.