Archive for the ‘Leo Frank’ Category

The week ahead in LA theater, Aug. 13-20: ‘Hamilton,’ ‘Henry IV, Part 1’ and more – Los Angeles Times

THEATER

Capsule reviews are by Philip Brandes (P.B.), Charles McNulty (C.M.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.).

Mighty Morphin Midsummer Nights Dream The Actors Gang presents a kid-friendly take on Shakespeares fantasy tale. Media Park, adjacent to The Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. Sun., Sat., next Sun., 11 a.m.; ends Aug. 27. Free. (310) 838-4264.

A Soldiers Play Charles Fullers drama about the murder of a sergeant in an all-black company at an Army base in 1944 Louisiana. Loft Ensemble Theater, 13442 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 17. $20. (818) 616-3150.

Sonata 1962 Staged reading of a new musical about a woman coping with her musically inclined daughters mental illness. Celebration Theatre @ The Lex, 6760 Lexington Ave, Hollywood. Tue., 7:30 p.m. Free; donations accepted. (323) 957-1884.

Hamilton National touring production of Lin-Manuel Mirandas Tony-winning smash-hit musical about the fiscally-savvy Founding Father; for ages 12 and up; children under 5 not admitted. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 7 p.m.; ends Dec. 30 (also at Segerstrom Center, May). $85-$750. (800) 982-2787.

Martha Limited return engagement of Ellen Melavers bio drama about modern-dance maven Martha Graham; Christina Carlisi stars. The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Wed., 8 p.m.; also Sept. 30. $25. (818) 687-8559.

MagicMania Illusionist Albie Selznick (Smoke and Mirrors) hosts this festival featuring over two dozen top magicians and variety acts. The Colony Theatre, 555 N. 3rd St., Burbank. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun. 3 p.m.; ends Aug. 20. $35; passes, $70, $110. (866) 811-4111.

Shine Storytellers and musicians share tales about how music changed their lives. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Thu., 7 p.m. $12; discounts available. (310) 452-2321.

Welcome to the White Room West Coast premiere of Trish Harnetiauxs fantastical drama about three characters who find themselves in a mysterious room. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Sept. 16. $20, $25. (323) 856-8611.

Monty Pythons Spamalot 3-D Theatricals stages this hit musical comedy based on the British troupes 1975 Arthurian romp Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Aug. 27. $40-$85. (562) 467-8818.

Sideways Fences A young Mexican American couple faces the gentrification of their Boyle Heights neighborhood and other issues in Oscar Arguellos drama. Casa 0101 Theater, 2102 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Sept. 10. $15-$20. (323) 263-7684.

Blackbird A young woman encounters the middle-aged man who sexually abused her when she was 12 in David Harrowers Olivier Award-winning drama. Grove Theatre Center, 1100 W. Clark Ave., Burbank. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Sept. 17. $20. (571) 232-8894.

Excess Baggage Ventriloquist Jay Johnson performs his new solo show. The Group Rep, Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m. $50. (818) 763-5990.

The Face, Behind the Face, Behind the Face Writer-performer Anthony Gruppuso sings show tunes, standards and more in this tale about the life of an entertainer. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Aug. 20. $20-$30. (323) 851-7977.

Henry IV, Part 1 Intimate production of Shakespeares historical drama about Henry Bolingbroke, his wayward son Hal, the scoundrel Falstaff, et al., features onstage seating. Garden Grove Festival Amphitheatre, 12762 Main St., Garden Grove. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 26. $25, $40. (714) 590-1575.

Levi Kreis: Broadway at the Keys The Tony winner (Million Dollar Quartet) accompanies himself on the piano to perform favorite show tunes. Los Angeles LGBT Centers Renberg Theatre, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m. $25. (323) 860-7300.

Once Upon a Song Broadways Teri Bibb shares show tunes, stories and more. Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St. Ventura. Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Aug. 20. $55. (805) 667-2900.

Puss in Boots Family-friendly musical based on the classic fairytale. Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 N. Orange St., Glendale. Sat., 11 a.m.; ends Nov. 11. $12.50, $20. (818) 244-8481.

A Night With Janis Joplin Kelly McIntyre portrays the 1960s rock legend in this tune-filled bio-musical. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Next Sun., 5:30 p.m.; ends Sept. 10. $60-$105. (949) 497-2787.

Stop-Motion Staged reading of Liz Kerins drama about a reclusive animator contending with her tragic past. Will Geers Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga. Next Sun., 11 a.m. Free. (310) 455-3723.

The Cake With understanding, respect and compassion for opposing points of view, This is Us writer/co-producer Bekah Brunstetters impeccably staged new dramedy explores the human repercussions when that quintessential symbol of union and hope the wedding cake becomes a flashpoint in the culture war over marriage equality. (P.B.) Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Ends Sun., 4 p.m. $34. (310) 307-3753.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Simon Stephens Tony-winning adaptation of Mark Haddons bestselling novel presents the world of Christopher Boone as this young accidental detective uniquely experiences it. Marianne Elliotts acclaimed staging continues to impress with the way it dynamically theatricalizes the relationship this 15-year-old, whose condition is unnamed but has many of the hallmarks of Aspergers syndrome, has with the world. (C.M.) Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 10. $25-$130. (213) 972-4400.

Parade A mans religion and origin mark him for scapegoating when the public needs an outlet for its collective frustration. Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown base this stunner of a musical on the 1913 trial of Leo Frank, a Jewish Northerner indicted for the murder of a 13-year-old girl at the factory he supervised in Atlanta. Director Kari Hayter and a committed cast deliver a fluid, coiled production that shakes the audience to its core. (D.H.M.) Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Ends Sun., 3 p.m. $40, $45; discounts available. (888) 455-4212.

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The week ahead in LA theater, Aug. 13-20: ‘Hamilton,’ ‘Henry IV, Part 1’ and more – Los Angeles Times

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August 13, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

The week ahead in LA theater, Aug. 6-13: ‘Hamlet,’ ‘Marlene’ and more – Los Angeles Times

THEATER

Capsule reviews are by Charles McNulty (C.M.), Philip Brandes (P.B.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.). Compiled by Matt Cooper.

Journey of the Monkey King Taiwans Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe makes its U.S. debut with this ancient Chinese folktale; Taiwans Lei Dance Theatre the Irvine-based Sun Musical Concert Choir also perform. Pasadena Civic Auditorium, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena. Sun., 7 p.m. $39 and up. (800) 653-8000.

Kill Local World premiere of Mat Smarts dark comedy about about a woman and her two daughters who work as professional assassins. La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Sun., 7 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Aug. 27. $35 and up. (858) 550-1010.

Marlene Cindy Marinangel portrays legendary actress Marlene Dietrich in this solo bio-drama written by Willard Manus. Write Act Repertory @ Brickhouse Theatre, 10950 Peach Grove St., North Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Aug. 27. $20. (800) 838-3006.

OPC Summer New Works Festival The Ojai Playwrights Conferences 20th annual showcase includes workshop productions of new works-in-progress by Sandra Tsing Loh, Samuel D. Hunter, et al.; details at www.ojaiplays.org. Zalk Theater, 703 El Paseo Road, and Matilija Auditorium, 703 El Paseo Road, Ojai. Sun.-next Sun.; ends Aug. 13. $30. (805) 640-0400.

Golden Girlz Drag show celebrates the hit 1980s-90s sitcom. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Wed., 8 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 and 10 p.m.; next Sun., 3, 7 and 9 p.m.; ends Aug. 13. $30. (800) 838-3006.

August Reading Series Staged readings of new plays by Brian Otano, Charlie Kelly, Sigrid Gilmer and Daria Polatin. IAMA Theatre Company @ Sacred Fools Theater, 1078 Lillian Way, L.A. Thu.-next Sun., 8 p.m.; $5 each; series pass, $17. (323) 380-8843.

Las Garca Writer-performer Gabriela Ortega explores her life and Dominican ancestry in this solo drama. Asylum @ Studio C Artists, 6448 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Thu., Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 21. $15. (323) 533-7371.

New Original Works Festival 2017 The 14th-annual performing-arts showcase concludes; program details at www.redcat.org. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; ends Aug. 12. $16, $20; festival pass, $40. (213) 237-2800.

Tilda Swinton Answers a Craigslist Ad The British actress, portrayed by Buffys Tom Lenk, moves in with a shy gay man (writer-performer Byron Lane) to study him for a film role in Lanes satirical comedy. Celebration Theatre @ the Lex, 6760 Lexington Ave., Hollywood. Thu., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 31. $20. (323) 957-1884.

Honky Tonk Laundry Bets Malone and Misty Cotton star in the L.A. premiere of writer-director Roger Beans Nashville-set jukebox musical/comedy. Hudson Mainstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat, 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Sept. 17. $45, $55. (323) 960-7773.

Love Letters A.R. Gurneys two-character epistolary drama. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga. Fri.-Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 p.m.; ends Aug. 11. $16. (909) 477-2752.

Rebel With a Cause: The Sal Mineo Story Writer-performer Dean Ghaffari portrays the actor and gay icon in this solo biographical drama. Promenade Playhouse, 1404 3rd St. Promenade, Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 26. $12-$27. (310) 656-8070.

Hamlet Shakespeares tragedy of the melancholy Dane. The Old Globe, San Diego, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Sat.-next Sun. 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 10. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623.

The Cake With understanding, respect and compassion for opposing points of view, This is Us writer/co-producer Bekah Brunstetters impeccably staged new dramedy explores the human repercussions when that quintessential symbol of union and hope the wedding cake becomes a flashpoint in the culture war over marriage equality. (P.B.) Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Mon., Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 13. $34. (310) 307-3753.

Fun Home Based on the graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel about growing up as a lesbian with a closeted gay father, this deeply moving musical drama combines textured character psychology and nuanced storytelling with the enchantment of a score that can go from melancholy to zany in a heartbeat. Fun but never frivolous, this Tony-winning show by composer Jeanine Tesori and playwright Lisa Kron shimmers with a Proustian glow. (C.M.) Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa. Ends Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m. $29 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Parade A mans religion and origin mark him for scapegoating when the public needs an outlet for its collective frustration. Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown base this stunner of a musical on the 1913 trial of Leo Frank, a Jewish Northerner indicted for the murder of a 13-year-old girl at the factory he supervised in Atlanta. Director Kari Hayter and a committed cast deliver a fluid, coiled production that shakes the audience to its core. (D.H.M.) Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Aug. 13. $40, $45; discounts available. (888) 455-4212.

Rhinoceros With darkly hilarious urgency, this superbly staged and disconcertingly timely revival illuminates playwright Eugene Ionescos absurdist warning about the seductively corrosive lure of herd mentality and the fragility of civilized norms we take for granted. (P.B.) Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Sept 10. $25-$34; discounts available. (310) 822-8392.

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The week ahead in LA theater, Aug. 6-13: ‘Hamlet,’ ‘Marlene’ and more – Los Angeles Times

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August 6, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

‘Parade’ opens under the Corn Stock Tent on Aug. 4 – Morton Times-News

PEORIA Parade, a Tony Award-winning musical about religious intolerance, political injustice, and racial tension, opens Friday, Aug. 4, at Corn Stock Theatre.

Parade is one of the most important musical theater productions ever written, said director Deric Kimler. It is a true story that took place during the lead up of World War I and follows the ‘parade’ of events and individual agendas surrounding the case of Mary Phagan.

The drama centers on the 1913 conviction of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank after he is accused of raping and murdering 13-year-old Mary Phagan, a factory worker. Sensationalized by the media, the events arouse antisemitic sentiments in Georgia. When Franks death sentence is commuted, he is seized by a lynching party and hung from an oak tree in Marietta. The case fired up the Ku Klux Klan and led to the formation of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish Civil Rights organization.

Portraying the lead role of Leo Frank, Peoria native Dustin Presley has returned from New York City, where he has spent the past decade working as an actor, filmmaker and casting director.

“Every once in awhile, life gives you an opportunity to do something meaningful and important with your art. For me, portraying Leo Frank in the musical “Parade” is that opportunity, said Presley. Ive wanted to play this role since I first listened to the cast album many years ago. I immediately fell in love with the beautiful and intricate music of Jason Robert Brown.

A graduate of both Roosevelt Universitys Chicago College of the Performing Arts and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy for musical theater, Presley grew up doing shows in Peoria and is fond of performing in Corn Stocks uniquely intimate space.

For a few years now, Ive been looking for an excuse to come back to the community that nurtured my skills as a young actor, he said. Being able to do this particular show under the tent, surrounded by amazing local talent, is an absolute dream come true.

Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 4-12. Tickets are $22/adults, $17/students and are available by calling 676-2196 or online at cornstocktheatre.com. The Corn Stock Theatre tent is located in upper Bradley Park, 1700 N. Park Road.

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‘Parade’ opens under the Corn Stock Tent on Aug. 4 – Morton Times-News

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July 31, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

‘Parade’ opens under the Corn Stock Tent on Aug. 4 – Peoria Journal Star

PEORIA Parade, a Tony Award-winning musical about religious intolerance, political injustice, and racial tension, opens Friday, Aug. 4, at Corn Stock Theatre.

Parade is one of the most important musical theater productions ever written, said director Deric Kimler. It is a true story that took place during the lead up of World War I and follows the ‘parade’ of events and individual agendas surrounding the case of Mary Phagan.

The drama centers on the 1913 conviction of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank after he is accused of raping and murdering 13-year-old Mary Phagan, a factory worker. Sensationalized by the media, the events arouse antisemitic sentiments in Georgia. When Franks death sentence is commuted, he is seized by a lynching party and hung from an oak tree in Marietta. The case fired up the Ku Klux Klan and led to the formation of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish Civil Rights organization.

Portraying the lead role of Leo Frank, Peoria native Dustin Presley has returned from New York City, where he has spent the past decade working as an actor, filmmaker and casting director.

“Every once in awhile, life gives you an opportunity to do something meaningful and important with your art. For me, portraying Leo Frank in the musical “Parade” is that opportunity, said Presley. Ive wanted to play this role since I first listened to the cast album many years ago. I immediately fell in love with the beautiful and intricate music of Jason Robert Brown.

A graduate of both Roosevelt Universitys Chicago College of the Performing Arts and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy for musical theater, Presley grew up doing shows in Peoria and is fond of performing in Corn Stocks uniquely intimate space.

For a few years now, Ive been looking for an excuse to come back to the community that nurtured my skills as a young actor, he said. Being able to do this particular show under the tent, surrounded by amazing local talent, is an absolute dream come true.

Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 4-12. Tickets are $22/adults, $17/students and are available by calling 676-2196 or online at cornstocktheatre.com. The Corn Stock Theatre tent is located in upper Bradley Park, 1700 N. Park Road.

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‘Parade’ opens under the Corn Stock Tent on Aug. 4 – Peoria Journal Star

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July 30, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

Pittsfield: Lecture explores 1894 political scandal – Berkshire Eagle (subscription)

Temple Anshe Amunim will host an illustrated lecture on “The Dreyfus Affair” at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, as part of its “Lunch and Learn” series. TAA is located at 26 Broad St.

Jesse Waldinger, who lectured last year on the Leo Frank trial, will give a power point demonstration on the 1894 political scandal that involved a Jewish captain in the French Army who was falsely convicted of passing military secrets to the Germans.

Guests are invited to bring their own lunch; beverages and dessert will be provided. Admission is free for Temple members and $5 for non-members.

Information: 413-442-5910 or email templeoffice@ansheamunim.org.

If you’d like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

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Pittsfield: Lecture explores 1894 political scandal – Berkshire Eagle (subscription)

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PARADE Adds Three Performances at Chance Theater – Broadway World

Chance Theater, Anaheim’s official resident theater company, is pleased to add three additional shows to its production of PARADE. With a book by Alfred Uhry, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, direction by Kari Hayter, and musical direction by Robyn Manion, the Chance’s production of PARADE was named a Los Angeles Times Critic’s Choice and is Ovation Recommended.

PARADE will be adding performances on August 11 at 8pm, August 12 at 8pm, and August 13 at 3pm. Performances will be at Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center on the Cripe Stage. This Tony Award-winning musical is based on one of the most notorious, publicized, and hotly debated trials in US history. Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-raised Jewish factory manager in Georgia, is accused of an unthinkable crime. Exploring a case full of false testimonies and circumstantial evidence, Parade is an example of the power of musical theater to tell complex and important stories. Armed with a breathtaking score by Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years) and a powerful script by Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy), this transformational story is part murder mystery and part exploration of the endurance of love and hope against all odds.

ABOUT CHANCE THEATERProud to be one of the leading ensemble-driven theatre companies in Southern California, CHANCE THEATER recently received a National Theatre Company grant from American Theatre Wing. The Chance has won six Ovation Awards, including two for Best Production of a Musical – Intimate Theater for its West Coast premiere of Triassic Parq – The Musical and Southern California premiere of Jerry Springer – The Opera, as well as four LADCC Awards, including the Polly Warfield Award for Outstanding Season. The Anaheim City Council named Chance Theater “the official resident theater company of Anaheim”, and Arts Orange County has twice named the Chance as “Outstanding Arts Organization”. Known for using bold and personal storytelling to promote dialogue and connection within the Southern California theatrical landscape, the Chance is committed to contributing to a more compassionate, connected and creative community. As a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Network of Ensemble Theaters, and the LA Stage Alliance, Chance Theater continues to bring national attention to the Southern California and Orange County theater scenes.

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PARADE Adds Three Performances at Chance Theater – Broadway World

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July 28, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

BWW Review: Chance Theater presents Emotional, Intimate Staging … – Broadway World

It is nearly impossible not to be emotionally affected by the events depicted in PARADE, the stirring, Tony Award-winning 1998 musical inspired by shocking actual events that took place in Atlanta, Georgia between 1913-1915. In it, the musical condenses the unfortunate legal battle of Leo Frank, a mild-mannered but anxious factory manager of Jewish decent, who is wrongfully accused and is later convicted for the brutal rape and murder of one of his 13-year-old employees, Mary Phagan. In the primarily divisive and highly-suspect-of-outsiders South, Frank’s shockingly unfair trial becomes the talk of the entire state, a scandal that would rock news outlets and neighborhood gossip circles, and also further stoked already fiery anti-semitic sentiments deeply ingrained in the citizenry.

It’s certainly a heavy, morose subject to wrap an entire musical around, which is probably why PARADE is so rarely produced despite its high-caliber book by Alfred Uhry and gorgeous music by Jason Robert Brown. But when the material is executed with emotional heft and interesting staging, the results can be powerful, gut-wrenching, and, most importantly, thought-provoking.

For the most part, Chance Theater’s new production of this musical—which continues through July 30 in Anaheim, CA—achieves all these feats quite handily.

I personally have only ever experienced this musical in larger theaters with large sets and a huge ensemble, so to see this little-known story play out in the more intimate footprint of Chance Theater’s Cripe Stage, is in itself an exciting opportunity to experience the show at its most vulnerable and at its most exposed state. As soon as characters enter into our view—whether they are main players or merely in the periphery of narrative importance—there’s very little to hide. Their facial tics and body language can sometimes speak volumes, even if they’re tucked away in the far corner.

This theatrical exposure is almost like an understood metaphor for the times in which this musical takes place. The South—with its long history of subjugating whole races into slavery and fighting a war to keep that way of life—is often a place where prejudices are unapologetically out in the open, and where someone like Leo Frank, a man so obviously uncomfortable with his surroundings, is himself unable to hide his disdain for the very people who look at him with immediate suspicion and detestation for being a Jewish Yankee (there are times that Leo himself even comes off as snobby, holier-than-thou, and more educated than his neighbors— though in his defense, he’s not that far off).

More likely to hear “howdy” than “shalom,” Leo is definitely out of his element.

Though the South certainly does not hold a monopoly on its disdain of “outsiders,” history suggests that their communities certainly seem to be quickest to jump to such sentiments. It is this kind open hostility towards people that are different that makes Leo’s existence in this place doomed from that start.

Using an imposing but mostly bare antiqued-wood platform by scenic designer Fred Kinney (which pretty much takes up most of this intimate theater’s space to stage the action), Chance’s production of PARADE—under the precise yet sensitive direction of Kari Hayter—lets the cast and their exposed performances tell and, well, sing the story, allowing the audience to focus on each character’s feelings about the events happening around them without the distractions of huge sets.

Very interestingly, though, the production also uses many chairs repositioned and repurposed here and there as props, set pieces, and, yes, furniture—reminiscent of how chairs are similarly utilized in productions of THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS and THE COLOR PURPLE, two recent productions whose themes also touch on prejudice in the South.

Here, unobstructed in this open setting, it’s hard not to notice a mother’s anger, a wife’s anguish, an alleged (other) suspect’s guilt, powerful men’s malicious intentions, nor a wife’s quest for justice. It’s also hard to look away watching a man who in his daily life is so much more controlled and stoic suffer through an accusation he knows is untrue and yet he knows he may not be able to overcome because of who is and where this crime took place.

However, as stirring as it is being able to see every characters’ emotional journeys in the raw, the “exposed” nature of this production also has a side-effect that may not be that flattering either. Perhaps my only gripe with this otherwise satisfying production is that there are fleeting moments when I am taken out of the story–and the gravity and seriousness of the events transpiring–because of my own inability to ignore the fact that much of the cast is played by actors far, far too young to play the reality-based characters they’re supposed to be embodying.

Maybe all that Georgia heat and humidity really causes people to look decades younger than they are, but because the proximity of the audience to the actors is sometimes mere inches/feet away, it’s hard to ignore the age disparity, making it very difficult to buy that certain characters are in their mature 50’s and 60’s (old age make-up/wigs may help, maybe?) despite their best efforts in mannerisms and acting abilities. It doesn’t help matters either when actual mature actors are standing side-by-side next to the younger actors—and they’re supposedly playing generational peers.

Alas, despite this recurring trait that sometimes becomes a distraction, this PARADE still evokes an air of artistic flair.

The musical starts off with a gripping bang, thanks to the terrific vocal performance provided by Dillon Klena, later joined by the full ensemble in a choral opener that sets up the powerful mood of the drama about to transpire. Klena plays a young soldier about to go off to fight in the Civil War, singing “The Old Red Hills of Home,” an ode of his love of his hometown and his sweetheart. Towards the end of the song, time passes and the young soldier morphs into an older soldier (Devin Collins), about to march in the annual Confederate Memorial Day parade. It’s clear that despite the decisive defeat against the North, the South is still very much stringent in hanging on to their past ideologies with passionate pride.

It is, of course, just this kind of mentality that further exacerbates such an unforgiving, prejudiced environment that Leo Frank (a superb Allen Everman) must try to endure. Leo, you see, reluctantly relocates from the comfort of his Brooklyn upbringing to Atlanta, Georgia, to live with his wife Lucille (Erica Schaeffer) and to work as The Manager of the local pencil factory owned by his wife’s family. Leo’s irritation of being in Atlanta becomes a mutual feeling with everyone he comes in contact with, and has, sadly, put a strain in his marriage as well. As Lucille tries to make the best of the situation—even wondering whether marrying him was a mistake—Leo shuns her special plans for a holiday meal, opting instead to go into work (to his defense, it’s not exactly his holiday).

Meanwhile across town, teenagers Frankie Epps (Klena, again) and Mary Phagan (Gabrielle Adner)—like most people their age—exchange flirtations in a trolley car, culminating in an invite to the “picture show.” Mary tells her would-be paramour that her mother may have some objections to their pairing. But today, she’s only got one thing in her mind: to get her paycheck at the pencil factory.

Much later in the evening, Leo and Lucille are awoken from their slumber by the arrival of Detective Starkes (Ryan Lloyd) accompanied by policemen. They insist Leo come down to the pencil factory immediately, though they deny him explanation. Upon arrival, Leo is shocked to be shown the lifeless body of his employee Mary Phagan, who, according to their initial assessment had been raped and murdered in the basement.

Though the police first suspect that the deed may have been done by Newt Lee (Robert Stroud), the night guard who first found Mary’s body, Newt’s initial questioning redirects the suspicion towards Leo instead—who, it turns out, has been Starke’s target all along (ah, don’t you just love people who jump to immediate conclusions based on nothing but being different?).

As expected, Leo is arrested soon after.

Mary’s murder becomes the talk of the community overnight, giving way to an angry citizenry demanding to know why such a horrific tragedy against a young, helpless little white girl was allowed to happen. Unfortunately for the innocent but “outsider” Leo, the court of public opinion seems to have already weighed in, with no help from those tasked with searching for the actual truth.

Aside from Leo and those directly connected to these tragic events, many in the community are finding themselves quite invested in the outcome of the trial. The murder and subsequent funeral strikes curiosity with nosey news reporter Britt Craig (Mitchell Turner), seeing the scandal as an opportunity to further his career. Mary’s crush Frankie, pained by the loss of a possible first love, leads the rallying cry to punish Mary’s murderer. Extremist right-wing writer Tom Watson (Lloyd, again) is also motivated to see the case to justice, perhaps to prove his political stance against people who don’t look and act like, well, his ilk. Georgia Governor John Slaton (Tucker Boyes) wants a quick resolution that won’t derail the community’s confidence in the justice system nor disrupt future elections. And ambitious local prosecutor Hugh Dorsey (Chris Kerrigan), eager to erase his terrible reputation as a frequent loser in court, desperately wants to solidify a conviction by any means.

Thus begins the smear campaign against Leo. First, Dorsey dismisses Newt as a possible suspect. Then he demands Starkes and his officers to round up any eyewitnesses, no matter the strength (or lack thereof) of their testimony. He even goes as far as bargaining with the pencil factory’s shady janitor Jim Conley (Robert Collins), an ex-convict looking to get immunity for a previous prison escape in exchange for damning testimony against Leo.

What’s even worse? There is some evidence that suggest Jim Conley himself may be responsible for Mary’s rape and murder.

As the much-gawked at trial gets underway, Lucille, after a heartbreaking plea from her husband to stay by his side, watches as her husband is vilified in court. Dorsey puts on a very eye-opening show, providing the court supposed “witnesses” with one false testimony after another, culminating in Jim Conley’s surprisingly detailed account of apparently witnessing the murder and then helping Leo cover up the crime.

In many ways, his trial felt like the Salem witch trials, where hysteria, hyperbole, and hearsay seems to carry more weight than actual investigative proof (which, if I’m correctly remembering, never actually even made it into the trial). Gosh, this sounds sooo familiar.

Despite an emotional, heartbreaking plea of innocence, Leo is, unsurprisingly, found guilty.

The second act focuses on Lucille’s quest to solve the details of the case herself, while at the same time, finding herself falling more and more in love with Leo in the process. As she does her best to steer her husband’s innocence to the forefront, their genuine affection, love, and—dare I say it—lust for each other continue to grow. She enlists the help of Governor Slaton personally, who after a change of mind and heart decides that there is much more to unearth in Leo’s conviction.

But, like all tragic stories, despite what looks like progress towards a happy and fair ending becomes all too heartbreaking instead. As history recalls, Leo does not get his deserved ending—and to an extent, neither does Leo’s wife nor, Mary, the victim.

If any part of this scandal is seeming a little familiar to one and all, it may be because this pattern of rush-to-judgment, tainted evidence, and, uh, unfair politically-motivated collusion in such high-profile cases has become so ensconced in our day-to-day briefing of life that very little of such things surprises us anymore.

This production of PARADE, of course, arrives at a time of exaggerated political uneasiness and further divisiveness, so it’s hard not to look at this material and see parallels still haunting our daily lives now more than ever—for some more than others, naturally. Though the central target of the musical’s tragic events is essentially a college-educaTEd White man, his “other”-ness is still a huge reason for his unfair conviction. Even African-American characters in PARADE don’t have things so easy either, allowing themselves a rare moment to breathe a sigh of (temporary) relief that the bigoted community leaders have their sights set on another “other” for the time being. The fact that at 2017, that “others” still have this fear so systematically imprinted is definitely a cause for alarm.

That is certainly one of the more obvious strengths of this production: the ability to shine a light on these recurring themes in an effort to learn from despicable past practices. It is often said that looking closely at our mistakes of the past for guidance should be automatic. But are we, though?

Emotionally resonant from start to finish, Chance Theater’s admirably ambitious production of PARADE creates grandness in a smaller scale, yet its impact is still palpable. As in past productions I have seen of the musical, the effectiveness of its narrative partly rests on the empathy elicited by its portrait of Leo Frank, a complicated character with several layers of emotional baggage. On one hand, Leo is a wealthy, highly-educated, slightly elitist person with a visible chip on his shoulder having to “tolerate” the people around him whom he most likely deems “less than.” Rather than engage with the, um, common folk he must supervise each day in his capacity as a manager, he instead makes the best of his situation by creating a bubble around himself, so as to have little or no interaction with the people around him. In turn, this outward behavior—Leo’s version of a security blanket—makes him all the more odd to the people around him, including his wife.

How ironic that he himself falls victim to a similar (albeit much more harmful) intolerance, not doing himself any favors by having a reputation for being cold, standoffish, and dismissive. Kudos to Everman for not overacting Leo’s harrowing journey, but rather show the subtle ebb and flow between the deeply complex layers of a man just trying to put a semblance of order into his chaotic life, only to be handed a debilitating and ultimately deadly blow. Though the actor, at times does show his age physically, his level of acting maturity served the character very well.

Everman’s performance elevates his co-stars’ own performances in many ways, creating a fairly cohesive ensemble, many of whom have spectacular singing voices. Musical Director Robyn Manion leads a live backstage-hidden band that well suits this production’s musical grandness. At the same time, Kinney’s set is complimented well by Masako Tobaru’s lighting design, Elizabeth Cox’s period costumes, and the soundscapes designed by Ryan Brodkin. Visually and by its enveloping sound, this PARADE is creatively satisfying.

Overall, yes, the heartbreaking, fact-based musical is deeply morose and sometimes incredibly frustrating to watch as we witness injustice unfold in such an “acceptable” almost expecTEd Manner. It is no coincidence that the affectations and attitudes on display in this musical tragically still resonates in our world today, particularly in such angrily-charged times that has once again blasted the doors wide open for out-in-the-open prejudices. This is exactly why PARADE and its little-known tragedy needs to be seen and heard over and over again.

Follow this reviewer on Twitter: @cre8iveMLQ. Review also published in On Stage.

Photos from Chance Theater’s production of PARADE by Doug Catiller/True Image Studio.

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Chance Theater’s Production of PARADE continues at the Cripe Stage through July 30, 2017. The Chance Theater is located in the Bette Aitken Theater Arts Center at 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim Hills, CA 92807. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 777-3033 or visit www.ChanceTheater.com

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Evangelical Trump supporters hark back to the good old days that … – Religion News Service

commentary By A. James Rudin | 8 hours ago

Supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump cheer at a campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Oct. 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Mike Segar

(RNS) I am constantly asked why in last years presidential election 81 percent of white conservative Christians voted for Donald Trump, a thrice-married, self-proclaimed womanizer whose personal behavior, religious practices and lifestyle are far different than the majority of evangelical churchgoers. The answer is not hard to find.

Trumps winning mantra Make America Great Again was congruent with a wishful return to the Protestant hegemony that once existed in the United States back in the Eden-like good old days.

In the recollections of many evangelicals, America was then a tranquil, moral land deeply rooted in a specific set of traditional Christian values: the shining city on the hill, an idyllic small-town nation dominated by a white male leadership group.

It is a vision that offered Trump voters a fuzzy feel-good moment about a history that never happened. Those who believe such an America actually existed suffer from historical amnesia because the reality was far different.

Cruel child labor and exploited immigrant workers constituted much of the work force required to build and maintain an expanding economy. It was an America that actively engaged in a vicious system of human slavery the countrys original sin only to be followed after a bloody Civil War by legally sanctioned racial segregation, discrimination and persecution.

During those blissful years when America was great, women could not vote and factory and railroad workers, miners and other laborers had no recourse to collective bargaining or economic rights. There was widespread anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish and anti-Asian bigotry.

Supporters pray before Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rally at Atlantic Aviation in Moon, Pa., on Nov. 6, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Mark Makela

In the 19th century Catholic churches were burned, and in 1913 Leo Frank, a Jew, was lynched near Atlanta, brutally killed for a crime he did not commit. At the same time there was widespread fear of the Yellow Peril.

American Indians may have unwittingly provided America with a host of geographical place names the Dakotas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and many other appellations but they were denied the right to vote in some states until the 1950s. Many tribes were victims of a U.S. policy that forcibly moved Indians into government-built reservations that were degrading and stifling. One result of the forced confinements of the tribes was a high incidence of unemployment, alcoholism and other maladies.

It was an America in which millions of its citizens, including many public officials, were members of the racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan. And there were a host of other social, economic, political and cultural problems.

But no matter.

In the 2016 election that mythical time of pristine American greatness was invoked for millions of voters, many of them evangelical Christians who believed America had been stolen from them. They voted to take back America, and the past ills, inequities and wretched economic conditions were conveniently erased from their collective memories. In place of historical reality was a hazy image of a lost innocent America, and a desperate craving to make our nation great again.

Many members of Trumps political base have not come to terms with the challenges of the modern world: rapid scientific advances especially in bioethics, growing religious indifference among millions of fellow Americans, the rapidly changing ethnic, racial and religious demographics in the U.S., and, of course, the reality of climate change.

Many evangelical voters suffer a sense of political bereavement, the death of a once great Christian America. When the mourning for a lost America is combined with religious rage and spiritual certitude, it is a potent combination that astute politicians like Donald Trump can harness to their electoral advantage.

That is why many white evangelicals resonate with coded language about the dreaded others in todays America: immigrants, Muslims, Hispanics, LGBTQ, secular humanists, elites out of the American mainstream, globalists, and the privileged media are regularly pilloried to garner evangelical votes.

A warning: Political and religious leaders who fail to recognize that perceived sense of traumatic loss are doomed to suffer electoral failures and the steady decline of mainline Protestant church membership.

The hope for a restoration, while not based on historical reality, cannot be minimized or disregarded because those feelings constitute the linchpin of Trumps conservative Christian base.

As evangelicals feel themselves beleaguered and belittled in what was once their America, shrewd politicians will fine-tune their messages and continue to gain election victories.

The 2016 campaign was not a quirk or a fluke. Fasten your seat belts; Americas bumpy electoral ride is certain to continue.

(Rabbi A. James Rudin is the American Jewish Committees senior interreligious adviser. His latest book is Pillar of Fire: The Biography of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, published by Texas Tech University Press. He can be reached atjamesrudin.com)

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The week ahead in LA theater, July 23-30: ‘As You Like It,’ REDCAT’s NOW Festival and more – Los Angeles Times

Capsule reviews are by Philip Brandes (P.B.) and David C. Nichols (D.C.N.)

Becoming Human Celebrity therapist and playwright Dr. Nicki J. Monti explores her difficult relationship with her mother in this new dark comedy. McCadden Place Theatre, 1157 N. McCadden Place, L.A. Sun., next Sun., 5 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 6. $30. (323) 960-4451.

Billy Elliot: The Musical Based on the hit 2000 film about a working-class British lad who loves ballet. Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 27. $18-$25. (805) 583-7900.

Fritz Colemans One Night Comedy Show The comic/weatherman performs in a benefit show. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., 7 p.m. $25-$50. (866) 811-4111.

The Scott Brothers House Party The stars of HGTVs Property Brothers share clips, stories, songs and more. Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sun., 7 p.m. $49 and up. (714) 556-2787.

Sondheim on Sondheim Guest vocalists including Vanessa Williams join Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil and Youth Orchestra Los Angeles for a cabaret-style presentation of this revue showcasing the Broadway composers classic songs. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $14-$189. (323) 850-2000.

As You Like It Antaeus Theatre Company presents a partner-cast staging of Shakespeares gender-bending pastoral comedy. Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway, Glendale. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Sept. 10. $30, $34. (818) 506-1983.

New Original Works Festival 2017 14th-annual three-weekend showcase for L.A.-based theater, dance and multimedia artists; program info at www.redcat.org. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; ends Aug. 12. $16, $20; festival pass, $40. (213) 237-2800.

Garbage Pail Groundlings All-new sketch show. Groundlings Theatre, 7307 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 8 and 10 p.m. $20; opening night only, $50. (323) 934-4747.

Love Connie Xtreme Makeover Greatest Hits Vol. 1 Drag artist John Cantrell revisits highlights from previous shows in this revue. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 9 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends July 30. $30. (800) 838-3006.

Mamma Mia Disney Channel stars Dove Cameron and Corbin Bleu head the cast of a star-studded, fully staged production of this hit romantic musical built around the songs of Swedish pop group ABBA; Kathleen Marshall directs. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7:30 p.m.; ends July 30. $14-$196. (323) 850-2000.

Misty Lee: Bold Magic The illusionist performs; for ages 12 and up. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends July 30. $35-$50. (866) 811-4111.

Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes In this solo show, Hayes tells the true story behind his 1970 arrest and imprisonment in Turkey for drug smuggling, events which later inspired a hit 1978 film. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends July 30. $25, $35; discounts available. (310) 477-2055.

Ball Yards The wide world of sports is satirized in Chuck Faerbers fantastical new dark comedy. Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Aug. 27. $25. (323) 960-7738.

Here & Now: The Legacy of Luther Vandross Terry Steele pays tribute to the late R&B singer. Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $25-$55. (323) 964-9766.

The Italian in Me Return engagement of Dina Morrones solo show about being a young actress in Rome. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, L.A. Sat. 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends July 30. $20-$30. (323) 851-7977.

The Lost Child An estranged couple have a strange encounter at a deserted cabin in the woods in Jennifer W. Rolands thriller; in repertory with The Devils Wife (opened July 15). The Skylight Theatre, 1816 1/2 North Vermont. Ave., Los Feliz. Sat., 8:30 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Sept. 3. $15-$39; both plays, $50. (213) 761-7061.

Three Can Keep a Secret Audience members help decide the plot of this darkly comic crime thriller. Studio/Stage, 520 N. Western Ave., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $20. (818) 849-4039.

Three Sisters Chekhovs classic comedy about a Russian family in decline. Archway Studio/Theatre, 10509 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Aug. 26. $28. (818) 980-7529.

Trouble in Mind An African American actress may have to make comprises to get ahead in Alice Childress satirical backstage drama. Will Geers Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga. Sat., next Sun., 7:30 p.m.; ends Sept. 30. $15-$38.50. (310) 455-3723.

Los Angeles Womens Theatre Festival Excerpts from four solo works by female writer-performers. Veterans Memorial Building, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $18-$25. (818) 760-0408.

Marlene Cindy Marinangel portrays legendary actress Marlene Dietrich in this solo bio-drama written by Willard Manus. Write Act Repertory @ Brickhouse Theatre, 10950 Peach Grove St., North Hollywood. Next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Aug. 27. $20. (800) 838-3006.

Robin Hood World premiere of Ken Ludwigs comedy about the legendary hero of Sherwood Forest and his band of merry men. The Old Globe, San Diego, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Next Sun., 7 p.m.; Sun., ends Sept. 3. $39 and up. (619) 234-5623.

Shout Sister Shout! New bio-musical about gospel and R&B singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, known as the godmother of rock and roll. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Aug. 20. $25-$115. (626) 356-7529.

To Dad With Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen Kiki Ebsen honors her late father, the film and TV star, in this multimedia show. Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley. Next Sun., 7:30 p.m. $25, $35. (805) 583-7900.

The Cake With understanding, respect and compassion for opposing points of view, This is Us writer/co-producer Bekah Brunstetters impeccably staged new dramedy explores the human repercussions when that quintessential symbol of union and hope the wedding cake becomes a flashpoint in the culture war over marriage equality. (P.B.) Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Mon., Thu.-Sat, 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 13. $34. (310) 307-3753.

Parade A mans religion and origin mark him for scapegoating when the public needs an outlet for its collective frustration. Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown base this stunner of a musical on the 1913 trial of Leo Frank, a Jewish Northerner indicted for the murder of a 13-year-old girl at the factory he supervised in Atlanta. Director Kari Hayter and a committed cast deliver a fluid, coiled production that shakes the audience to its core. (D.H.M.) Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Thu., 7:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends July 30. $40, $45; discounts available. (888) 455-4212.

Rhinoceros With darkly hilarious urgency, this superbly-staged and disconcertingly timely revival illuminates playwright Eugene Ionescos absurdist warning about the seductively corrosive lure of herd mentality, and the fragility of civilized norms we take for granted. (P.B.) Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Sept 10. $25-$34; discounts available. (310) 822-8392.

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The week ahead in LA theater, July 23-30: ‘As You Like It,’ REDCAT’s NOW Festival and more – Los Angeles Times

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The week ahead in LA theater, Aug. 13-20: ‘Hamilton,’ ‘Henry IV, Part 1’ and more – Los Angeles Times

THEATER Capsule reviews are by Philip Brandes (P.B.), Charles McNulty (C.M.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.). Mighty Morphin Midsummer Nights Dream The Actors Gang presents a kid-friendly take on Shakespeares fantasy tale. Media Park, adjacent to The Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. Sun., Sat., next Sun., 11 a.m.; ends Aug. 27. Free. (310) 838-4264. A Soldiers Play Charles Fullers drama about the murder of a sergeant in an all-black company at an Army base in 1944 Louisiana. Loft Ensemble Theater, 13442 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 17. $20. (818) 616-3150. Sonata 1962 Staged reading of a new musical about a woman coping with her musically inclined daughters mental illness. Celebration Theatre @ The Lex, 6760 Lexington Ave, Hollywood. Tue., 7:30 p.m. Free; donations accepted. (323) 957-1884. Hamilton National touring production of Lin-Manuel Mirandas Tony-winning smash-hit musical about the fiscally-savvy Founding Father; for ages 12 and up; children under 5 not admitted. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 1 and 7 p.m.; ends Dec. 30 (also at Segerstrom Center, May). $85-$750. (800) 982-2787. Martha Limited return engagement of Ellen Melavers bio drama about modern-dance maven Martha Graham; Christina Carlisi stars. The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Wed., 8 p.m.; also Sept. 30. $25. (818) 687-8559. MagicMania Illusionist Albie Selznick (Smoke and Mirrors) hosts this festival featuring over two dozen top magicians and variety acts. The Colony Theatre, 555 N. 3rd St., Burbank. Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun. 3 p.m.; ends Aug. 20. $35; passes, $70, $110. (866) 811-4111. Shine Storytellers and musicians share tales about how music changed their lives. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. Thu., 7 p.m. $12; discounts available. (310) 452-2321. Welcome to the White Room West Coast premiere of Trish Harnetiauxs fantastical drama about three characters who find themselves in a mysterious room. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Sept. 16. $20, $25. (323) 856-8611. Monty Pythons Spamalot 3-D Theatricals stages this hit musical comedy based on the British troupes 1975 Arthurian romp Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Aug. 27. $40-$85. (562) 467-8818. Sideways Fences A young Mexican American couple faces the gentrification of their Boyle Heights neighborhood and other issues in Oscar Arguellos drama. Casa 0101 Theater, 2102 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Sept. 10. $15-$20. (323) 263-7684. Blackbird A young woman encounters the middle-aged man who sexually abused her when she was 12 in David Harrowers Olivier Award-winning drama. Grove Theatre Center, 1100 W. Clark Ave., Burbank. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Sept. 17. $20. (571) 232-8894. Excess Baggage Ventriloquist Jay Johnson performs his new solo show. The Group Rep, Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m. $50. (818) 763-5990. The Face, Behind the Face, Behind the Face Writer-performer Anthony Gruppuso sings show tunes, standards and more in this tale about the life of an entertainer. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Aug. 20. $20-$30. (323) 851-7977. Henry IV, Part 1 Intimate production of Shakespeares historical drama about Henry Bolingbroke, his wayward son Hal, the scoundrel Falstaff, et al., features onstage seating. Garden Grove Festival Amphitheatre, 12762 Main St., Garden Grove. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 26. $25, $40. (714) 590-1575. Levi Kreis: Broadway at the Keys The Tony winner (Million Dollar Quartet) accompanies himself on the piano to perform favorite show tunes. Los Angeles LGBT Centers Renberg Theatre, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m. $25. (323) 860-7300. Once Upon a Song Broadways Teri Bibb shares show tunes, stories and more. Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St. Ventura. Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Aug. 20. $55. (805) 667-2900. Puss in Boots Family-friendly musical based on the classic fairytale. Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 N. Orange St., Glendale. Sat., 11 a.m.; ends Nov. 11. $12.50, $20. (818) 244-8481. A Night With Janis Joplin Kelly McIntyre portrays the 1960s rock legend in this tune-filled bio-musical. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Next Sun., 5:30 p.m.; ends Sept. 10. $60-$105. (949) 497-2787. Stop-Motion Staged reading of Liz Kerins drama about a reclusive animator contending with her tragic past. Will Geers Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga. Next Sun., 11 a.m. Free. (310) 455-3723. The Cake With understanding, respect and compassion for opposing points of view, This is Us writer/co-producer Bekah Brunstetters impeccably staged new dramedy explores the human repercussions when that quintessential symbol of union and hope the wedding cake becomes a flashpoint in the culture war over marriage equality. (P.B.) Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Ends Sun., 4 p.m. $34. (310) 307-3753. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Simon Stephens Tony-winning adaptation of Mark Haddons bestselling novel presents the world of Christopher Boone as this young accidental detective uniquely experiences it. Marianne Elliotts acclaimed staging continues to impress with the way it dynamically theatricalizes the relationship this 15-year-old, whose condition is unnamed but has many of the hallmarks of Aspergers syndrome, has with the world. (C.M.) Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 10. $25-$130. (213) 972-4400. Parade A mans religion and origin mark him for scapegoating when the public needs an outlet for its collective frustration. Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown base this stunner of a musical on the 1913 trial of Leo Frank, a Jewish Northerner indicted for the murder of a 13-year-old girl at the factory he supervised in Atlanta. Director Kari Hayter and a committed cast deliver a fluid, coiled production that shakes the audience to its core. (D.H.M.) Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Ends Sun., 3 p.m. $40, $45; discounts available. (888) 455-4212.

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The week ahead in LA theater, Aug. 6-13: ‘Hamlet,’ ‘Marlene’ and more – Los Angeles Times

THEATER Capsule reviews are by Charles McNulty (C.M.), Philip Brandes (P.B.) and Daryl H. Miller (D.H.M.). Compiled by Matt Cooper. Journey of the Monkey King Taiwans Rom Shing Hakka Opera Troupe makes its U.S. debut with this ancient Chinese folktale; Taiwans Lei Dance Theatre the Irvine-based Sun Musical Concert Choir also perform. Pasadena Civic Auditorium, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena. Sun., 7 p.m. $39 and up. (800) 653-8000. Kill Local World premiere of Mat Smarts dark comedy about about a woman and her two daughters who work as professional assassins. La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Sun., 7 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Aug. 27. $35 and up. (858) 550-1010. Marlene Cindy Marinangel portrays legendary actress Marlene Dietrich in this solo bio-drama written by Willard Manus. Write Act Repertory @ Brickhouse Theatre, 10950 Peach Grove St., North Hollywood. Sun., next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Aug. 27. $20. (800) 838-3006. OPC Summer New Works Festival The Ojai Playwrights Conferences 20th annual showcase includes workshop productions of new works-in-progress by Sandra Tsing Loh, Samuel D. Hunter, et al.; details at www.ojaiplays.org. Zalk Theater, 703 El Paseo Road, and Matilija Auditorium, 703 El Paseo Road, Ojai. Sun.-next Sun.; ends Aug. 13. $30. (805) 640-0400. Golden Girlz Drag show celebrates the hit 1980s-90s sitcom. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Wed., 8 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 and 10 p.m.; next Sun., 3, 7 and 9 p.m.; ends Aug. 13. $30. (800) 838-3006. August Reading Series Staged readings of new plays by Brian Otano, Charlie Kelly, Sigrid Gilmer and Daria Polatin. IAMA Theatre Company @ Sacred Fools Theater, 1078 Lillian Way, L.A. Thu.-next Sun., 8 p.m.; $5 each; series pass, $17. (323) 380-8843. Las Garca Writer-performer Gabriela Ortega explores her life and Dominican ancestry in this solo drama. Asylum @ Studio C Artists, 6448 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Thu., Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 21. $15. (323) 533-7371. New Original Works Festival 2017 The 14th-annual performing-arts showcase concludes; program details at www.redcat.org. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; ends Aug. 12. $16, $20; festival pass, $40. (213) 237-2800. Tilda Swinton Answers a Craigslist Ad The British actress, portrayed by Buffys Tom Lenk, moves in with a shy gay man (writer-performer Byron Lane) to study him for a film role in Lanes satirical comedy. Celebration Theatre @ the Lex, 6760 Lexington Ave., Hollywood. Thu., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 31. $20. (323) 957-1884. Honky Tonk Laundry Bets Malone and Misty Cotton star in the L.A. premiere of writer-director Roger Beans Nashville-set jukebox musical/comedy. Hudson Mainstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat, 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 and 7 p.m.; ends Sept. 17. $45, $55. (323) 960-7773. Love Letters A.R. Gurneys two-character epistolary drama. Lewis Family Playhouse, 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga. Fri.-Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; next Sun., 1 p.m.; ends Aug. 11. $16. (909) 477-2752. Rebel With a Cause: The Sal Mineo Story Writer-performer Dean Ghaffari portrays the actor and gay icon in this solo biographical drama. Promenade Playhouse, 1404 3rd St. Promenade, Santa Monica. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 26. $12-$27. (310) 656-8070. Hamlet Shakespeares tragedy of the melancholy Dane. The Old Globe, San Diego, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Sat.-next Sun. 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 10. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623. The Cake With understanding, respect and compassion for opposing points of view, This is Us writer/co-producer Bekah Brunstetters impeccably staged new dramedy explores the human repercussions when that quintessential symbol of union and hope the wedding cake becomes a flashpoint in the culture war over marriage equality. (P.B.) Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Mon., Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 13. $34. (310) 307-3753. Fun Home Based on the graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel about growing up as a lesbian with a closeted gay father, this deeply moving musical drama combines textured character psychology and nuanced storytelling with the enchantment of a score that can go from melancholy to zany in a heartbeat. Fun but never frivolous, this Tony-winning show by composer Jeanine Tesori and playwright Lisa Kron shimmers with a Proustian glow. (C.M.) Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa. Ends Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m. $29 and up. (714) 556-2787. Parade A mans religion and origin mark him for scapegoating when the public needs an outlet for its collective frustration. Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown base this stunner of a musical on the 1913 trial of Leo Frank, a Jewish Northerner indicted for the murder of a 13-year-old girl at the factory he supervised in Atlanta. Director Kari Hayter and a committed cast deliver a fluid, coiled production that shakes the audience to its core. (D.H.M.) Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Aug. 13. $40, $45; discounts available. (888) 455-4212. Rhinoceros With darkly hilarious urgency, this superbly staged and disconcertingly timely revival illuminates playwright Eugene Ionescos absurdist warning about the seductively corrosive lure of herd mentality and the fragility of civilized norms we take for granted. (P.B.) Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Sept 10. $25-$34; discounts available. (310) 822-8392.

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August 6, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

‘Parade’ opens under the Corn Stock Tent on Aug. 4 – Morton Times-News

PEORIA Parade, a Tony Award-winning musical about religious intolerance, political injustice, and racial tension, opens Friday, Aug. 4, at Corn Stock Theatre. Parade is one of the most important musical theater productions ever written, said director Deric Kimler. It is a true story that took place during the lead up of World War I and follows the ‘parade’ of events and individual agendas surrounding the case of Mary Phagan. The drama centers on the 1913 conviction of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank after he is accused of raping and murdering 13-year-old Mary Phagan, a factory worker. Sensationalized by the media, the events arouse antisemitic sentiments in Georgia. When Franks death sentence is commuted, he is seized by a lynching party and hung from an oak tree in Marietta. The case fired up the Ku Klux Klan and led to the formation of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish Civil Rights organization. Portraying the lead role of Leo Frank, Peoria native Dustin Presley has returned from New York City, where he has spent the past decade working as an actor, filmmaker and casting director. “Every once in awhile, life gives you an opportunity to do something meaningful and important with your art. For me, portraying Leo Frank in the musical “Parade” is that opportunity, said Presley. Ive wanted to play this role since I first listened to the cast album many years ago. I immediately fell in love with the beautiful and intricate music of Jason Robert Brown. A graduate of both Roosevelt Universitys Chicago College of the Performing Arts and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy for musical theater, Presley grew up doing shows in Peoria and is fond of performing in Corn Stocks uniquely intimate space. For a few years now, Ive been looking for an excuse to come back to the community that nurtured my skills as a young actor, he said. Being able to do this particular show under the tent, surrounded by amazing local talent, is an absolute dream come true. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 4-12. Tickets are $22/adults, $17/students and are available by calling 676-2196 or online at cornstocktheatre.com. The Corn Stock Theatre tent is located in upper Bradley Park, 1700 N. Park Road.

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July 31, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

‘Parade’ opens under the Corn Stock Tent on Aug. 4 – Peoria Journal Star

PEORIA Parade, a Tony Award-winning musical about religious intolerance, political injustice, and racial tension, opens Friday, Aug. 4, at Corn Stock Theatre. Parade is one of the most important musical theater productions ever written, said director Deric Kimler. It is a true story that took place during the lead up of World War I and follows the ‘parade’ of events and individual agendas surrounding the case of Mary Phagan. The drama centers on the 1913 conviction of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank after he is accused of raping and murdering 13-year-old Mary Phagan, a factory worker. Sensationalized by the media, the events arouse antisemitic sentiments in Georgia. When Franks death sentence is commuted, he is seized by a lynching party and hung from an oak tree in Marietta. The case fired up the Ku Klux Klan and led to the formation of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish Civil Rights organization. Portraying the lead role of Leo Frank, Peoria native Dustin Presley has returned from New York City, where he has spent the past decade working as an actor, filmmaker and casting director. “Every once in awhile, life gives you an opportunity to do something meaningful and important with your art. For me, portraying Leo Frank in the musical “Parade” is that opportunity, said Presley. Ive wanted to play this role since I first listened to the cast album many years ago. I immediately fell in love with the beautiful and intricate music of Jason Robert Brown. A graduate of both Roosevelt Universitys Chicago College of the Performing Arts and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy for musical theater, Presley grew up doing shows in Peoria and is fond of performing in Corn Stocks uniquely intimate space. For a few years now, Ive been looking for an excuse to come back to the community that nurtured my skills as a young actor, he said. Being able to do this particular show under the tent, surrounded by amazing local talent, is an absolute dream come true. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 4-12. Tickets are $22/adults, $17/students and are available by calling 676-2196 or online at cornstocktheatre.com. The Corn Stock Theatre tent is located in upper Bradley Park, 1700 N. Park Road.

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July 30, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

Pittsfield: Lecture explores 1894 political scandal – Berkshire Eagle (subscription)

Temple Anshe Amunim will host an illustrated lecture on “The Dreyfus Affair” at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, as part of its “Lunch and Learn” series. TAA is located at 26 Broad St. Jesse Waldinger, who lectured last year on the Leo Frank trial, will give a power point demonstration on the 1894 political scandal that involved a Jewish captain in the French Army who was falsely convicted of passing military secrets to the Germans. Guests are invited to bring their own lunch; beverages and dessert will be provided. Admission is free for Temple members and $5 for non-members. Information: 413-442-5910 or email templeoffice@ansheamunim.org. If you’d like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

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July 30, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

PARADE Adds Three Performances at Chance Theater – Broadway World

Chance Theater, Anaheim’s official resident theater company, is pleased to add three additional shows to its production of PARADE. With a book by Alfred Uhry, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, direction by Kari Hayter, and musical direction by Robyn Manion, the Chance’s production of PARADE was named a Los Angeles Times Critic’s Choice and is Ovation Recommended. PARADE will be adding performances on August 11 at 8pm, August 12 at 8pm, and August 13 at 3pm. Performances will be at Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center on the Cripe Stage. This Tony Award-winning musical is based on one of the most notorious, publicized, and hotly debated trials in US history. Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-raised Jewish factory manager in Georgia, is accused of an unthinkable crime. Exploring a case full of false testimonies and circumstantial evidence, Parade is an example of the power of musical theater to tell complex and important stories. Armed with a breathtaking score by Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years) and a powerful script by Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy), this transformational story is part murder mystery and part exploration of the endurance of love and hope against all odds. ABOUT CHANCE THEATERProud to be one of the leading ensemble-driven theatre companies in Southern California, CHANCE THEATER recently received a National Theatre Company grant from American Theatre Wing. The Chance has won six Ovation Awards, including two for Best Production of a Musical – Intimate Theater for its West Coast premiere of Triassic Parq – The Musical and Southern California premiere of Jerry Springer – The Opera, as well as four LADCC Awards, including the Polly Warfield Award for Outstanding Season. The Anaheim City Council named Chance Theater “the official resident theater company of Anaheim”, and Arts Orange County has twice named the Chance as “Outstanding Arts Organization”. Known for using bold and personal storytelling to promote dialogue and connection within the Southern California theatrical landscape, the Chance is committed to contributing to a more compassionate, connected and creative community. As a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Network of Ensemble Theaters, and the LA Stage Alliance, Chance Theater continues to bring national attention to the Southern California and Orange County theater scenes.

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July 28, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

BWW Review: Chance Theater presents Emotional, Intimate Staging … – Broadway World

It is nearly impossible not to be emotionally affected by the events depicted in PARADE, the stirring, Tony Award-winning 1998 musical inspired by shocking actual events that took place in Atlanta, Georgia between 1913-1915. In it, the musical condenses the unfortunate legal battle of Leo Frank, a mild-mannered but anxious factory manager of Jewish decent, who is wrongfully accused and is later convicted for the brutal rape and murder of one of his 13-year-old employees, Mary Phagan. In the primarily divisive and highly-suspect-of-outsiders South, Frank’s shockingly unfair trial becomes the talk of the entire state, a scandal that would rock news outlets and neighborhood gossip circles, and also further stoked already fiery anti-semitic sentiments deeply ingrained in the citizenry. It’s certainly a heavy, morose subject to wrap an entire musical around, which is probably why PARADE is so rarely produced despite its high-caliber book by Alfred Uhry and gorgeous music by Jason Robert Brown. But when the material is executed with emotional heft and interesting staging, the results can be powerful, gut-wrenching, and, most importantly, thought-provoking. For the most part, Chance Theater’s new production of this musical—which continues through July 30 in Anaheim, CA—achieves all these feats quite handily. I personally have only ever experienced this musical in larger theaters with large sets and a huge ensemble, so to see this little-known story play out in the more intimate footprint of Chance Theater’s Cripe Stage, is in itself an exciting opportunity to experience the show at its most vulnerable and at its most exposed state. As soon as characters enter into our view—whether they are main players or merely in the periphery of narrative importance—there’s very little to hide. Their facial tics and body language can sometimes speak volumes, even if they’re tucked away in the far corner. This theatrical exposure is almost like an understood metaphor for the times in which this musical takes place. The South—with its long history of subjugating whole races into slavery and fighting a war to keep that way of life—is often a place where prejudices are unapologetically out in the open, and where someone like Leo Frank, a man so obviously uncomfortable with his surroundings, is himself unable to hide his disdain for the very people who look at him with immediate suspicion and detestation for being a Jewish Yankee (there are times that Leo himself even comes off as snobby, holier-than-thou, and more educated than his neighbors— though in his defense, he’s not that far off). More likely to hear “howdy” than “shalom,” Leo is definitely out of his element. Though the South certainly does not hold a monopoly on its disdain of “outsiders,” history suggests that their communities certainly seem to be quickest to jump to such sentiments. It is this kind open hostility towards people that are different that makes Leo’s existence in this place doomed from that start. Using an imposing but mostly bare antiqued-wood platform by scenic designer Fred Kinney (which pretty much takes up most of this intimate theater’s space to stage the action), Chance’s production of PARADE—under the precise yet sensitive direction of Kari Hayter—lets the cast and their exposed performances tell and, well, sing the story, allowing the audience to focus on each character’s feelings about the events happening around them without the distractions of huge sets. Very interestingly, though, the production also uses many chairs repositioned and repurposed here and there as props, set pieces, and, yes, furniture—reminiscent of how chairs are similarly utilized in productions of THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS and THE COLOR PURPLE, two recent productions whose themes also touch on prejudice in the South. Here, unobstructed in this open setting, it’s hard not to notice a mother’s anger, a wife’s anguish, an alleged (other) suspect’s guilt, powerful men’s malicious intentions, nor a wife’s quest for justice. It’s also hard to look away watching a man who in his daily life is so much more controlled and stoic suffer through an accusation he knows is untrue and yet he knows he may not be able to overcome because of who is and where this crime took place. However, as stirring as it is being able to see every characters’ emotional journeys in the raw, the “exposed” nature of this production also has a side-effect that may not be that flattering either. Perhaps my only gripe with this otherwise satisfying production is that there are fleeting moments when I am taken out of the story–and the gravity and seriousness of the events transpiring–because of my own inability to ignore the fact that much of the cast is played by actors far, far too young to play the reality-based characters they’re supposed to be embodying. Maybe all that Georgia heat and humidity really causes people to look decades younger than they are, but because the proximity of the audience to the actors is sometimes mere inches/feet away, it’s hard to ignore the age disparity, making it very difficult to buy that certain characters are in their mature 50’s and 60’s (old age make-up/wigs may help, maybe?) despite their best efforts in mannerisms and acting abilities. It doesn’t help matters either when actual mature actors are standing side-by-side next to the younger actors—and they’re supposedly playing generational peers. Alas, despite this recurring trait that sometimes becomes a distraction, this PARADE still evokes an air of artistic flair. The musical starts off with a gripping bang, thanks to the terrific vocal performance provided by Dillon Klena, later joined by the full ensemble in a choral opener that sets up the powerful mood of the drama about to transpire. Klena plays a young soldier about to go off to fight in the Civil War, singing “The Old Red Hills of Home,” an ode of his love of his hometown and his sweetheart. Towards the end of the song, time passes and the young soldier morphs into an older soldier (Devin Collins), about to march in the annual Confederate Memorial Day parade. It’s clear that despite the decisive defeat against the North, the South is still very much stringent in hanging on to their past ideologies with passionate pride. It is, of course, just this kind of mentality that further exacerbates such an unforgiving, prejudiced environment that Leo Frank (a superb Allen Everman) must try to endure. Leo, you see, reluctantly relocates from the comfort of his Brooklyn upbringing to Atlanta, Georgia, to live with his wife Lucille (Erica Schaeffer) and to work as The Manager of the local pencil factory owned by his wife’s family. Leo’s irritation of being in Atlanta becomes a mutual feeling with everyone he comes in contact with, and has, sadly, put a strain in his marriage as well. As Lucille tries to make the best of the situation—even wondering whether marrying him was a mistake—Leo shuns her special plans for a holiday meal, opting instead to go into work (to his defense, it’s not exactly his holiday). Meanwhile across town, teenagers Frankie Epps (Klena, again) and Mary Phagan (Gabrielle Adner)—like most people their age—exchange flirtations in a trolley car, culminating in an invite to the “picture show.” Mary tells her would-be paramour that her mother may have some objections to their pairing. But today, she’s only got one thing in her mind: to get her paycheck at the pencil factory. Much later in the evening, Leo and Lucille are awoken from their slumber by the arrival of Detective Starkes (Ryan Lloyd) accompanied by policemen. They insist Leo come down to the pencil factory immediately, though they deny him explanation. Upon arrival, Leo is shocked to be shown the lifeless body of his employee Mary Phagan, who, according to their initial assessment had been raped and murdered in the basement. Though the police first suspect that the deed may have been done by Newt Lee (Robert Stroud), the night guard who first found Mary’s body, Newt’s initial questioning redirects the suspicion towards Leo instead—who, it turns out, has been Starke’s target all along (ah, don’t you just love people who jump to immediate conclusions based on nothing but being different?). As expected, Leo is arrested soon after. Mary’s murder becomes the talk of the community overnight, giving way to an angry citizenry demanding to know why such a horrific tragedy against a young, helpless little white girl was allowed to happen. Unfortunately for the innocent but “outsider” Leo, the court of public opinion seems to have already weighed in, with no help from those tasked with searching for the actual truth. Aside from Leo and those directly connected to these tragic events, many in the community are finding themselves quite invested in the outcome of the trial. The murder and subsequent funeral strikes curiosity with nosey news reporter Britt Craig (Mitchell Turner), seeing the scandal as an opportunity to further his career. Mary’s crush Frankie, pained by the loss of a possible first love, leads the rallying cry to punish Mary’s murderer. Extremist right-wing writer Tom Watson (Lloyd, again) is also motivated to see the case to justice, perhaps to prove his political stance against people who don’t look and act like, well, his ilk. Georgia Governor John Slaton (Tucker Boyes) wants a quick resolution that won’t derail the community’s confidence in the justice system nor disrupt future elections. And ambitious local prosecutor Hugh Dorsey (Chris Kerrigan), eager to erase his terrible reputation as a frequent loser in court, desperately wants to solidify a conviction by any means. Thus begins the smear campaign against Leo. First, Dorsey dismisses Newt as a possible suspect. Then he demands Starkes and his officers to round up any eyewitnesses, no matter the strength (or lack thereof) of their testimony. He even goes as far as bargaining with the pencil factory’s shady janitor Jim Conley (Robert Collins), an ex-convict looking to get immunity for a previous prison escape in exchange for damning testimony against Leo. What’s even worse? There is some evidence that suggest Jim Conley himself may be responsible for Mary’s rape and murder. As the much-gawked at trial gets underway, Lucille, after a heartbreaking plea from her husband to stay by his side, watches as her husband is vilified in court. Dorsey puts on a very eye-opening show, providing the court supposed “witnesses” with one false testimony after another, culminating in Jim Conley’s surprisingly detailed account of apparently witnessing the murder and then helping Leo cover up the crime. In many ways, his trial felt like the Salem witch trials, where hysteria, hyperbole, and hearsay seems to carry more weight than actual investigative proof (which, if I’m correctly remembering, never actually even made it into the trial). Gosh, this sounds sooo familiar. Despite an emotional, heartbreaking plea of innocence, Leo is, unsurprisingly, found guilty. The second act focuses on Lucille’s quest to solve the details of the case herself, while at the same time, finding herself falling more and more in love with Leo in the process. As she does her best to steer her husband’s innocence to the forefront, their genuine affection, love, and—dare I say it—lust for each other continue to grow. She enlists the help of Governor Slaton personally, who after a change of mind and heart decides that there is much more to unearth in Leo’s conviction. But, like all tragic stories, despite what looks like progress towards a happy and fair ending becomes all too heartbreaking instead. As history recalls, Leo does not get his deserved ending—and to an extent, neither does Leo’s wife nor, Mary, the victim. If any part of this scandal is seeming a little familiar to one and all, it may be because this pattern of rush-to-judgment, tainted evidence, and, uh, unfair politically-motivated collusion in such high-profile cases has become so ensconced in our day-to-day briefing of life that very little of such things surprises us anymore. This production of PARADE, of course, arrives at a time of exaggerated political uneasiness and further divisiveness, so it’s hard not to look at this material and see parallels still haunting our daily lives now more than ever—for some more than others, naturally. Though the central target of the musical’s tragic events is essentially a college-educaTEd White man, his “other”-ness is still a huge reason for his unfair conviction. Even African-American characters in PARADE don’t have things so easy either, allowing themselves a rare moment to breathe a sigh of (temporary) relief that the bigoted community leaders have their sights set on another “other” for the time being. The fact that at 2017, that “others” still have this fear so systematically imprinted is definitely a cause for alarm. That is certainly one of the more obvious strengths of this production: the ability to shine a light on these recurring themes in an effort to learn from despicable past practices. It is often said that looking closely at our mistakes of the past for guidance should be automatic. But are we, though? Emotionally resonant from start to finish, Chance Theater’s admirably ambitious production of PARADE creates grandness in a smaller scale, yet its impact is still palpable. As in past productions I have seen of the musical, the effectiveness of its narrative partly rests on the empathy elicited by its portrait of Leo Frank, a complicated character with several layers of emotional baggage. On one hand, Leo is a wealthy, highly-educated, slightly elitist person with a visible chip on his shoulder having to “tolerate” the people around him whom he most likely deems “less than.” Rather than engage with the, um, common folk he must supervise each day in his capacity as a manager, he instead makes the best of his situation by creating a bubble around himself, so as to have little or no interaction with the people around him. In turn, this outward behavior—Leo’s version of a security blanket—makes him all the more odd to the people around him, including his wife. How ironic that he himself falls victim to a similar (albeit much more harmful) intolerance, not doing himself any favors by having a reputation for being cold, standoffish, and dismissive. Kudos to Everman for not overacting Leo’s harrowing journey, but rather show the subtle ebb and flow between the deeply complex layers of a man just trying to put a semblance of order into his chaotic life, only to be handed a debilitating and ultimately deadly blow. Though the actor, at times does show his age physically, his level of acting maturity served the character very well. Everman’s performance elevates his co-stars’ own performances in many ways, creating a fairly cohesive ensemble, many of whom have spectacular singing voices. Musical Director Robyn Manion leads a live backstage-hidden band that well suits this production’s musical grandness. At the same time, Kinney’s set is complimented well by Masako Tobaru’s lighting design, Elizabeth Cox’s period costumes, and the soundscapes designed by Ryan Brodkin. Visually and by its enveloping sound, this PARADE is creatively satisfying. Overall, yes, the heartbreaking, fact-based musical is deeply morose and sometimes incredibly frustrating to watch as we witness injustice unfold in such an “acceptable” almost expecTEd Manner. It is no coincidence that the affectations and attitudes on display in this musical tragically still resonates in our world today, particularly in such angrily-charged times that has once again blasted the doors wide open for out-in-the-open prejudices. This is exactly why PARADE and its little-known tragedy needs to be seen and heard over and over again. Follow this reviewer on Twitter: @cre8iveMLQ. Review also published in On Stage. Photos from Chance Theater’s production of PARADE by Doug Catiller/True Image Studio. ——- Chance Theater’s Production of PARADE continues at the Cripe Stage through July 30, 2017. The Chance Theater is located in the Bette Aitken Theater Arts Center at 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim Hills, CA 92807. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 777-3033 or visit www.ChanceTheater.com

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July 24, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

Evangelical Trump supporters hark back to the good old days that … – Religion News Service

commentary By A. James Rudin | 8 hours ago Supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump cheer at a campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Oct. 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Mike Segar (RNS) I am constantly asked why in last years presidential election 81 percent of white conservative Christians voted for Donald Trump, a thrice-married, self-proclaimed womanizer whose personal behavior, religious practices and lifestyle are far different than the majority of evangelical churchgoers. The answer is not hard to find. Trumps winning mantra Make America Great Again was congruent with a wishful return to the Protestant hegemony that once existed in the United States back in the Eden-like good old days. In the recollections of many evangelicals, America was then a tranquil, moral land deeply rooted in a specific set of traditional Christian values: the shining city on the hill, an idyllic small-town nation dominated by a white male leadership group. It is a vision that offered Trump voters a fuzzy feel-good moment about a history that never happened. Those who believe such an America actually existed suffer from historical amnesia because the reality was far different. Cruel child labor and exploited immigrant workers constituted much of the work force required to build and maintain an expanding economy. It was an America that actively engaged in a vicious system of human slavery the countrys original sin only to be followed after a bloody Civil War by legally sanctioned racial segregation, discrimination and persecution. During those blissful years when America was great, women could not vote and factory and railroad workers, miners and other laborers had no recourse to collective bargaining or economic rights. There was widespread anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish and anti-Asian bigotry. Supporters pray before Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rally at Atlantic Aviation in Moon, Pa., on Nov. 6, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Mark Makela In the 19th century Catholic churches were burned, and in 1913 Leo Frank, a Jew, was lynched near Atlanta, brutally killed for a crime he did not commit. At the same time there was widespread fear of the Yellow Peril. American Indians may have unwittingly provided America with a host of geographical place names the Dakotas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and many other appellations but they were denied the right to vote in some states until the 1950s. Many tribes were victims of a U.S. policy that forcibly moved Indians into government-built reservations that were degrading and stifling. One result of the forced confinements of the tribes was a high incidence of unemployment, alcoholism and other maladies. It was an America in which millions of its citizens, including many public officials, were members of the racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan. And there were a host of other social, economic, political and cultural problems. But no matter. In the 2016 election that mythical time of pristine American greatness was invoked for millions of voters, many of them evangelical Christians who believed America had been stolen from them. They voted to take back America, and the past ills, inequities and wretched economic conditions were conveniently erased from their collective memories. In place of historical reality was a hazy image of a lost innocent America, and a desperate craving to make our nation great again. Many members of Trumps political base have not come to terms with the challenges of the modern world: rapid scientific advances especially in bioethics, growing religious indifference among millions of fellow Americans, the rapidly changing ethnic, racial and religious demographics in the U.S., and, of course, the reality of climate change. Many evangelical voters suffer a sense of political bereavement, the death of a once great Christian America. When the mourning for a lost America is combined with religious rage and spiritual certitude, it is a potent combination that astute politicians like Donald Trump can harness to their electoral advantage. That is why many white evangelicals resonate with coded language about the dreaded others in todays America: immigrants, Muslims, Hispanics, LGBTQ, secular humanists, elites out of the American mainstream, globalists, and the privileged media are regularly pilloried to garner evangelical votes. A warning: Political and religious leaders who fail to recognize that perceived sense of traumatic loss are doomed to suffer electoral failures and the steady decline of mainline Protestant church membership. The hope for a restoration, while not based on historical reality, cannot be minimized or disregarded because those feelings constitute the linchpin of Trumps conservative Christian base. As evangelicals feel themselves beleaguered and belittled in what was once their America, shrewd politicians will fine-tune their messages and continue to gain election victories. The 2016 campaign was not a quirk or a fluke. Fasten your seat belts; Americas bumpy electoral ride is certain to continue. (Rabbi A. James Rudin is the American Jewish Committees senior interreligious adviser. His latest book is Pillar of Fire: The Biography of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, published by Texas Tech University Press. He can be reached atjamesrudin.com)

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July 24, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

The week ahead in LA theater, July 23-30: ‘As You Like It,’ REDCAT’s NOW Festival and more – Los Angeles Times

Capsule reviews are by Philip Brandes (P.B.) and David C. Nichols (D.C.N.) Becoming Human Celebrity therapist and playwright Dr. Nicki J. Monti explores her difficult relationship with her mother in this new dark comedy. McCadden Place Theatre, 1157 N. McCadden Place, L.A. Sun., next Sun., 5 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 6. $30. (323) 960-4451. Billy Elliot: The Musical Based on the hit 2000 film about a working-class British lad who loves ballet. Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley. Sun., next Sun., 2 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 27. $18-$25. (805) 583-7900. Fritz Colemans One Night Comedy Show The comic/weatherman performs in a benefit show. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun., 7 p.m. $25-$50. (866) 811-4111. The Scott Brothers House Party The stars of HGTVs Property Brothers share clips, stories, songs and more. Segerstrom Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sun., 7 p.m. $49 and up. (714) 556-2787. Sondheim on Sondheim Guest vocalists including Vanessa Williams join Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil and Youth Orchestra Los Angeles for a cabaret-style presentation of this revue showcasing the Broadway composers classic songs. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. Sun., 7:30 p.m. $14-$189. (323) 850-2000. As You Like It Antaeus Theatre Company presents a partner-cast staging of Shakespeares gender-bending pastoral comedy. Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway, Glendale. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Sept. 10. $30, $34. (818) 506-1983. New Original Works Festival 2017 14th-annual three-weekend showcase for L.A.-based theater, dance and multimedia artists; program info at www.redcat.org. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 8:30 p.m.; ends Aug. 12. $16, $20; festival pass, $40. (213) 237-2800. Garbage Pail Groundlings All-new sketch show. Groundlings Theatre, 7307 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 8 and 10 p.m. $20; opening night only, $50. (323) 934-4747. Love Connie Xtreme Makeover Greatest Hits Vol. 1 Drag artist John Cantrell revisits highlights from previous shows in this revue. Cavern Club Theater, 1920 Hyperion Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat., 9 p.m.; next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends July 30. $30. (800) 838-3006. Mamma Mia Disney Channel stars Dove Cameron and Corbin Bleu head the cast of a star-studded, fully staged production of this hit romantic musical built around the songs of Swedish pop group ABBA; Kathleen Marshall directs. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 7:30 p.m.; ends July 30. $14-$196. (323) 850-2000. Misty Lee: Bold Magic The illusionist performs; for ages 12 and up. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 and 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends July 30. $35-$50. (866) 811-4111. Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes In this solo show, Hayes tells the true story behind his 1970 arrest and imprisonment in Turkey for drug smuggling, events which later inspired a hit 1978 film. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends July 30. $25, $35; discounts available. (310) 477-2055. Ball Yards The wide world of sports is satirized in Chuck Faerbers fantastical new dark comedy. Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Aug. 27. $25. (323) 960-7738. Here & Now: The Legacy of Luther Vandross Terry Steele pays tribute to the late R&B singer. Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $25-$55. (323) 964-9766. The Italian in Me Return engagement of Dina Morrones solo show about being a young actress in Rome. Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, L.A. Sat. 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends July 30. $20-$30. (323) 851-7977. The Lost Child An estranged couple have a strange encounter at a deserted cabin in the woods in Jennifer W. Rolands thriller; in repertory with The Devils Wife (opened July 15). The Skylight Theatre, 1816 1/2 North Vermont. Ave., Los Feliz. Sat., 8:30 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Sept. 3. $15-$39; both plays, $50. (213) 761-7061. Three Can Keep a Secret Audience members help decide the plot of this darkly comic crime thriller. Studio/Stage, 520 N. Western Ave., L.A. Sat., 8 p.m. $20. (818) 849-4039. Three Sisters Chekhovs classic comedy about a Russian family in decline. Archway Studio/Theatre, 10509 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; ends Aug. 26. $28. (818) 980-7529. Trouble in Mind An African American actress may have to make comprises to get ahead in Alice Childress satirical backstage drama. Will Geers Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga. Sat., next Sun., 7:30 p.m.; ends Sept. 30. $15-$38.50. (310) 455-3723. Los Angeles Womens Theatre Festival Excerpts from four solo works by female writer-performers. Veterans Memorial Building, 4117 Overland Ave., Culver City. Next Sun., 7 p.m. $18-$25. (818) 760-0408. Marlene Cindy Marinangel portrays legendary actress Marlene Dietrich in this solo bio-drama written by Willard Manus. Write Act Repertory @ Brickhouse Theatre, 10950 Peach Grove St., North Hollywood. Next Sun., 7 p.m.; ends Aug. 27. $20. (800) 838-3006. Robin Hood World premiere of Ken Ludwigs comedy about the legendary hero of Sherwood Forest and his band of merry men. The Old Globe, San Diego, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Next Sun., 7 p.m.; Sun., ends Sept. 3. $39 and up. (619) 234-5623. Shout Sister Shout! New bio-musical about gospel and R&B singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, known as the godmother of rock and roll. Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena. Next Sun., 5 p.m.; ends Aug. 20. $25-$115. (626) 356-7529. To Dad With Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen Kiki Ebsen honors her late father, the film and TV star, in this multimedia show. Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley. Next Sun., 7:30 p.m. $25, $35. (805) 583-7900. The Cake With understanding, respect and compassion for opposing points of view, This is Us writer/co-producer Bekah Brunstetters impeccably staged new dramedy explores the human repercussions when that quintessential symbol of union and hope the wedding cake becomes a flashpoint in the culture war over marriage equality. (P.B.) Echo Theater Company, Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Mon., Thu.-Sat, 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 13. $34. (310) 307-3753. Parade A mans religion and origin mark him for scapegoating when the public needs an outlet for its collective frustration. Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown base this stunner of a musical on the 1913 trial of Leo Frank, a Jewish Northerner indicted for the murder of a 13-year-old girl at the factory he supervised in Atlanta. Director Kari Hayter and a committed cast deliver a fluid, coiled production that shakes the audience to its core. (D.H.M.) Chance Theater, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Thu., 7:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends July 30. $40, $45; discounts available. (888) 455-4212. Rhinoceros With darkly hilarious urgency, this superbly-staged and disconcertingly timely revival illuminates playwright Eugene Ionescos absurdist warning about the seductively corrosive lure of herd mentality, and the fragility of civilized norms we take for granted. (P.B.) Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd., Venice. Sun., next Sun., 3 p.m.; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; next Sun., 3 p.m.; ends Sept 10. $25-$34; discounts available. (310) 822-8392.

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July 23, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed


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