|Ben Dibble as Leo Frank in courtroom|
The Arden Theatre Company, located at 40 N. 2nd Street, Old City, Philadelphia, is producing Parade through November 3. Playwright Alfred Uhry was inspired to tell the true story of a Jewish factory manager in Georgia who is accused of murdering a young girl. Uhry’s great uncle actually owned the factory where the murder took place. Audience members can get a glimpse of the Southern culture in Atlanta throughout the early 1900’s, which was unsympathetic to Jews as well as Yankees . Leo Frank, unfortunately, was a member of both groups. Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolan and scenic and video designer Jorge Cousineau worked brilliantly together to turn a minimalistic stage into multiple scenic backgrounds through the use of a large projection screen. In addition, the screen is used to scream out headlines from a variety of newspapers of the day and to announce dates, denoting the passage of time. Although this is not a musical with lyrics that will have you singing on your way out of the theatre, the music serves to move the story along and the harmonies are very strong The fifteen member cast reads like a who’s who of Philadelphia musical theatre. Ben Dibble, Rachel Camp, Scott Greer, Anthony Lawton, and Jennie Eisenhower are only a few of the actors whose voices fill the stage. Much of the singing is acappella and all fifteen voices are forceful. This is not a show for the faint of heart but a heartfelt drama that will leave you reeling at the end of the final curtain. It is like no parade that you have ever seen. You may not want to join those who are in it, but you won’t want to let it pass you by. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at www.ardentheatre.org.