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Murder Trial Provides Backdrop For WestConn's Fall Production Of 'Parade'

Matthew Grasso, of Bethel, as Leo Frank; and Shaylen Harger, of Orange, as Lucille Frank.
Matthew Grasso, of Bethel, as Leo Frank; and Shaylen Harger, of Orange, as Lucille Frank. Photo Credit: Peggy Stewart

DANBURY, Conn. – The Western Connecticut State University Department of Theatre Arts will present “Parade” Friday through Sunday in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university's Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Ext., Danbury.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The 1913 trial of factory manager Leo Frank, who was accused and convicted of murdering a 13-year-old employee, Mary Phagan, was the factual basis for a collaboration between playwright Alfred Uhry and composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown that resulted in the award-winning musical, “Parade.” The show, which opened on Broadway in 1998, won Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Original Score and six Drama Desk Awards. “Parade” had a U.S. national tour and numerous professional and amateur productions in both the United States and abroad.

Director Tim Howard, new coordinator of Western’s musical theater program, acted in the Broadway National Tour of “Parade” under director/producer Hal Prince and Brown, who served as music director for the tour.

“I fell in love with the score and found the script extremely compelling and moving,” said Howard. “After acting in this production, I wanted to have a chance to direct a show that had a major influence in my professional theatrical life for more than a year. Based on a true story, this show is a courtroom drama that deals with anti-Semitism and racial issues, but ultimately is a heart-wrenching love story — a thoroughly compelling story with a stunning score.”

Tickets are $25 for general admission and $15 for non-WCSU students and seniors. Click here to purchase tickets or call 203-837-8732. 

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