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The Footlight Theater Company is the oldest running american community theater. I had the pleasure of having them in studio today with their cast of Parade by Jason Robert Brown. Parade, one of Brown’s lesser known musicals, is the true story of Leo Frank, a jewish man falsely accused of rape and murder in Marietta, Georgia in 1913. Through beautiful elaborate harmonies and operatic dialogue, Parade exposes the hateful and anti-semitic motivation towards Frank’s Trial.
The Footlight Theater Company is fully aware of the relevance and importance of this musical, and chooses to produce it during the hundredth year anniversary of Frank’s trial. The first song they performed was “Thats What He Said”, which is sung by Jim Conley, a black man who works in the same pencil factory as Leo, and he paints a false picture of the type of man that Leo was and the way he treated the girls who worked at his factory. The rest of the people present in the trial chime in to enhance the lies and raise the stakes. The next song done was “All The Wasted Time”, a beautiful duet between Leo and his wife in which they reflect on their feelings towards each other even through all the turmoil they have been through regarding the trial.
The company finished with “The Old Red Hills of Home,” which is the opening of the show in which we are introduced to a Post-Civil War Marietta, Georgia. The Footlight company did these numbers justice, with on point harmonies and timing led my musical director Adam Stern. I am extremely grateful for having had the Footlight theater company in studio for live music week and look forward to what they do next. Parade runs at the Footlight Club in Jamaica Plains through April 17th.