5th Avenue Theatre Parade Hairspray Anything Goes 1776

writing: articles, sales copy, and editing


client: The 5th Avenue Theatre
project: Parade Articles

In order to convince people that this weighty, unknown show was worth seeing, we relied on the reputations of the extraordinary artists who created it. Establishing trust in their abilities and instincts might convince ticket-buyers to take a chance on Parade.

The Creators of Parade

Harold Prince, (Co-Conceiver/Director). Since 1962, Mr. Prince has directed such productions as Show Boat, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Sweeny Todd, Candide, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Follies, Company, Cabaret and She Loves Me. Among the plays Mr. Prince has directed are The Visit, The Great God Brown and The End of the World. He was represented Off-Broadway by his own play, Grandchild of Kings. From 1954 to 1976, he produced Fiddler on the Roof, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Fiorello, West Side Story, Damn Yankees and The Pajama Game. He has directed two films: Something for Everyone and A Little Night Music. His opera productions have been seen at the Chicago Lyric, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Vienna Staatsoper and the Theatre Colon in Buenos Aires. At this time, he is represented by seven productions of The Phantom of the Opera throughout the world. Last season, Mr. Prince directed Parade for the Lincoln Center Theatre in New York, which won Tony Awards for Book, Lyrics and Music; he also directed the national touring production. He serves as a Trustee for the New York Public Library and served on the National Council of the Arts of the NEA for six years. He has received 20 Tony Awards. He was a 1994 Kennedy Center Honoree.

Parade is grounded in historical record, "but it's not our job to stay confined to this one Jewish man or this one Southern setting, or even to decide who committed the murder. Our job is to take the audience a giant step beyond reality and reveal something about the bigotries that are still with us. And to show this uplifting story of a couple — Leo and Lucille, his wife — who might never have realized their enormous potential without this crisis."
- Harold Prince

Alfred Uhry, (Book), is the only playwright ever to win the "Triple Crown" of writing: Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer Prizes. He received a Tony nomination for his book for The Robber Bridegroom in 1976. His play Driving Miss Daisy won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize, as well as the Outer Critics Circle Award. His screenplay for Driving Miss Daisy won the 1989 Oscar and the Writers Guild Award, and the film won the Oscar for Best Picture. His next play, The Last Night of Ballyhoo won the 1997 Tony Award, as well as the Outer Critics Circle Award and the American Theatre Critics Award. His book for Parade won the 1999 Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and New York Critics Association Award.

Mr. Uhry has always been drawn to this story of Parade. Raised in Atlanta, the circle of Southern Jews in which his family traveled was a group profoundly shaken by the trial and lynching of Leo Frank. His great-uncle, Sigmund Montag, owned the pencil factory where both Phagan and Frank worked, and raised money for Frank's legal defense. Lucille Frank was a friend of his grandmother's and Uhry remembers meeting her when he was a boy. Though everyone knew the story, no-one would talk about it, and the fear and secrecy surrounding the case made him determined to someday write about it.

"Southern extended families are prone to telling stories and so are Jewish ones. Mine was both, so I got a double-dose. I grew up hearing about the quirks of distant relatives, in-laws and a whole network of people I didn't know. They all came with stories attached. But nobody mentioned Leo Frank. Some of the family even walked out of the room if the name came up. I found this confusing, because I knew that my Great Uncle Sig had been his employer, and Lucille Frank was my grandmother's friend. Due to this hush-hush policy, I developed a fascination for the case, which has lasted all these years and which led to the idea for Parade."
- Alfred Uhry

Jason Robert Brown, (Composer/Lyricist/Musical Director), is the recipient of the 1999 Tony Award for Best Original Score for his music and lyrics to Parade, which subsequently won both the Drama Desk and New York Drama Critic's Circle Awards for Best New Musical. Quite a Broadway debut! The score, described as complex and achingly beautiful, has emerged as one of Parade's most original, most acclaimed elements. Jason's first musical, Songs for a New World, a theatrical song cycle directed by Daisy Prince, played Off Broadway at the WPA Theatre in the fall of 1995 and won Jason the 1996 Gilman & Gonazlez-Falla Award for Musical Theater. As one reviewer wrote, "anyone interested in glimpsing the future of the American musical theater would do well to catch this revue." Most recently, Jason has been developing vocal arrangements for Lincoln Center Theatre's production of A New Brain; a solo album is also in his future. Jason studied composition at the Eastman School of Music, and currently lives in New York City. Jason is member of the Dramatist's Guild.

"I was twenty-three when Hal asked me to work with him and Alfred Uhry on what he called 'an American opera.' I had never written a piece of narrative theater before, and I'm still not sure what Hal's faith in me was predicated on, but I was determined to take the leap and prove to these two wonderful men who had given so much to the theater that I could do something epic and powerful. For almost five years, there was the show: a reading in Philadelphia, a reading in New York, a workshop in Toronto. Everything else in my life was changing, but the show (first called 'The Devil and Little Mary,' then for a few horrible months 'I Love a Parade,' until we finally all settled on 'Parade') was always there. Always work to do and expectations to meet. And as my marriage fell apart and several close friendships foundered or vanished, I calmed myself with the knowledge that the show was still going on, the one constant in an otherwise chaotic existence."
- Jason Robert Brown