Archive for the ‘Leo Frank’ Category

Review: Merry-Go-Round’s ‘Parade’ a beautiful show about ugly subjects – Auburn Citizen

With its first song, a rousing Confederate Memorial Day hymnal about “The Old Red Hills” of Georgia, “Parade” declares itself a beautiful show about ugly subjects.

Like almost every presentational aspect of the second show of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival’s season, the song itself is pristine. The vocals are mighty, the stage direction compelling. But it’s hard to look away from the stars and bars held aloft in the chorus’ hands. It’s hard to ignore the implications of the oppressive heritage their soaring voices romanticize.

The ugliness extends from the flags to the people holding them as “Parade” continues, telling the true 1913 story of Jewish factory owner Leo Frank’s frame-up for raping and murdering a girl in his employ. Through that case, Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s Tony Award winner peers beyond the black and white of Southern culture and into what they portray as its viciously insular heart. As Leo observes, “I didn’t understand that being Southern’s not just being in the South.” (Audiences in central New York, where the Confederate flag is all too commonly flown, can surely relate.)

But first, the beautiful: As Uhry and Brown have said of their 1998 work, the marriage between Leo (Aaron Galligan-Stierle) and Lucille Frank (Kristin Wetherington) is its other heart. And it’s as inspiring as the Southern mob is hideous. As their characters’ love swells resisting injustice together, Galligan-Stierle and Wetherington captivate. Whether he’s frantically showing suspicious policemen his bloodless hands or she’s erupting into shouted high notes that Leo shouldn’t “Do it Alone,” the lead duo finds a moving chemistry if only through shared dramatic and vocal excellence.

What’s also beautiful about the festival’s “Parade” isn’t so much the excellence of the rest of the cast, but the consistent excellence of so large a cast. Though it all but lacks dance choreography, Uhry and Brown’s musical is generous with its vocal spotlight. And every performer at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse seizes it with the conviction and talent of a marquee name: Jamison Stern’s corrupt prosecutor Hugh Dorsey, young Brendan Jacob Smith’s vengeful Frankie Epps, Fergie L. Philippe’s slick Jim Conley, Erin Katzker’s mournful Ms. Phagan and every other name on the playbill.

A local news reporter, Britt Craig (Scott Guthrie), is handed a career-changing story.

The cast is a force together, too. Show director and festival Producing Artistic Director Brett Smock brilliantly arranges his ensemble about designer Czerton Lim’s stage, a spiderweb of stairs and platforms with Leo often occupying its vulnerable middle. And Musical Director Jeff Theiss and his orchestra skillfully galvanize the songs with Southern battlefield rhythms and stirring strings.

“Parade’s” politics, however, are more elusive. It certainly gives Leo’s arrest and trial serious treatment, all but ceasing the jokes and applause breaks of the show’s first 20 minutes. And with second act opener “A Rumblin’ and a Rollin’,” performed by Crystal Sha’nae and Banji Aborisade’s servant characters, the show smartly calibrates its vision of 1913 America so as not to appear delusionally post-racial: “The local hotels wouldn’t be so packed if a little black girl had gotten attacked.” The song makes explicit the Southern racism that’s conspicuously absent from the first act, aside from Dorsey allegedly choosing to prosecute Leo instead of black watchman Newt Lee (Marcus Jordan) because the white factory owner’s life was worth more to the mobs crying for justice.

Still, it’s hard to locate precisely what “Parade” is trying to say outside of its love story between the Franks. Though Uhry and Brown have said they believe in Leo’s innocence, their show is not at all concerned with who’s guilty. It points no fingers toward Philippe’s Conley, whom some believe was the true culprit, and instead shines a sympathetic light on his perpetual return to the chain gang.

Not speculating on such a contentious case would be unnoteworthy if not for some of Uhry and Brown’s more curious choices in “Parade” the ones that suggest they are, indeed, trying to say something. (And that’s to say nothing of the political minefield that is staging a musical in 2017 with reverently waved Confederate flags and an immoral, scandalmongering press.)

One is “Come Up to My Office,” a boppy number that sees Galligan-Stierle spring from Leo’s hunkered posture and play the pedophile described in the hauntingly sung testimony of factory girls Madeleine VanRiper, Emma DeGroff and Adeline Whitener. It serves no clear purpose aside from creeping out the audience and bludgeoning them with the fact that Dorsey coached his witnesses.

Another curious choice is the show’s final number: a reprise of “The Old Red Hills of Home.” It not only valorizes a character who just orchestrated maybe the most horrific act in “Parade,” it subjugates Leo’s story to the culture that allowed it to happen. But is the reprise really another love letter to the South? Or does it anticipate the audience’s revulsion and use that to provoke criticism of our tendency to paper over our worst actions in the name of patriotism? As the festival’s production of “Parade” shows, sometimes beauty is the only way to see the ugly.

+6

AUBURN As it prepares to present “Parade,” the second show of its 2017 season, the Finger

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Review: Merry-Go-Round’s ‘Parade’ a beautiful show about ugly subjects – Auburn Citizen

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July 7, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

The Lynching of Leo Frank | My Jewish Learning

Falsely accused of murdering a girl, a Jew is killed by a mob while imprisoned in Georgia.

In 1913, Leo Frank was convicted of murdering Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old employee of the Atlanta pencil factory that Frank managed. After Georgias governor commuted his death sentence, a mob stormed the prison where Frank was being held and lynched him. Leo Frank thus became the only known Jew lynched in American history.

The case still spurs debate and controversy it even inspired a Broadway play. What are the facts of the Frank case?

Little Mary Phagan, as she became known, left home on the morning of April 26 to pick up her wages at the pencil factory and view Atlantas Confederate Day parade. She never returned home.

The next day, the factory night watchman found her bloody, sawdust-covered body in the factory basement. When the police asked Leo Frank, who had just completed a term as president of the Atlanta chapter of Bnai Brith (a Jewish fraternal organization), to view her body, Frank became agitated. He confirmed personally paying Mary her wages but could not say where she went next. Frank, the last to admit seeing Mary alive, became the prime suspect.

Georgias solicitor general, Hugh Dorsey, sought a grand jury indictment against Frank. Rumor circulated that Mary had been sexually assaulted. Factory employees offered apparently false testimony that Frank had made sexual advances toward them. The madam of a house of ill repute claimed that Frank had phoned her several times, seeking a room for himself and a young girl.

In this era, the cult of Southern chivalry made it a hanging crime for African-American males to have sexual contact with the flower of white womanhood. The accusations against Frank, a Northern-born, college-educated Jew, proved equally inflammatory.

For the grand jury, Hugh Dorsey painted Leo Frank as a sexual pervert who was both homosexual and who preyed on young girls. What he did not tell the grand jury was that a janitor at the factory, Jim Conley, had been arrested two days after Frank when he was seen washing blood off his shirt. Conley then admitted writing two notes that had been found by Mary Phagans body. The police assumed that, as author of these notes, Conley was the murderer, but Conley claimed, after apparent coaching from Dorsey, that Leo Frank had confessed to murdering Mary in the lathe room and then paid Conley to pen the notes and help him move Marys body to the basement.

Even after Franks housekeeper placed him at home, having lunch at the time of the murder and despite gross inconsistencies in Conleys story, both the grand and trial jury chose to believe Conley. This was perhaps the first instance of a Southern black mans testimony being used to convict a white man. In August of 1913, the jury found Frank guilty in less than four hours. Crowds outside the courthouse shouted, Hang the Jew.

Historian Leonard Dinnerstein reports that one juror had been overheard to say before his selection for the jury, I am glad they indicted the God damn Jew. They ought to take him out and lynch him. And if I get on that jury, Ill hang that Jew for sure.

Facing intimidation and mob rule, the trial judge sentenced Frank to death. He barred Frank from the courtroom on the grounds that, had he been acquitted, Frank might have been lynched by the crowd outside.

Despite these breaches of due process, Georgias higher courts rejected Franks appeals and the U. S. Supreme Court voted, 7-2, against reopening the case, with Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Charles Evans Hughes dissenting. Franks survival depended on Georgia GovernorFrank Slaton. After a 12-day review of the evidence and letters recommending commutation from the trial judge (who must have had second thoughts) and from a private investigator who had worked for Hugh Dorsey, Slaton commuted Franks sentence to life imprisonment.

That night, state police kept a protesting crowd of 5,000 from the governors mansion. Wary Jewish families fled Atlanta. Slaton held firm. Two thousand years ago, he wrote a few days later, another Governor washed his hands and turned over a Jew to a mob. For two thousand years that governors name has been accursed. If today another Jew [Leo Frank] were lying in his grave because I had failed to do my duty, I would all through life find his blood on my hands and would consider myself an assassin through cowardice.

On August 17, 1915, a group of 25 men described by peers as sober, intelligent, of established good name and character stormed the prison hospital where Leo Frank was recovering from having his throat slashed by a fellow inmate. They kidnapped Frank, drove him more than 100 miles to Mary Phagans hometown of Marietta, Georgia, and hanged him from a tree.

Frank conducted himself with dignity, calmly proclaiming his innocence.

Townsfolk were proudly photographed beneath Franks swinging corpse, pictures still valued today by their descendants. When his term expired a year later, Slaton did not run for reelection and Dorsey easily won election to the governors office.

In 1986, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles finally granted Leo Frank a posthumous pardon, not because they thought him innocent, but because his lynching deprived him of his right to further appeal. Mary Phagans descendants and their supporters still insist on his guilt.

Reprinted with permission of the American Jewish Historical Society from Chapters in American History.

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The Lynching of Leo Frank | My Jewish Learning

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July 5, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

Preview: With ‘Parade,’ Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival asks audience to ‘let us move you’ – Auburn Citizen

Speaking at a company-wide meeting Friday at the festival’s Westminster Presbyterian Church offices, producing artistic director Brett Smock, who is also directing the show, articulated the request.

“We’re ready to bring people in and say, ‘Don’t judge. Sit down, and let us move you,'” he said. “Let us put this in front of you and let us move you. Come in with an open mind and an open heart, the same way you do to a TV show. If you’re doing it to Netflix, why won’t you do it to live theater?”

Smock said once a year the festival makes “a point of finding a piece that fosters dialogue,” and identified “Parade” as that show this year.

But unlike with “From Here to Eternity,” “Cabaret” and other socially conscious showstoppers that have taken the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse stage, the festival went an extra step to preserve the enigma surrounding “Parade”: It declined its traditional preview interview with The Citizen. Instead, the festival invited media to a sneak peak of the show at its annual company-wide meeting Friday.

First, Smock recognized the festival’s 225 employees in administration, production and other areas that made possible its 199 performanceslast summer and the Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre’s 917 performances last year. Also remarking on their artistic work were Lisa Chase, director of the youth program, and Joshua Katzker, coordinator of new musicals series The Pitch.

“The Pitch has created theater literacy in Auburn,” Smock said. “We couldn’t do ‘Parade’ without The Pitch.”

Then, Smock invited “Parade” leads Aaron Galligan-Stierle and Kristin Wetherington to the podium. As Leo and Lucille Frank, they’re at the center of the 1913 true story that inspired Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s Tony Award-winning 1998 critical smash. It saw Leo, a Jewish factory owner in Georgia, dubiously arrested and convicted for raping and murdering 13-year-old employee Mary Phagan (Shannon Beel). The musical touches on themes of Southern pride, racism, antisemitism, injustice and love in the face of adversity.

Some of those themes were on display Friday during two numbers that provided festival staff and Auburn community leaders their sneak peek at “Parade.” First, Galligan-Stierle and Wetherington dueted on “This is Not Over Yet,” a mid-tempo showcase of both leads’ vocal abilities. Afterward, Smock shared a story about seeing Galligan-Stierle at an audition more than a decade ago and trying to remember the third part of his name for years, then finding him and reaching out with the role of Leo Frank. The performer has proven “just as brilliant as he was then,” Smock said.

The meeting concluded with the cast of “Parade” assembling to perform the show’s prologue, “The Old Red Hills of Home.” Captivating their peers with solos were Alexander Zenoz and David Atkinson, who portray the same soldier: first bidding farewell to a sweetheart as he leaves to fight in the Civil War, and then preparing to march in a Confederate Memorial Day parade 50 years later.

As echoes of the 20-person chorus faded from the room, Smock said he felt like a proud father.

“I believe in the power of pieces like ‘Parade,'” he said earlier.

Director Brett Smock speaks about the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday.

Audience members listen as director Brett Smock speaksat an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday.

Cast members perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday.

Actors Aaron Galligan-Stierle, as Leo, left, and Kristin Wetherington, as Lucille, perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade” at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday.

Actors Aaron Galligan-Stierle, as Leo, and Kristin Wetherington, as Lucille, far right, perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday.

The audience applauds after actors Aaron Galligan-Stierle, as Leo, and Kristin Whitener, as Lucille, perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday.

Director Brett Smock speaks about the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday.

Audience members listen as director Brett Smock speaksat an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday.

Cast members perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday.

Actors Aaron Galligan-Stierle, as Leo, left, and Kristin Wetherington, as Lucille, perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade” at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday.

Actors Aaron Galligan-Stierle, as Leo, and Kristin Wetherington, as Lucille, far right, perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday.

The audience applauds after actors Aaron Galligan-Stierle, as Leo, and Kristin Whitener, as Lucille, perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday.

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Preview: With ‘Parade,’ Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival asks audience to ‘let us move you’ – Auburn Citizen

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

PARADE at Writers Theatre to Extend Through 7/15 – Broadway World

Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, adds a week of performances to the run of Parade, with book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, co-conceived by Harold Prince. The Writers Theatre production of Parade is directed by Gary Griffin and features musical direction by Michael Mahler and choreography by Ericka Mac. Parade now runs through July 15, 2017 in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe.

This stirring, Tony Award-winning musical explores the endurance of love and hope against seemingly insurmountable odds, telling the true story of Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-raised Jewish man falsely accused of murder in 1913 Atlanta. Innovative and daring, and filled with soaring music, Parade is a moving love story, a riveting murder mystery, a gripping courtroom drama and a powerful exploration of innocence and navet coming face-to-face with ignorance and prejudice.

Acclaimed director Gary Griffin, who directed the original Broadway production of Jason Robert Brown’s Honeymoon in Vegas and the world premiere of his The Trumpet of the Swan at the Kennedy Center, stages an intimate revival of this celebrated musical. With a book by playwright Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) and a score by Brown (The Last Five Years, The Bridges of Madison County) that combines folk, rock, R&B and gospel, Parade ends WT’s 25th Anniversary Season with spectacular impact.

The cast of Parade includes: Larry Adams (Old Soldier/Judge Roan/Ensemble), Patrick Andrews (Leo Frank), Brianna Borger (Lucille Frank), Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (Jim Conley), McKinley Carter (Mrs. Phagan/Sally Slaton), Devin DeSantis (Britt Craig/Young Soldier/Ensemble), Kevin Gudahl (Hugh Dorsey/Ensemble), Derek Hasenstab (Governor John Slaton/Ensemble), Nicole Michelle Haskins (Minola “Minnie” McKnight/Angela), Caroline Heffernan (Mary Phagan/Ensemble), Lindsay Maron (Essie/Ensemble), Zoe Nadal (Monteen/Ensemble), Jake Nicholson (Frankie Epps/Ensemble), Jeff Parker (Tom Watson/Ensemble), Leryn Turlington (Iola Stover/Ensemble), and Jonah D. Winston (Newt Lee/Riley).

The creative team includes: Matt Deitchman (Associate Music Director & Piano/Conductor), Scott Davis (Scenic Designer), Mara Blumenfeld (Costume Designer), Christine Binder (Lighting Designer), Ray Nardelli (Sound Designer) and Scott Dickens (Properties Master). Bobby Kennedy is the Dramaturg, David Castellanos is the Production Stage Manager and Nick Moran is the CFM Contractor.

Single tickets for Parade, priced $35 – $80, are available online at www.writerstheatre.org, by phone at 847-242-6000, or in person at the box office at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe.

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PARADE at Writers Theatre to Extend Through 7/15 – Broadway World

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

Review: Parade – Hyde Park Herald

A scene from Parade now playing at the Writers Theatre in Nichols Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, Ill. through July 2. Michael Brosilow

RECOMMENDED

Where: Writers Theatre, Nichols Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe When: through July 2 Tickets: $35-$80 Phone: 847-242-6000

By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic

Writers Theatre could not have assembled a better team for the production of Parade that closes its season, and the musical by Alfred Uhry (book) and Jason Robert Brown (music and lyrics), co-conceived by Harold Prince, is every bit as timelyif not more sothan when it premiered on Broadway in 1998.

The subject is a true miscarriage of justice that happened more than a century ago but would not be out of the question today. In 1913, Leo Frank, the manager of a pencil factory in Atlanta, Georgia, was accused of raping and murdering Mary Phagan, a thirteen-year-old employee. Although a night watchman was originally suspected, and a janitor likely committed the crime, Frank became the target because he was Jewish and a college-educated northerner from Brooklyn, New York. He was convicted and sentenced to hang, but the case caused outrage outside of the South, and Georgia Governor John Slaton re-examined the evidence and commuted the sentence to life in prison. Alas, Frank was kidnapped from the prison to which hed been transferred, taken to Phagans hometown of Marietta, GA, and lynched. Ironically, this led to both the revival of the KKK and the birth of the Jewish civil rights organization, the Anti-Defamation League.

Uhry and Brown, whose book and soaring sung-through score won 1999 Tony Awards respectively, shape the material to focus on two main themes: how the self-interest, ambition, venality, and prejudice of those involved caused what happened, and how the ordeal sparked the love between Leo and his wife, Lucille, and brought them closer together. Significantly, they begin with an American Civil War prologue in MariettaThe Old Red Hills of Homeshowing a young Confederate soldier going off to fight, then returning years later as a crippled old man preparing to march in the Confederate Memorial Day parade. This memorial day (April 26) marks important moments in the story, starting with Frankwho reveals his discomfort at being a Jewish Yankee in the South in How Can I Call This Home?deciding to go into work on the holiday rather than on a picnic with Lucille, who is Jewish but an assimilated Atlanta native.

Directed by Gary Griffin, who also directed a 2015 concert version in New York, Writers intimate show spotlights the couples changing relationship. Cannily cast to highlight their physical differences and real-life counterparts, Patrick Andrews short, thin, edgy Leo and Brianna Borgers taller, fuller Lucille are a study in contrasts, and she initially bemoans the state of their marriage and her unfulfilled life in Leo At Work/What Am I Waiting For? A deliberately far-from-perfect hero, he comes across as a self-involved workaholic who takes his wife for granted and thinks he can do everything himself. He wants her to be at the trial (shes reluctant) because her absence will make him look guilty, but even after hes convicted and his appeals go nowhere, he tells her not to intercede on his behalf. His attitude starts to change when she has some success, bringing renewed hope in their song This Is Not Over Yet and a full expression of love in All the Wasted Time, when they believe he will soon be free.

Lucilles courage and determination in supporting Leo and taking on the powers that be are a centerpiece of the show, and Borger, a splendid singer and actor, is more than up to the task. Shes the one who gets Governor Slaton (Derek Hasenstab) to look at the case anew at the cost of his own careertelling him hes a fool or a coward if the doesnt realize it was riggedand the challenges are formidable. Besides exposing the communitys general antisemitism, racism, and penchant for mob action, Uhry and Brown detail specific instances of corruption.

The prosecutor, smarmy Hugh Dorsey (Kevin Gudahl), is especially egregious. He trumps up false evidence on all fronts, from coaching Phagans female coworkers to give identical accounts of inappropriate sexual behavior on Leos part to offering escaped-convict janitor Jim Conley (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis, whose Blues: Feel the Rain Fall brings down the house) immunity in a previous case if he testifies that he witnessed the murder and helped Frank cover it up. Dorsey later maneuvers to become governor in the wake of Slatons change of heart, getting support from Judge Roan (Larry Adams) and right-wing extremist newspaperman Tom Watson (Jeff Parker). Even ordinary local reporter Britt Craig (Devin DeSantis) is delighted by the trial, the Big News thats bound to make his career, and he slants his coverage accordingly.

While Frankie Epps (Jake Nicholson) wants revenge for the death of his sweetheart, others, such as the Franks maid Minola Minnie McKnight (Nicole Michelle Haskins), have more complicated motives for not telling the truth. Browns songs, used entirely to further the action, draw on pop-rock, blues, folk, gospel, and other American genres to cover the range of reactions. In a particularly telling second-act opener, A Rumblin and a Rollin, the African American domestics Angela and Riley (Haskins and Jonah D. Winston) wonder if the northern objections to Franks conviction would have been as strong if the victim had been black.

Under the musical director of Michael Mahler, the small unseen orchestra and large ensemble (with some doubling) are in fine form, though they seem to be singing to the back of the house, because almost everything sounded a bit too loud in the front row. Ericka Macs choreography is effective though not extravagant, and the designscenery by Scott Davis, costumes by Mara Blumenfeld, lighting by Christine Binder, sound by Ray Nardellicontributes to a Parade you dont want to miss and wont soon forget.

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Review: Parade – Hyde Park Herald

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June 20, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

Parade at Writers Theatre: more relevant now than ever – ChicagoNow (blog)

Patrick Andrews is Leo Frank and Brianna Borger is his wife, Lucille, in the Writers Theatre production of Jason Robert Brown’s musical, “Parade.” (Photo: Michael Brosilow)

There are many things I love about the South including grits and shrimp along with my husband–a bred and born Louisiana boy.

There are other things, not so much. And although the South has changed a lot since the early 20th century–there are still pockets of prejudice in the South and throughout the country–yes Chicago, even you–that are disturbing.

Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s musical “Parade” with book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, co-conceived by Harold Prince in its current remount at Writers Theatre makes this perfectly clear.

Writers’ powerful new production directed by Gary Griffin with musical direction by Michael Mahler and choreography by Ericka Mac is arguably even more relevant today than when it was first written–with anti-Semitism, racial discrimination, and political corruption rearing its ugly head in social media, on the streets and behind-the-scenes way too often in today’s America.

“Parade” explores it all through a historical lens focusing on the 1913 true story of Leo Frank, a target of prejudice, ignorance and political ambition.

The story…

What’s a Jewish boy from Brooklyn to do when he lands in 1910 Atlanta…and WHY!

In a city that still hasn’t recovered from the Civil War…and marches to a different drummer…Leo Frank (Patrick Andrews), has come to Atlanta to be a supervisor at his uncle’s pencil factory.

He soon discovers that the South is very different from the North. Even the Jews are different.

His wife, Lucille (Brianna Borger), to whom he has been married for three years when the story opens on Memorial Day, 1913 is a Southern Jew.

Lucille is trying to convince Leo to take off work to go with her to the Memorial Day parade. Not just any Memorial Day parade but the Confederate Memorial Day Parade.

Instead, he goes to work. Hours later he finds himself accused of murdering an employee of his factory–a 13-year-old girl who is found dead on the premises.

A musical may seem like a strange format to bring this story to life…this is not the “Sound of Music,” this is about the trial and lynching of a wrongly accused Jew–nothing to sing about.

But the musical format works beautifully with a talented cast of singers and musicians bringing the story of hate, ambition, prejudice and ignorance juxtaposed with a compelling love story alive.

Jonathan Butler-Duplessis plays Jim Conley in the Writers Theatre production of Jason Robert Browns musical, Parade. | Michael Brosilow

Writers “Parade” comes complete with a first-rate cast, outstanding direction and a talented design team to showcase this very important story in the best possible way.

The cast of Parade includes: Larry Adams (Old Soldier/Judge Roan/Ensemble), Patrick Andrews (Leo Frank), Brianna Borger (Lucille Frank), Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (Jim Conley), McKinley Carter (Mrs. Phagan/Sally Slaton), Devin DeSantis (Britt Craig/Young Soldier/Ensemble), Kevin Gudahl (Hugh Dorsey/Ensemble), Derek Hasenstab (Governor John Slaton/Ensemble), Nicole Michelle Haskins (Minola “Minnie” McKnight/Angela), Caroline Heffernan (Mary Phagan/Essie/Ensemble), Zoe Nadal (Monteen/Ensemble), Jake Nicholson (Frankie Epps/Ensemble), Jeff Parker (Tom Watson/Ensemble), Leryn Turlington (Iola Stover/Ensemble), and Jonah D. Winston (Newt Lee/Riley).

The creative team includes: Matt Deitchman (Associate Music Director & Piano/Conductor), Scott Davis (Scenic Designer),Mara Blumenfeld (Costume Designer), Christine Binder (Lighting Designer), Ray Nardelli (Sound Designer) and Scott Dickens (Properties Master). Bobby Kennedy is the Dramaturg, David Castellanos is the Production Stage Manager and Nick Moran is the CFM Contractor.

This production is definitely worth the trip to Glencoe.

When: Extended through July 9

Where: Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

Running time: 2 hours, 35 minutes

Tickets: $35 to $80

Rating: 4 Stars

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June 12, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

Historian Sarna warns of anti-Semitic backlash in US if Kushner indicted – The Times of Israel

For preeminent American Jewish historian Prof. Jonathan Sarna, overcoming the Cassandra syndrome has been an uphill battle of late.

Well cognizant of historys repetitions, during a recent marathon summary of the Jewish condition in the US for a select group of Jewish professionals in Jerusalem, the scholar drew historical parallels and warned the leaders of possible future outcomes.

One case in point was an investigation involving President Donald Trumps son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, arguably Americas most famous Orthodox Jew (especially when his religiosity is put into question).

Kushner, while not directly under suspicion, was recently named a person of interest by special counsel Robert Mueller, who was hired to oversee the Department of Justices investigation into suspected coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election.

According to a recent Associated Press report quoting Maine Senator Angus King, Kushner is expected to meet with staff from the Senate Intelligence Committee, including King, as early as next week to answer questions about his meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

In addition to Kushners December meeting with Sergey Kislyak to allegedly set up back-channel communications, he met last year with Sergey Gorkov, the chief executive of an American-sanctioned Russian bank, Vnesheconombank, or VEB. That meeting has also drawn condemnation from a Putin-wary America; the Arabic-speaking Gorkov is a former intelligence agent with direct ties to the Russian president.

Jared Kushner is seen at the Royal Court after US President Donald Trump received the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

With anti-Semitic websites jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon and claiming a Jewish connection between Kushner and Gorkov (who is not known to be a Jew), at a recent intimate lecture hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America at Jerusalems Beit Avichai, Sarna warned Jewish community leaders to prepare for fallout.

Citing insinuations made by Politico that Kushner had used his ties to Chabad through Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar to make connections with the Kremlin, Sarna said that, if substantiated, the scandal could be a major problem for the US Jewish community in that its loyalty will once again be called into question.

We ought to be prepared for that eventuality. Somebody ought to be writing a memo, said Sarna. If Kushner is indicted, we need to be prepared.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, is greeted by Russias Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar in Moscow, June 13, 2013. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Images/via JTA)

After his talk, in a wide-ranging interview peppered with Jewish humor, the longtime Brandeis professor touched on the history of American anti-Semitism, the dissonance between the Israeli and American Jewish perceptions of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, and what he sees as his own role as a tenured academic.

The people who will make hay of Mr. Kushner always knew that there was a Jewish conspiracy even before there was such a thing. But smart Jewish leaders need to be forward looking, Sarna told The Times of Israel.

With a shrug and a smile, he continued, I think every Jewish community needs to worry its good for Jews to worry and always be nervous.

One of your courses is about three instances of anti-Semitism in American Jewish history. How does whats happening now compare to those instances, and what were the three?

First, when General [Ulysses S.] Grant expelled the Jews [from Paducah, Kentucky] during the Civil War [on December 17, 1862], which was an existential threat to the community. [Following the Jews expulsion, on January 4, 1863, president Abraham Lincoln ordered Grant to revoke the order.]

Theyd been expelled from a large area and nothing, I think, comparable to today, although theres much that can be learned: Jews in many ways were in the position of Muslims [today], viewed as traitors and smugglers, and so on, in the Civil War.

The second that I teach is Henry Ford. Again, it does have parallels. Since it was a new immigrant group after all, a couple of million Jews had immigrated and Henry Ford portrayed them as the great problem of the world. The worlds foremost problem, he called Jews. And even looking at some of Fords writing, you see parallels to other groups, because he makes kind of truth and innuendo, selective truth. Its also important for students to know that only a century ago, Jews were in the position that other groups are in today.

The Leo Frank lynching, August 17, 1915 (Public domain)

Third, I usually do the Leo Frank case. [A factory manager in Atlanta, Georgia, Frank was accused and convicted of the murder of a 13-year-old employee, Mary Phagan.] Brandeis has a lot of papers of Leo Frank. That requires you to understand the South: Its the lynching of a Jew, and hes important in terms of mob psychology and how this poor fellow When the community was sure that he was really guilty, they just took him out and lynched him. And one can really see the worst that human beings are capable of.

And the amazing thing is that there are still people who are persuaded that Leo Frank was guilty even though we know I mean, at the time there was a lot of evidence that it wasnt true and we now have people who have confessed that they know exactly who did the job. But I just saw in one of the papers this week that Nazis are trying to reopen the case. So it was important enough in America, much like but not identical to the Dreyfus case [the 1894 trial and conviction of the French Jewish artillery officer on charges for treason famously spurred Theodor Herzl toward Zionism].

In your talk, you mentioned the Jonathan Pollard case in reference to Kushner. You dont see Pollard as an epoch of American anti-Semitism as well?

Thats a very important question. Pollard is understood totally differently in Israel and in most of American Jewry. [Unlike in Israel, in the United States] theres not a groundswell of acceptance, more pockets of the Orthodox community. Theres not a lot of sympathy for Pollard, who most people believe passed a lot of information that he wasnt supposed to pass on.

Now, did he get a strong sentence, maybe stronger than he should have? Yes. But remember something crucial which is always forgotten here: The average American spy, when hes caught he serves time, and then he says chattati, pashati, aviti [Ive sinned]. He says, Im sorry, he gets out of jail, he never opens his mouth again to the newspapers, its all hushed up, and then one day he dies.

Jonathan and Esther Pollard following his release from prison, November 20, 2015. (Courtesy of Justice for Jonathan Pollard/JTA)

Pollard, uniquely, has argued that he is an assir Zion [Prisoner of Zion], that he should be seen as a kind of Natan Sharansky figure, and thats why Pollard has continued. Thats why he was in jail so long, and thats why they wont let him go to Israel. Because from the perspective of the establishment in the United States, to have him seen as a hero is absolutely unthinkable.

So if he had played by the same rules as everyone else which he did briefly if he said, I made a terrible mistake, I greatly regret it, I paid my dues, Ill never do it again, he would long ago have been a free man. He probably could have traveled too. But because he is insistent that he wants to be greeted like Natan Sharansky, and he has been persuaded or has persuaded himself that he is an assir Zion it will never happen, I dont think Trump will do it.

By turning Pollard into a hero, you are essentially saying, Jews are a third column in America, they care much more about Jews than they care about the country

Whats so interesting especially now that hes out of jail is that theres not a lot of sympathy for Pollard, because he also has this self-image which is at variance with the way most American Jews view it. I dont think he can be a hero, because if hes a hero no Jew will ever be employed in government again, and every Jew will be suspect. So by turning him into a hero, you are essentially saying, Jews are a third column in America, they care much more about Jews than they care about the country. You are feeding what every anti-Semite believes. And I think that Mr. Pollard did grave damage, and its astonishing to me that he doesnt see that.

But I know people who served in the military, and they think Pollard sullied everything. We fought to prove Jews are brave and loyal and fight for their country. To their mind, and one of them said to me, He should have been hung like Haman, and hes damn lucky. If it had been up to us And nobody in Israel understands any of that.

Are there other examples of this disconnect in conception between Israel and the United States?

If you go back in the archive, youll see the Rosenberg affair. In Israel the Rosenbergs were largely seen as victims of anti-Semitism, and most of the newspapers viewed it that way. In America, [Julius] Rosenberg was seen as a spy who got what he deserved because he handed over crucial secrets and of course today we know that as a fact from the Venona documents.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, separated by heavy wire screen as they leave a US court house after being found guilty by jury. (Public domain/Wikipedia)

Yes, there are still a few die-hards who support the Rosenbergs, especially [Ethel], but even in the 1950s it was the same difference, because Israelis imagine that anti-Semitism is really at the core of the Diaspora; thats how Zionist ideology works. And American Jews argue that if youre a spy and you hand over documents, then youre a traitor and thats all.

So lets take the case of Kushner. You very strongly said there should be a memo where the American Jewish leaders should be prepared for some kind of fallout if indeed he is indicted for collusion with the Russians, perhaps via his connections with Chabad. What do you mean by that and how should they be prepared?

I hope its not true. I know people who know him, who speak well of him. But, if he is indicted, since its been so widely touted that hes Orthodox and especially, if God forbid it turns out that he utilized kind of Jewish connections, then I think it will inevitably raise insinuations, discredit, doubts, from people who have always believed that Jews have multiple loyalties, and they will point to this and say, See, we were right all along. We knew that Jews are not really loyal.

The very idea that Jews are more loyal to Russia, which has persecuted and murdered Jews, than to America is absurd, but thats what will be said, and talking to Jewish leaders, one thinks that they need to be prepared.

Bernie Madoff arriving at a Manhattan federal court, March 12, 2009. (Stephen Chernin/Getty Images via JTA)

That doesnt mean its true. In the same way that Jewish leaders needed to be prepared for [Ponzi scheme perpetrator Bernie] Madoff, and nothing happened after Madoff. There was tremendous fear in the community that Madoff would lead to one person privately called me, and asked if I expect pogroms.

But after all, it was a disastrous event, and there was for a time a fair bit of anti-Semitism. Of course, as I said at the time, those people knew the Jews were responsible for the economic collapse even before the economic collapse happened, because Jews are always responsible. And so it will be now.

Ralph Goldman meets with the PresenTense team, October 2010 (Photo c/o Ariel Beery)

The people who will make hay of Mr. Kushner always knew that there was a Jewish conspiracy even before there was such a thing. But smart Jewish leaders need to be forward-looking. I mean, when I look at the true great Jewish leaders, lets say, Ralph Goldman, the longtime head of the Joint [JDC] what was so astonishing about him was he was always thinking of the future rather than the present. Even in his late 90s I had a meeting with him, and thats the way we have to think.

One of the roles that somebody like me, who is, after all, tenured and not an insider, can play is to ask some of these questions to suggest that maybe the community should think about certain issues, and hopefully that will happen.

Prof. Jonathan Sarna in an interview following a lecture hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America at Jerusalem’s Beit Avichai, on May 28, 2017. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)

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Historian Sarna warns of anti-Semitic backlash in US if Kushner indicted – The Times of Israel

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What’s happening on Long Island this weekend – liherald.com

Mark Brier returns to the Elmont Memorial Library theater on Sunday as host of an afternoon of comedy.

Performances/On Stage

Demetri Martin The quirky comedian on tour, Thursday, June 8, 8 p.m. $79.50, $69.50, $49.50, $39.50, $29.50, $25. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com or www.paramountny.com. Oklahoma!The classical musical set in Oklahoma at the turn of the 20th century, Thursday and Friday, June 8-9, 8 p.m.; Saturday, June 10, 3 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, June 11, 2 and 7 p.m.; Wednesday, June 14, 8 p.m. $76 and $71. John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport. (631) 261-2900. Molly Sweeney A Script-In-Hand Theatre production of Brian Friels acclaimed brooding meditation on sight and blindness, Friday, June 9, 7 p.m. Oceanside Library, 30 Davison Ave., Oceanside. 766-2360. Parade The award-winning musical that dramatizes the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank, Friday and Saturday, May 9-10, 8 p.m.; Sunday, June 11, 3 p.m. $22, $20 students and seniors Friday and Sunday. Merrick Theatre & Center for the Arts, 2222 Hewlett Ave., Merrick. 868-6400 or www.merrick-theatre.com. Women of Broadway Yvette Malavet-Blum and Daniel Ragone in concert, Friday, June 9, 12:30 p.m. Program includes tunes from Evita, Avenue Q, West Side Story, and more. Elmont Memorial Library Theater, 700 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont. 354-5280. Young Frankenstein The acclaimed adaptation of Mel Brooks iconic film, Friday and Saturday, June 9-10, 8 p.m.; Sunday, June 11, 2:30 p.m. $24, $22 seniors, $20 students, $15 youth 12 and under; $29 at door. BroadHollow Theatre, BayWay Arts Center, 265 E. Main St., East Islip. (631) 581-2700 or www.broadhollow.org. The Fab Faux The Beatles tribute band in concert, with The Hogshead Horns and Creme Tangerine Strings, Saturday, June 10, 8 p.m. $89, $79 and $59. The Space, 250 Post Ave. Westbury. 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com or www.thespaceatwestbury.com. I Love the 90s The Fresh Kids of Bel-Air perform 90s hits, Saturday, June 10, 8 p.m. $30, $25, $20, $15. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com or www.paramountny.com. Maxwell The neo soul singer-songwriter in concert, with special guest Ledisi, Saturday, June 10, 7:30 p.m. Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale. (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com or www.nassaucoliseum.com. Oceanside Chorale The Chorale presents its annual Spring Sing, Saturday, June 10, 8 p.m. Program includes selections from The Musican Man, The Student Prince and Beatiful, and more. Fulton Avenue School, 3252 Fulton Ave., Oceanside. $10. 764-2787 or www.OceansideSings.com. Berman Does Broadway Lisa Berman is joined by performers Ruthe McKeown and Stephen Gold- stein, for a concert of Broadway show tunes, Sunday, June 11, 5:30 p.m. Peninsula Public Library, 280 Central Ave., Lawrence. 239-3262. Comedy Extravaganza Mark Brier hosts an afternoon of stand-up comedy, Sunday, June 11, 2 p.m. He is joined by local comics. Elmont Memorial Library Theater, 700 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont. 354-5280. Sugar & Spice Sugar & Spice Soul Band in concert, with a Motown tribute, Sunday, June 11, 2 p.m. Program includes hits by Gladys Knight, The Temptations, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and more. Oceanside Library, 30 Davison Ave., Oceanside. 766-2360. United Choral Society The chorus presents its annual spring concert, Sunday, June 11, 2 p.m. Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library, 1125 Broadway, Hewlett. 374-1967.

For the Kids

Journey to Oz Visit Oz in a charming interactive production inspired by L. Frank Baums stories, Thursday and Friday, June 8-9, 10:15 a.m. and 12 p.m.; Saturday, June 10, 11:30 and 2 p.m. Audience members are invited to become part of the cast, assisted by the actors, in this lively show. $9 with museum admission ($7 members), $12 theater only. Long Island Childrens Museum, Museum Row, Garden City. 224-5800 or www. licm.org. Full Moon Astronomy Night On the night of a full moon, explore our nearest neighbor in space, at the Center for Science Teaching and Learning, Friday, June 9, 7:30-9 p.m. $10. Pre-registration required. Center for Science Teaching and Learning, 1 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre. 764-0045 or www.cstl.org. Eat Up: Whats Cookin Visit Old Westbury Gardens for a culinary adventure, Saturday, June 10, 12 p.m. Discover tasty delights growing in the garden beds. Concoct and sample a simple recipe full of delicious seasonal flavors. Free with admission. Old Westbury Gardens, 71 Westbury Rd., Old Westbury. 333-0048 or www.oldwestbury.org. Weird School Trivia Night Test your knowledge and compete to win prizes, Tuesday, June 13, 6:30 p.m. For grades 2-5. Peninsula Public Library, 280 Central Ave., Lawrence. 239-3262. Drive-In Movie Fun Decorate a cardboard car and watch Maters Tall Tales, Thursday, June 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m. For ages 3-6. Bellmore Memorial Library, 2288 Bedford Ave., Bellmore. 785-2990.

Museums/Galleries and more…

Converging Voices: Gender and Identity An original exhibition that focuses on issues of gender and identity, reflecting an international scope. Featured artists include Ghada Amer, Mariam Ghani, Martine Gutierrez, Guerrilla Girls, Yee I-Lann, Zanele Muholi, Pinaree Sanpitak, Carrie Mae Weems, and Philemona Williamson. Through Dec. 15. Hofstra Universitys Emily Lowe Gallery, Emily Lowe Hall, South Campus, Hempstead. 463-5672 or www.hostra.edu/museum. Halston Style A comprehensive retrospective of the works of the American fashion designer Halston. The exhibition includes many never-before-seen objects from the designers personal archives and more than 60 Halston fashions, juxtaposed with photographs, artwork, illustrations and accessories as well as film and video documentation. Through July 9. Nassau County Museum of Art, 1 Museum Dr., Roslyn Harbor. 484-9337 or www.nassaumuseum.org.

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What’s happening on Long Island this weekend – liherald.com

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This Week In Chicago: A Musical About A LynchingAnd Lots of Books! – Forward

As your mother said, Its nice! Go outside! The corpse flower is in bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden. What are you waiting for?

This weekend also marks the return of the annual Printers Row LitFest, when the book people inherit the earth, or at least take over the entire South Loop. Publishers and booksellers from across the Midwest will set up booths along Polk between State and Clark and Dearborn between Harrison and Polk where you can spend many happy hours browsing. (Dont worry, there will be food and beverage booths to sustain you.)

In addition dozensyes, dozensof authors will be on hand to talk about their work, including Allegra Goodman, Jason Diamond, Sidney Blumenthal, Kevin Coval, Doree Shafrir, Renee Rosen, Jonathan Safran Foer, Dani Shapiro, and a lot of other writers who arent even Jewish. As in years past, all author events are free, except for the headliners: Senator Al Franken and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ($35 each); a $50 festival pass will get you access to both headliners and the express signing lines as well as some free swag.

A musical about a lynching is kind of a hard sell. But Writers Theatres production of Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Browns Parade, is presenting a dramatizationyes, with singingof the trial, kidnapping, and killing of Leo Frank, a New York Jew accused of raping and murdering a young employee of his Atlanta pencil factory. The play has received lots of praise from the citys theater critics. The Tribunes Chris Jones writes that Parade has special resonance at this particular moment, just weeks after New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu declared the Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity and that the performances by the cast are just as worthy.

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This Week In Chicago: A Musical About A LynchingAnd Lots of Books! – Forward

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Review: Merry-Go-Round’s ‘Parade’ a beautiful show about ugly subjects – Auburn Citizen

With its first song, a rousing Confederate Memorial Day hymnal about “The Old Red Hills” of Georgia, “Parade” declares itself a beautiful show about ugly subjects. Like almost every presentational aspect of the second show of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival’s season, the song itself is pristine. The vocals are mighty, the stage direction compelling. But it’s hard to look away from the stars and bars held aloft in the chorus’ hands. It’s hard to ignore the implications of the oppressive heritage their soaring voices romanticize. The ugliness extends from the flags to the people holding them as “Parade” continues, telling the true 1913 story of Jewish factory owner Leo Frank’s frame-up for raping and murdering a girl in his employ. Through that case, Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s Tony Award winner peers beyond the black and white of Southern culture and into what they portray as its viciously insular heart. As Leo observes, “I didn’t understand that being Southern’s not just being in the South.” (Audiences in central New York, where the Confederate flag is all too commonly flown, can surely relate.) But first, the beautiful: As Uhry and Brown have said of their 1998 work, the marriage between Leo (Aaron Galligan-Stierle) and Lucille Frank (Kristin Wetherington) is its other heart. And it’s as inspiring as the Southern mob is hideous. As their characters’ love swells resisting injustice together, Galligan-Stierle and Wetherington captivate. Whether he’s frantically showing suspicious policemen his bloodless hands or she’s erupting into shouted high notes that Leo shouldn’t “Do it Alone,” the lead duo finds a moving chemistry if only through shared dramatic and vocal excellence. What’s also beautiful about the festival’s “Parade” isn’t so much the excellence of the rest of the cast, but the consistent excellence of so large a cast. Though it all but lacks dance choreography, Uhry and Brown’s musical is generous with its vocal spotlight. And every performer at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse seizes it with the conviction and talent of a marquee name: Jamison Stern’s corrupt prosecutor Hugh Dorsey, young Brendan Jacob Smith’s vengeful Frankie Epps, Fergie L. Philippe’s slick Jim Conley, Erin Katzker’s mournful Ms. Phagan and every other name on the playbill. A local news reporter, Britt Craig (Scott Guthrie), is handed a career-changing story. The cast is a force together, too. Show director and festival Producing Artistic Director Brett Smock brilliantly arranges his ensemble about designer Czerton Lim’s stage, a spiderweb of stairs and platforms with Leo often occupying its vulnerable middle. And Musical Director Jeff Theiss and his orchestra skillfully galvanize the songs with Southern battlefield rhythms and stirring strings. “Parade’s” politics, however, are more elusive. It certainly gives Leo’s arrest and trial serious treatment, all but ceasing the jokes and applause breaks of the show’s first 20 minutes. And with second act opener “A Rumblin’ and a Rollin’,” performed by Crystal Sha’nae and Banji Aborisade’s servant characters, the show smartly calibrates its vision of 1913 America so as not to appear delusionally post-racial: “The local hotels wouldn’t be so packed if a little black girl had gotten attacked.” The song makes explicit the Southern racism that’s conspicuously absent from the first act, aside from Dorsey allegedly choosing to prosecute Leo instead of black watchman Newt Lee (Marcus Jordan) because the white factory owner’s life was worth more to the mobs crying for justice. Still, it’s hard to locate precisely what “Parade” is trying to say outside of its love story between the Franks. Though Uhry and Brown have said they believe in Leo’s innocence, their show is not at all concerned with who’s guilty. It points no fingers toward Philippe’s Conley, whom some believe was the true culprit, and instead shines a sympathetic light on his perpetual return to the chain gang. Not speculating on such a contentious case would be unnoteworthy if not for some of Uhry and Brown’s more curious choices in “Parade” the ones that suggest they are, indeed, trying to say something. (And that’s to say nothing of the political minefield that is staging a musical in 2017 with reverently waved Confederate flags and an immoral, scandalmongering press.) One is “Come Up to My Office,” a boppy number that sees Galligan-Stierle spring from Leo’s hunkered posture and play the pedophile described in the hauntingly sung testimony of factory girls Madeleine VanRiper, Emma DeGroff and Adeline Whitener. It serves no clear purpose aside from creeping out the audience and bludgeoning them with the fact that Dorsey coached his witnesses. Another curious choice is the show’s final number: a reprise of “The Old Red Hills of Home.” It not only valorizes a character who just orchestrated maybe the most horrific act in “Parade,” it subjugates Leo’s story to the culture that allowed it to happen. But is the reprise really another love letter to the South? Or does it anticipate the audience’s revulsion and use that to provoke criticism of our tendency to paper over our worst actions in the name of patriotism? As the festival’s production of “Parade” shows, sometimes beauty is the only way to see the ugly. +6 AUBURN As it prepares to present “Parade,” the second show of its 2017 season, the Finger

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The Lynching of Leo Frank | My Jewish Learning

Falsely accused of murdering a girl, a Jew is killed by a mob while imprisoned in Georgia. In 1913, Leo Frank was convicted of murdering Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old employee of the Atlanta pencil factory that Frank managed. After Georgias governor commuted his death sentence, a mob stormed the prison where Frank was being held and lynched him. Leo Frank thus became the only known Jew lynched in American history. The case still spurs debate and controversy it even inspired a Broadway play. What are the facts of the Frank case? Little Mary Phagan, as she became known, left home on the morning of April 26 to pick up her wages at the pencil factory and view Atlantas Confederate Day parade. She never returned home. The next day, the factory night watchman found her bloody, sawdust-covered body in the factory basement. When the police asked Leo Frank, who had just completed a term as president of the Atlanta chapter of Bnai Brith (a Jewish fraternal organization), to view her body, Frank became agitated. He confirmed personally paying Mary her wages but could not say where she went next. Frank, the last to admit seeing Mary alive, became the prime suspect. Georgias solicitor general, Hugh Dorsey, sought a grand jury indictment against Frank. Rumor circulated that Mary had been sexually assaulted. Factory employees offered apparently false testimony that Frank had made sexual advances toward them. The madam of a house of ill repute claimed that Frank had phoned her several times, seeking a room for himself and a young girl. In this era, the cult of Southern chivalry made it a hanging crime for African-American males to have sexual contact with the flower of white womanhood. The accusations against Frank, a Northern-born, college-educated Jew, proved equally inflammatory. For the grand jury, Hugh Dorsey painted Leo Frank as a sexual pervert who was both homosexual and who preyed on young girls. What he did not tell the grand jury was that a janitor at the factory, Jim Conley, had been arrested two days after Frank when he was seen washing blood off his shirt. Conley then admitted writing two notes that had been found by Mary Phagans body. The police assumed that, as author of these notes, Conley was the murderer, but Conley claimed, after apparent coaching from Dorsey, that Leo Frank had confessed to murdering Mary in the lathe room and then paid Conley to pen the notes and help him move Marys body to the basement. Even after Franks housekeeper placed him at home, having lunch at the time of the murder and despite gross inconsistencies in Conleys story, both the grand and trial jury chose to believe Conley. This was perhaps the first instance of a Southern black mans testimony being used to convict a white man. In August of 1913, the jury found Frank guilty in less than four hours. Crowds outside the courthouse shouted, Hang the Jew. Historian Leonard Dinnerstein reports that one juror had been overheard to say before his selection for the jury, I am glad they indicted the God damn Jew. They ought to take him out and lynch him. And if I get on that jury, Ill hang that Jew for sure. Facing intimidation and mob rule, the trial judge sentenced Frank to death. He barred Frank from the courtroom on the grounds that, had he been acquitted, Frank might have been lynched by the crowd outside. Despite these breaches of due process, Georgias higher courts rejected Franks appeals and the U. S. Supreme Court voted, 7-2, against reopening the case, with Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Charles Evans Hughes dissenting. Franks survival depended on Georgia GovernorFrank Slaton. After a 12-day review of the evidence and letters recommending commutation from the trial judge (who must have had second thoughts) and from a private investigator who had worked for Hugh Dorsey, Slaton commuted Franks sentence to life imprisonment. That night, state police kept a protesting crowd of 5,000 from the governors mansion. Wary Jewish families fled Atlanta. Slaton held firm. Two thousand years ago, he wrote a few days later, another Governor washed his hands and turned over a Jew to a mob. For two thousand years that governors name has been accursed. If today another Jew [Leo Frank] were lying in his grave because I had failed to do my duty, I would all through life find his blood on my hands and would consider myself an assassin through cowardice. On August 17, 1915, a group of 25 men described by peers as sober, intelligent, of established good name and character stormed the prison hospital where Leo Frank was recovering from having his throat slashed by a fellow inmate. They kidnapped Frank, drove him more than 100 miles to Mary Phagans hometown of Marietta, Georgia, and hanged him from a tree. Frank conducted himself with dignity, calmly proclaiming his innocence. Townsfolk were proudly photographed beneath Franks swinging corpse, pictures still valued today by their descendants. When his term expired a year later, Slaton did not run for reelection and Dorsey easily won election to the governors office. In 1986, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles finally granted Leo Frank a posthumous pardon, not because they thought him innocent, but because his lynching deprived him of his right to further appeal. Mary Phagans descendants and their supporters still insist on his guilt. Reprinted with permission of the American Jewish Historical Society from Chapters in American History. Empower your Jewish discovery, daily

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Preview: With ‘Parade,’ Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival asks audience to ‘let us move you’ – Auburn Citizen

Speaking at a company-wide meeting Friday at the festival’s Westminster Presbyterian Church offices, producing artistic director Brett Smock, who is also directing the show, articulated the request. “We’re ready to bring people in and say, ‘Don’t judge. Sit down, and let us move you,'” he said. “Let us put this in front of you and let us move you. Come in with an open mind and an open heart, the same way you do to a TV show. If you’re doing it to Netflix, why won’t you do it to live theater?” Smock said once a year the festival makes “a point of finding a piece that fosters dialogue,” and identified “Parade” as that show this year. But unlike with “From Here to Eternity,” “Cabaret” and other socially conscious showstoppers that have taken the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse stage, the festival went an extra step to preserve the enigma surrounding “Parade”: It declined its traditional preview interview with The Citizen. Instead, the festival invited media to a sneak peak of the show at its annual company-wide meeting Friday. First, Smock recognized the festival’s 225 employees in administration, production and other areas that made possible its 199 performanceslast summer and the Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre’s 917 performances last year. Also remarking on their artistic work were Lisa Chase, director of the youth program, and Joshua Katzker, coordinator of new musicals series The Pitch. “The Pitch has created theater literacy in Auburn,” Smock said. “We couldn’t do ‘Parade’ without The Pitch.” Then, Smock invited “Parade” leads Aaron Galligan-Stierle and Kristin Wetherington to the podium. As Leo and Lucille Frank, they’re at the center of the 1913 true story that inspired Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s Tony Award-winning 1998 critical smash. It saw Leo, a Jewish factory owner in Georgia, dubiously arrested and convicted for raping and murdering 13-year-old employee Mary Phagan (Shannon Beel). The musical touches on themes of Southern pride, racism, antisemitism, injustice and love in the face of adversity. Some of those themes were on display Friday during two numbers that provided festival staff and Auburn community leaders their sneak peek at “Parade.” First, Galligan-Stierle and Wetherington dueted on “This is Not Over Yet,” a mid-tempo showcase of both leads’ vocal abilities. Afterward, Smock shared a story about seeing Galligan-Stierle at an audition more than a decade ago and trying to remember the third part of his name for years, then finding him and reaching out with the role of Leo Frank. The performer has proven “just as brilliant as he was then,” Smock said. The meeting concluded with the cast of “Parade” assembling to perform the show’s prologue, “The Old Red Hills of Home.” Captivating their peers with solos were Alexander Zenoz and David Atkinson, who portray the same soldier: first bidding farewell to a sweetheart as he leaves to fight in the Civil War, and then preparing to march in a Confederate Memorial Day parade 50 years later. As echoes of the 20-person chorus faded from the room, Smock said he felt like a proud father. “I believe in the power of pieces like ‘Parade,'” he said earlier. Director Brett Smock speaks about the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday. Audience members listen as director Brett Smock speaksat an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday. Cast members perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday. Actors Aaron Galligan-Stierle, as Leo, left, and Kristin Wetherington, as Lucille, perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade” at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday. Actors Aaron Galligan-Stierle, as Leo, and Kristin Wetherington, as Lucille, far right, perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday. The audience applauds after actors Aaron Galligan-Stierle, as Leo, and Kristin Whitener, as Lucille, perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday. Director Brett Smock speaks about the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday. Audience members listen as director Brett Smock speaksat an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday. Cast members perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday. Actors Aaron Galligan-Stierle, as Leo, left, and Kristin Wetherington, as Lucille, perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade” at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday. Actors Aaron Galligan-Stierle, as Leo, and Kristin Wetherington, as Lucille, far right, perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday. The audience applauds after actors Aaron Galligan-Stierle, as Leo, and Kristin Whitener, as Lucille, perform a song from the upcoming musical “Parade”at an annual company-wide meeting of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival Friday.

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

PARADE at Writers Theatre to Extend Through 7/15 – Broadway World

Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, adds a week of performances to the run of Parade, with book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, co-conceived by Harold Prince. The Writers Theatre production of Parade is directed by Gary Griffin and features musical direction by Michael Mahler and choreography by Ericka Mac. Parade now runs through July 15, 2017 in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. This stirring, Tony Award-winning musical explores the endurance of love and hope against seemingly insurmountable odds, telling the true story of Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-raised Jewish man falsely accused of murder in 1913 Atlanta. Innovative and daring, and filled with soaring music, Parade is a moving love story, a riveting murder mystery, a gripping courtroom drama and a powerful exploration of innocence and navet coming face-to-face with ignorance and prejudice. Acclaimed director Gary Griffin, who directed the original Broadway production of Jason Robert Brown’s Honeymoon in Vegas and the world premiere of his The Trumpet of the Swan at the Kennedy Center, stages an intimate revival of this celebrated musical. With a book by playwright Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) and a score by Brown (The Last Five Years, The Bridges of Madison County) that combines folk, rock, R&B and gospel, Parade ends WT’s 25th Anniversary Season with spectacular impact. The cast of Parade includes: Larry Adams (Old Soldier/Judge Roan/Ensemble), Patrick Andrews (Leo Frank), Brianna Borger (Lucille Frank), Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (Jim Conley), McKinley Carter (Mrs. Phagan/Sally Slaton), Devin DeSantis (Britt Craig/Young Soldier/Ensemble), Kevin Gudahl (Hugh Dorsey/Ensemble), Derek Hasenstab (Governor John Slaton/Ensemble), Nicole Michelle Haskins (Minola “Minnie” McKnight/Angela), Caroline Heffernan (Mary Phagan/Ensemble), Lindsay Maron (Essie/Ensemble), Zoe Nadal (Monteen/Ensemble), Jake Nicholson (Frankie Epps/Ensemble), Jeff Parker (Tom Watson/Ensemble), Leryn Turlington (Iola Stover/Ensemble), and Jonah D. Winston (Newt Lee/Riley). The creative team includes: Matt Deitchman (Associate Music Director & Piano/Conductor), Scott Davis (Scenic Designer), Mara Blumenfeld (Costume Designer), Christine Binder (Lighting Designer), Ray Nardelli (Sound Designer) and Scott Dickens (Properties Master). Bobby Kennedy is the Dramaturg, David Castellanos is the Production Stage Manager and Nick Moran is the CFM Contractor. Single tickets for Parade, priced $35 – $80, are available online at www.writerstheatre.org, by phone at 847-242-6000, or in person at the box office at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe.

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

Review: Parade – Hyde Park Herald

A scene from Parade now playing at the Writers Theatre in Nichols Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, Ill. through July 2. Michael Brosilow RECOMMENDED Where: Writers Theatre, Nichols Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe When: through July 2 Tickets: $35-$80 Phone: 847-242-6000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Writers Theatre could not have assembled a better team for the production of Parade that closes its season, and the musical by Alfred Uhry (book) and Jason Robert Brown (music and lyrics), co-conceived by Harold Prince, is every bit as timelyif not more sothan when it premiered on Broadway in 1998. The subject is a true miscarriage of justice that happened more than a century ago but would not be out of the question today. In 1913, Leo Frank, the manager of a pencil factory in Atlanta, Georgia, was accused of raping and murdering Mary Phagan, a thirteen-year-old employee. Although a night watchman was originally suspected, and a janitor likely committed the crime, Frank became the target because he was Jewish and a college-educated northerner from Brooklyn, New York. He was convicted and sentenced to hang, but the case caused outrage outside of the South, and Georgia Governor John Slaton re-examined the evidence and commuted the sentence to life in prison. Alas, Frank was kidnapped from the prison to which hed been transferred, taken to Phagans hometown of Marietta, GA, and lynched. Ironically, this led to both the revival of the KKK and the birth of the Jewish civil rights organization, the Anti-Defamation League. Uhry and Brown, whose book and soaring sung-through score won 1999 Tony Awards respectively, shape the material to focus on two main themes: how the self-interest, ambition, venality, and prejudice of those involved caused what happened, and how the ordeal sparked the love between Leo and his wife, Lucille, and brought them closer together. Significantly, they begin with an American Civil War prologue in MariettaThe Old Red Hills of Homeshowing a young Confederate soldier going off to fight, then returning years later as a crippled old man preparing to march in the Confederate Memorial Day parade. This memorial day (April 26) marks important moments in the story, starting with Frankwho reveals his discomfort at being a Jewish Yankee in the South in How Can I Call This Home?deciding to go into work on the holiday rather than on a picnic with Lucille, who is Jewish but an assimilated Atlanta native. Directed by Gary Griffin, who also directed a 2015 concert version in New York, Writers intimate show spotlights the couples changing relationship. Cannily cast to highlight their physical differences and real-life counterparts, Patrick Andrews short, thin, edgy Leo and Brianna Borgers taller, fuller Lucille are a study in contrasts, and she initially bemoans the state of their marriage and her unfulfilled life in Leo At Work/What Am I Waiting For? A deliberately far-from-perfect hero, he comes across as a self-involved workaholic who takes his wife for granted and thinks he can do everything himself. He wants her to be at the trial (shes reluctant) because her absence will make him look guilty, but even after hes convicted and his appeals go nowhere, he tells her not to intercede on his behalf. His attitude starts to change when she has some success, bringing renewed hope in their song This Is Not Over Yet and a full expression of love in All the Wasted Time, when they believe he will soon be free. Lucilles courage and determination in supporting Leo and taking on the powers that be are a centerpiece of the show, and Borger, a splendid singer and actor, is more than up to the task. Shes the one who gets Governor Slaton (Derek Hasenstab) to look at the case anew at the cost of his own careertelling him hes a fool or a coward if the doesnt realize it was riggedand the challenges are formidable. Besides exposing the communitys general antisemitism, racism, and penchant for mob action, Uhry and Brown detail specific instances of corruption. The prosecutor, smarmy Hugh Dorsey (Kevin Gudahl), is especially egregious. He trumps up false evidence on all fronts, from coaching Phagans female coworkers to give identical accounts of inappropriate sexual behavior on Leos part to offering escaped-convict janitor Jim Conley (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis, whose Blues: Feel the Rain Fall brings down the house) immunity in a previous case if he testifies that he witnessed the murder and helped Frank cover it up. Dorsey later maneuvers to become governor in the wake of Slatons change of heart, getting support from Judge Roan (Larry Adams) and right-wing extremist newspaperman Tom Watson (Jeff Parker). Even ordinary local reporter Britt Craig (Devin DeSantis) is delighted by the trial, the Big News thats bound to make his career, and he slants his coverage accordingly. While Frankie Epps (Jake Nicholson) wants revenge for the death of his sweetheart, others, such as the Franks maid Minola Minnie McKnight (Nicole Michelle Haskins), have more complicated motives for not telling the truth. Browns songs, used entirely to further the action, draw on pop-rock, blues, folk, gospel, and other American genres to cover the range of reactions. In a particularly telling second-act opener, A Rumblin and a Rollin, the African American domestics Angela and Riley (Haskins and Jonah D. Winston) wonder if the northern objections to Franks conviction would have been as strong if the victim had been black. Under the musical director of Michael Mahler, the small unseen orchestra and large ensemble (with some doubling) are in fine form, though they seem to be singing to the back of the house, because almost everything sounded a bit too loud in the front row. Ericka Macs choreography is effective though not extravagant, and the designscenery by Scott Davis, costumes by Mara Blumenfeld, lighting by Christine Binder, sound by Ray Nardellicontributes to a Parade you dont want to miss and wont soon forget.

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June 20, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

Parade at Writers Theatre: more relevant now than ever – ChicagoNow (blog)

Patrick Andrews is Leo Frank and Brianna Borger is his wife, Lucille, in the Writers Theatre production of Jason Robert Brown’s musical, “Parade.” (Photo: Michael Brosilow) There are many things I love about the South including grits and shrimp along with my husband–a bred and born Louisiana boy. There are other things, not so much. And although the South has changed a lot since the early 20th century–there are still pockets of prejudice in the South and throughout the country–yes Chicago, even you–that are disturbing. Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s musical “Parade” with book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, co-conceived by Harold Prince in its current remount at Writers Theatre makes this perfectly clear. Writers’ powerful new production directed by Gary Griffin with musical direction by Michael Mahler and choreography by Ericka Mac is arguably even more relevant today than when it was first written–with anti-Semitism, racial discrimination, and political corruption rearing its ugly head in social media, on the streets and behind-the-scenes way too often in today’s America. “Parade” explores it all through a historical lens focusing on the 1913 true story of Leo Frank, a target of prejudice, ignorance and political ambition. The story… What’s a Jewish boy from Brooklyn to do when he lands in 1910 Atlanta…and WHY! In a city that still hasn’t recovered from the Civil War…and marches to a different drummer…Leo Frank (Patrick Andrews), has come to Atlanta to be a supervisor at his uncle’s pencil factory. He soon discovers that the South is very different from the North. Even the Jews are different. His wife, Lucille (Brianna Borger), to whom he has been married for three years when the story opens on Memorial Day, 1913 is a Southern Jew. Lucille is trying to convince Leo to take off work to go with her to the Memorial Day parade. Not just any Memorial Day parade but the Confederate Memorial Day Parade. Instead, he goes to work. Hours later he finds himself accused of murdering an employee of his factory–a 13-year-old girl who is found dead on the premises. A musical may seem like a strange format to bring this story to life…this is not the “Sound of Music,” this is about the trial and lynching of a wrongly accused Jew–nothing to sing about. But the musical format works beautifully with a talented cast of singers and musicians bringing the story of hate, ambition, prejudice and ignorance juxtaposed with a compelling love story alive. Jonathan Butler-Duplessis plays Jim Conley in the Writers Theatre production of Jason Robert Browns musical, Parade. | Michael Brosilow Writers “Parade” comes complete with a first-rate cast, outstanding direction and a talented design team to showcase this very important story in the best possible way. The cast of Parade includes: Larry Adams (Old Soldier/Judge Roan/Ensemble), Patrick Andrews (Leo Frank), Brianna Borger (Lucille Frank), Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (Jim Conley), McKinley Carter (Mrs. Phagan/Sally Slaton), Devin DeSantis (Britt Craig/Young Soldier/Ensemble), Kevin Gudahl (Hugh Dorsey/Ensemble), Derek Hasenstab (Governor John Slaton/Ensemble), Nicole Michelle Haskins (Minola “Minnie” McKnight/Angela), Caroline Heffernan (Mary Phagan/Essie/Ensemble), Zoe Nadal (Monteen/Ensemble), Jake Nicholson (Frankie Epps/Ensemble), Jeff Parker (Tom Watson/Ensemble), Leryn Turlington (Iola Stover/Ensemble), and Jonah D. Winston (Newt Lee/Riley). The creative team includes: Matt Deitchman (Associate Music Director & Piano/Conductor), Scott Davis (Scenic Designer),Mara Blumenfeld (Costume Designer), Christine Binder (Lighting Designer), Ray Nardelli (Sound Designer) and Scott Dickens (Properties Master). Bobby Kennedy is the Dramaturg, David Castellanos is the Production Stage Manager and Nick Moran is the CFM Contractor. This production is definitely worth the trip to Glencoe. When: Extended through July 9 Where: Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe Running time: 2 hours, 35 minutes Tickets: $35 to $80 Rating: 4 Stars Subscribe to Show Me Chicago by email If you would like to keep in touch with what’s happening in Chicago, like us on Facebook or subscribe to Show Me Chicago by email. To subscribe, type your email address in the box below and click the “create subscription” button. Our list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

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June 12, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

Historian Sarna warns of anti-Semitic backlash in US if Kushner indicted – The Times of Israel

For preeminent American Jewish historian Prof. Jonathan Sarna, overcoming the Cassandra syndrome has been an uphill battle of late. Well cognizant of historys repetitions, during a recent marathon summary of the Jewish condition in the US for a select group of Jewish professionals in Jerusalem, the scholar drew historical parallels and warned the leaders of possible future outcomes. One case in point was an investigation involving President Donald Trumps son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, arguably Americas most famous Orthodox Jew (especially when his religiosity is put into question). Kushner, while not directly under suspicion, was recently named a person of interest by special counsel Robert Mueller, who was hired to oversee the Department of Justices investigation into suspected coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election. According to a recent Associated Press report quoting Maine Senator Angus King, Kushner is expected to meet with staff from the Senate Intelligence Committee, including King, as early as next week to answer questions about his meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States. In addition to Kushners December meeting with Sergey Kislyak to allegedly set up back-channel communications, he met last year with Sergey Gorkov, the chief executive of an American-sanctioned Russian bank, Vnesheconombank, or VEB. That meeting has also drawn condemnation from a Putin-wary America; the Arabic-speaking Gorkov is a former intelligence agent with direct ties to the Russian president. Jared Kushner is seen at the Royal Court after US President Donald Trump received the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP) With anti-Semitic websites jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon and claiming a Jewish connection between Kushner and Gorkov (who is not known to be a Jew), at a recent intimate lecture hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America at Jerusalems Beit Avichai, Sarna warned Jewish community leaders to prepare for fallout. Citing insinuations made by Politico that Kushner had used his ties to Chabad through Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar to make connections with the Kremlin, Sarna said that, if substantiated, the scandal could be a major problem for the US Jewish community in that its loyalty will once again be called into question. We ought to be prepared for that eventuality. Somebody ought to be writing a memo, said Sarna. If Kushner is indicted, we need to be prepared. Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, is greeted by Russias Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar in Moscow, June 13, 2013. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Images/via JTA) After his talk, in a wide-ranging interview peppered with Jewish humor, the longtime Brandeis professor touched on the history of American anti-Semitism, the dissonance between the Israeli and American Jewish perceptions of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, and what he sees as his own role as a tenured academic. The people who will make hay of Mr. Kushner always knew that there was a Jewish conspiracy even before there was such a thing. But smart Jewish leaders need to be forward looking, Sarna told The Times of Israel. With a shrug and a smile, he continued, I think every Jewish community needs to worry its good for Jews to worry and always be nervous. One of your courses is about three instances of anti-Semitism in American Jewish history. How does whats happening now compare to those instances, and what were the three? First, when General [Ulysses S.] Grant expelled the Jews [from Paducah, Kentucky] during the Civil War [on December 17, 1862], which was an existential threat to the community. [Following the Jews expulsion, on January 4, 1863, president Abraham Lincoln ordered Grant to revoke the order.] Theyd been expelled from a large area and nothing, I think, comparable to today, although theres much that can be learned: Jews in many ways were in the position of Muslims [today], viewed as traitors and smugglers, and so on, in the Civil War. The second that I teach is Henry Ford. Again, it does have parallels. Since it was a new immigrant group after all, a couple of million Jews had immigrated and Henry Ford portrayed them as the great problem of the world. The worlds foremost problem, he called Jews. And even looking at some of Fords writing, you see parallels to other groups, because he makes kind of truth and innuendo, selective truth. Its also important for students to know that only a century ago, Jews were in the position that other groups are in today. The Leo Frank lynching, August 17, 1915 (Public domain) Third, I usually do the Leo Frank case. [A factory manager in Atlanta, Georgia, Frank was accused and convicted of the murder of a 13-year-old employee, Mary Phagan.] Brandeis has a lot of papers of Leo Frank. That requires you to understand the South: Its the lynching of a Jew, and hes important in terms of mob psychology and how this poor fellow When the community was sure that he was really guilty, they just took him out and lynched him. And one can really see the worst that human beings are capable of. And the amazing thing is that there are still people who are persuaded that Leo Frank was guilty even though we know I mean, at the time there was a lot of evidence that it wasnt true and we now have people who have confessed that they know exactly who did the job. But I just saw in one of the papers this week that Nazis are trying to reopen the case. So it was important enough in America, much like but not identical to the Dreyfus case [the 1894 trial and conviction of the French Jewish artillery officer on charges for treason famously spurred Theodor Herzl toward Zionism]. In your talk, you mentioned the Jonathan Pollard case in reference to Kushner. You dont see Pollard as an epoch of American anti-Semitism as well? Thats a very important question. Pollard is understood totally differently in Israel and in most of American Jewry. [Unlike in Israel, in the United States] theres not a groundswell of acceptance, more pockets of the Orthodox community. Theres not a lot of sympathy for Pollard, who most people believe passed a lot of information that he wasnt supposed to pass on. Now, did he get a strong sentence, maybe stronger than he should have? Yes. But remember something crucial which is always forgotten here: The average American spy, when hes caught he serves time, and then he says chattati, pashati, aviti [Ive sinned]. He says, Im sorry, he gets out of jail, he never opens his mouth again to the newspapers, its all hushed up, and then one day he dies. Jonathan and Esther Pollard following his release from prison, November 20, 2015. (Courtesy of Justice for Jonathan Pollard/JTA) Pollard, uniquely, has argued that he is an assir Zion [Prisoner of Zion], that he should be seen as a kind of Natan Sharansky figure, and thats why Pollard has continued. Thats why he was in jail so long, and thats why they wont let him go to Israel. Because from the perspective of the establishment in the United States, to have him seen as a hero is absolutely unthinkable. So if he had played by the same rules as everyone else which he did briefly if he said, I made a terrible mistake, I greatly regret it, I paid my dues, Ill never do it again, he would long ago have been a free man. He probably could have traveled too. But because he is insistent that he wants to be greeted like Natan Sharansky, and he has been persuaded or has persuaded himself that he is an assir Zion it will never happen, I dont think Trump will do it. By turning Pollard into a hero, you are essentially saying, Jews are a third column in America, they care much more about Jews than they care about the country Whats so interesting especially now that hes out of jail is that theres not a lot of sympathy for Pollard, because he also has this self-image which is at variance with the way most American Jews view it. I dont think he can be a hero, because if hes a hero no Jew will ever be employed in government again, and every Jew will be suspect. So by turning him into a hero, you are essentially saying, Jews are a third column in America, they care much more about Jews than they care about the country. You are feeding what every anti-Semite believes. And I think that Mr. Pollard did grave damage, and its astonishing to me that he doesnt see that. But I know people who served in the military, and they think Pollard sullied everything. We fought to prove Jews are brave and loyal and fight for their country. To their mind, and one of them said to me, He should have been hung like Haman, and hes damn lucky. If it had been up to us And nobody in Israel understands any of that. Are there other examples of this disconnect in conception between Israel and the United States? If you go back in the archive, youll see the Rosenberg affair. In Israel the Rosenbergs were largely seen as victims of anti-Semitism, and most of the newspapers viewed it that way. In America, [Julius] Rosenberg was seen as a spy who got what he deserved because he handed over crucial secrets and of course today we know that as a fact from the Venona documents. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, separated by heavy wire screen as they leave a US court house after being found guilty by jury. (Public domain/Wikipedia) Yes, there are still a few die-hards who support the Rosenbergs, especially [Ethel], but even in the 1950s it was the same difference, because Israelis imagine that anti-Semitism is really at the core of the Diaspora; thats how Zionist ideology works. And American Jews argue that if youre a spy and you hand over documents, then youre a traitor and thats all. So lets take the case of Kushner. You very strongly said there should be a memo where the American Jewish leaders should be prepared for some kind of fallout if indeed he is indicted for collusion with the Russians, perhaps via his connections with Chabad. What do you mean by that and how should they be prepared? I hope its not true. I know people who know him, who speak well of him. But, if he is indicted, since its been so widely touted that hes Orthodox and especially, if God forbid it turns out that he utilized kind of Jewish connections, then I think it will inevitably raise insinuations, discredit, doubts, from people who have always believed that Jews have multiple loyalties, and they will point to this and say, See, we were right all along. We knew that Jews are not really loyal. The very idea that Jews are more loyal to Russia, which has persecuted and murdered Jews, than to America is absurd, but thats what will be said, and talking to Jewish leaders, one thinks that they need to be prepared. Bernie Madoff arriving at a Manhattan federal court, March 12, 2009. (Stephen Chernin/Getty Images via JTA) That doesnt mean its true. In the same way that Jewish leaders needed to be prepared for [Ponzi scheme perpetrator Bernie] Madoff, and nothing happened after Madoff. There was tremendous fear in the community that Madoff would lead to one person privately called me, and asked if I expect pogroms. But after all, it was a disastrous event, and there was for a time a fair bit of anti-Semitism. Of course, as I said at the time, those people knew the Jews were responsible for the economic collapse even before the economic collapse happened, because Jews are always responsible. And so it will be now. Ralph Goldman meets with the PresenTense team, October 2010 (Photo c/o Ariel Beery) The people who will make hay of Mr. Kushner always knew that there was a Jewish conspiracy even before there was such a thing. But smart Jewish leaders need to be forward-looking. I mean, when I look at the true great Jewish leaders, lets say, Ralph Goldman, the longtime head of the Joint [JDC] what was so astonishing about him was he was always thinking of the future rather than the present. Even in his late 90s I had a meeting with him, and thats the way we have to think. One of the roles that somebody like me, who is, after all, tenured and not an insider, can play is to ask some of these questions to suggest that maybe the community should think about certain issues, and hopefully that will happen. Prof. Jonathan Sarna in an interview following a lecture hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America at Jerusalem’s Beit Avichai, on May 28, 2017. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)

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June 12, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

What’s happening on Long Island this weekend – liherald.com

Mark Brier returns to the Elmont Memorial Library theater on Sunday as host of an afternoon of comedy. Performances/On Stage Demetri Martin The quirky comedian on tour, Thursday, June 8, 8 p.m. $79.50, $69.50, $49.50, $39.50, $29.50, $25. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com or www.paramountny.com. Oklahoma!The classical musical set in Oklahoma at the turn of the 20th century, Thursday and Friday, June 8-9, 8 p.m.; Saturday, June 10, 3 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, June 11, 2 and 7 p.m.; Wednesday, June 14, 8 p.m. $76 and $71. John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport. (631) 261-2900. Molly Sweeney A Script-In-Hand Theatre production of Brian Friels acclaimed brooding meditation on sight and blindness, Friday, June 9, 7 p.m. Oceanside Library, 30 Davison Ave., Oceanside. 766-2360. Parade The award-winning musical that dramatizes the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank, Friday and Saturday, May 9-10, 8 p.m.; Sunday, June 11, 3 p.m. $22, $20 students and seniors Friday and Sunday. Merrick Theatre & Center for the Arts, 2222 Hewlett Ave., Merrick. 868-6400 or www.merrick-theatre.com. Women of Broadway Yvette Malavet-Blum and Daniel Ragone in concert, Friday, June 9, 12:30 p.m. Program includes tunes from Evita, Avenue Q, West Side Story, and more. Elmont Memorial Library Theater, 700 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont. 354-5280. Young Frankenstein The acclaimed adaptation of Mel Brooks iconic film, Friday and Saturday, June 9-10, 8 p.m.; Sunday, June 11, 2:30 p.m. $24, $22 seniors, $20 students, $15 youth 12 and under; $29 at door. BroadHollow Theatre, BayWay Arts Center, 265 E. Main St., East Islip. (631) 581-2700 or www.broadhollow.org. The Fab Faux The Beatles tribute band in concert, with The Hogshead Horns and Creme Tangerine Strings, Saturday, June 10, 8 p.m. $89, $79 and $59. The Space, 250 Post Ave. Westbury. 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com or www.thespaceatwestbury.com. I Love the 90s The Fresh Kids of Bel-Air perform 90s hits, Saturday, June 10, 8 p.m. $30, $25, $20, $15. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com or www.paramountny.com. Maxwell The neo soul singer-songwriter in concert, with special guest Ledisi, Saturday, June 10, 7:30 p.m. Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale. (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com or www.nassaucoliseum.com. Oceanside Chorale The Chorale presents its annual Spring Sing, Saturday, June 10, 8 p.m. Program includes selections from The Musican Man, The Student Prince and Beatiful, and more. Fulton Avenue School, 3252 Fulton Ave., Oceanside. $10. 764-2787 or www.OceansideSings.com. Berman Does Broadway Lisa Berman is joined by performers Ruthe McKeown and Stephen Gold- stein, for a concert of Broadway show tunes, Sunday, June 11, 5:30 p.m. Peninsula Public Library, 280 Central Ave., Lawrence. 239-3262. Comedy Extravaganza Mark Brier hosts an afternoon of stand-up comedy, Sunday, June 11, 2 p.m. He is joined by local comics. Elmont Memorial Library Theater, 700 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont. 354-5280. Sugar & Spice Sugar & Spice Soul Band in concert, with a Motown tribute, Sunday, June 11, 2 p.m. Program includes hits by Gladys Knight, The Temptations, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and more. Oceanside Library, 30 Davison Ave., Oceanside. 766-2360. United Choral Society The chorus presents its annual spring concert, Sunday, June 11, 2 p.m. Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library, 1125 Broadway, Hewlett. 374-1967. For the Kids Journey to Oz Visit Oz in a charming interactive production inspired by L. Frank Baums stories, Thursday and Friday, June 8-9, 10:15 a.m. and 12 p.m.; Saturday, June 10, 11:30 and 2 p.m. Audience members are invited to become part of the cast, assisted by the actors, in this lively show. $9 with museum admission ($7 members), $12 theater only. Long Island Childrens Museum, Museum Row, Garden City. 224-5800 or www. licm.org. Full Moon Astronomy Night On the night of a full moon, explore our nearest neighbor in space, at the Center for Science Teaching and Learning, Friday, June 9, 7:30-9 p.m. $10. Pre-registration required. Center for Science Teaching and Learning, 1 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre. 764-0045 or www.cstl.org. Eat Up: Whats Cookin Visit Old Westbury Gardens for a culinary adventure, Saturday, June 10, 12 p.m. Discover tasty delights growing in the garden beds. Concoct and sample a simple recipe full of delicious seasonal flavors. Free with admission. Old Westbury Gardens, 71 Westbury Rd., Old Westbury. 333-0048 or www.oldwestbury.org. Weird School Trivia Night Test your knowledge and compete to win prizes, Tuesday, June 13, 6:30 p.m. For grades 2-5. Peninsula Public Library, 280 Central Ave., Lawrence. 239-3262. Drive-In Movie Fun Decorate a cardboard car and watch Maters Tall Tales, Thursday, June 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m. For ages 3-6. Bellmore Memorial Library, 2288 Bedford Ave., Bellmore. 785-2990. Museums/Galleries and more… Converging Voices: Gender and Identity An original exhibition that focuses on issues of gender and identity, reflecting an international scope. Featured artists include Ghada Amer, Mariam Ghani, Martine Gutierrez, Guerrilla Girls, Yee I-Lann, Zanele Muholi, Pinaree Sanpitak, Carrie Mae Weems, and Philemona Williamson. Through Dec. 15. Hofstra Universitys Emily Lowe Gallery, Emily Lowe Hall, South Campus, Hempstead. 463-5672 or www.hostra.edu/museum. Halston Style A comprehensive retrospective of the works of the American fashion designer Halston. The exhibition includes many never-before-seen objects from the designers personal archives and more than 60 Halston fashions, juxtaposed with photographs, artwork, illustrations and accessories as well as film and video documentation. Through July 9. Nassau County Museum of Art, 1 Museum Dr., Roslyn Harbor. 484-9337 or www.nassaumuseum.org.

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June 10, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

This Week In Chicago: A Musical About A LynchingAnd Lots of Books! – Forward

As your mother said, Its nice! Go outside! The corpse flower is in bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden. What are you waiting for? This weekend also marks the return of the annual Printers Row LitFest, when the book people inherit the earth, or at least take over the entire South Loop. Publishers and booksellers from across the Midwest will set up booths along Polk between State and Clark and Dearborn between Harrison and Polk where you can spend many happy hours browsing. (Dont worry, there will be food and beverage booths to sustain you.) In addition dozensyes, dozensof authors will be on hand to talk about their work, including Allegra Goodman, Jason Diamond, Sidney Blumenthal, Kevin Coval, Doree Shafrir, Renee Rosen, Jonathan Safran Foer, Dani Shapiro, and a lot of other writers who arent even Jewish. As in years past, all author events are free, except for the headliners: Senator Al Franken and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ($35 each); a $50 festival pass will get you access to both headliners and the express signing lines as well as some free swag. A musical about a lynching is kind of a hard sell. But Writers Theatres production of Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Browns Parade, is presenting a dramatizationyes, with singingof the trial, kidnapping, and killing of Leo Frank, a New York Jew accused of raping and murdering a young employee of his Atlanta pencil factory. The play has received lots of praise from the citys theater critics. The Tribunes Chris Jones writes that Parade has special resonance at this particular moment, just weeks after New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu declared the Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity and that the performances by the cast are just as worthy.

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June 9, 2017   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed


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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Under the 'fair use' rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author's work without asking permission. Fair use is based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. The fair use privilege is perhaps the most significant limitation on a copyright owner's exclusive rights.

Fair use as described at 17 U.S.C. Section 107:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono-records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for or nonprofit educational purposes,
  • (2) the nature of the copyrighted work,
  • (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."