Its time for 3D Theatricals latest iteration of Parade at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. While rarely produced, Parade is as relevant today as when it was first produced in 1998.
Parade is a murder mystery musical set in the South during the early 1900s. The show is based on the real life case following the murder of thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan. Despite only running around two and a half months on Broadway, Parade is highly acclaimed show walking away from the Tony’s with a win for Best Book and Best Original Score.
The musical takes on the sensational trial of Jewish factory manager, Leo Frank. He was accused of raping and murdering Mary Phagan, his employee. Just like the media today, they took the story of a young girl murdered and sensationalized it. This brought about racial and anti-semitic tensions that boiled over in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia.
Frank would ultimately be sentenced to death for the murder by the impressionable jury. However, his sentence was commuted to life by outgoing governor of Georgia, John M. Slaton. He reviewed the testimony and discovered numerous inconsistencies.
Just when things start looking up for Frank, a lynching party kidnaps him and takes him to be hung. The revelations surrounding the death of Mary Phagan in Georgia led to the re-emergence of the KKK and the creation of the Anti-Defamation League.
The team at 3D Theatricals did an amazing job bringing life to this powerful and emotional story. Parade will have you feeling so many emotions and thinking hard about life, how we treat others, and the often whitewashed history of our country.
3D Theatricals T.J. Dawson is back in the director’s seat bringing back to life a show that has deep meaning for him. The music from the show influenced him into the path of directing, something that has delivered success after success.
This is his second mounting of Parade for T.J. and for 3D Theatrcals. The previous production was highly lauded, garnering rave reviews. His latest incarnation delivers once again on those high expectations with the help of the immense talent that has gathered for this beautifully heart wrenching production.
During the performance the immense talents of Jeff Skowron and Chelle Denton rang through. Skowron has a body of work including working opposite Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa 2 to major roles on Broadway in the Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. Skowron previously blew me away in the role of emcee at McCoy Rigby’s production of Cabaret at the La Mirada Perfoming Arts Center.
I immediately fell in love with the emotion and power Skowron brings to the stage and couldn’t wait to see him bring life to this role. From the first notes that he sang, to every emotional twist and turn he presented in this role, I was thoroughly impressed. Skowron and Denton will have you at tears by Act 2. Any time an actor is able to bring about that emotion in the audience is a win.
They were not the only two actors who stand-out. The audience is blessed to see Rufus Bonds Jr. reprise his Broadway role as Jim Conley. Bonds recieved a loud ovation at the close of his song, “A Rumblin and a Rollin.” I love seeing an actor reprise a role, especially almost 20 years later. If you want a preview of what to expect from Bonds check out the original Broadway Cast Recording.
The rest of the production, from set design by Tom Buderwitz to lighting by Jean-Yves Tessier, is top notch. I’m someone who loves a built set as opposed to projection. As such, Buderwitz’s stunning set was a complete joy for me. The set maintains its place on the stage, minus a few drop pieces. The team uses every bit of the set, re-purposing parts in creative ways for each scene.
Tessier made sure to highlight even the smallest details when it came to lighting design. He even used lighting to mimic a fan blade shadow during the courtroom scene… Something many may not have even noticed due to the natural way it blends into the scene. That combined with everything else helps audiences fall into the story and time period.
If you have a chance to check out 3D Theatrical’s Parade, do it. Their history with the show enables them to present the show in a way that others productions may not. This show is rarely produced so this may be your only chance to see it live and there is no better production. Plus, you also can’t beat seeing an original Broadway cast member reprising his role as well as numerous other broadway stars on one stage. That is not even mentioning the large ensemble that help fill in the gaps brining a historical story to life.
The show is anchored by a very strong cast of actors that include:
Jeff Skowron (Leo Frank) Broadway: Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and The Boy from Oz. Jeff returns to 3-D Theatricals to recreate PARADE’s pivotal starring role of Leo Frank for which he won the 2013 Los Angeles Ovation Award as Best Lead Actor in a Musical.
Rufus Bonds Jr. (Jim Conley) Broadway: Parade, Rent, Once on This Island. Mr. Bonds also returns as factory janitor and ex-convict Jim Conley; the role he created on Broadway and for which he won a 2013 Los Angeles Ovation Award as Best Featured Actor in a Musical, preceded by a 1999 New York Drama Desk nomination as Outstanding Featured Actor.
Davis Gaines (Hugh Dorsey) is best known to audiences for his portrayal of the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera both on Broadway and a record setting run of performances as the Phantom at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles
Chelle Denton (Lucille Frank), Robert Yacko (Governor Jack Slaton), Benjamin Schrader (Britt Craig), Gordan Goodman (Tom Watson/Officer Starnes), Tyler Miclean (Young Soldier/Frankie Epps), Robert W. Laur (Old Soldier/Judge Roan), E.E. Bell (Luther Rosser/Officer Ivey), Bradley Baker (Newt Lee/Enemble), Jeanette Dawson (Mrs. Phagan/Ensemble), Leslie Stevens (Sally Slaton/Ensemble/Dance Captain), Elizabeth Adabale (Minnie McKnight/Ensemble), Valerie Lohman (Mary Phagan), Renna Nightingale (Iola Stover), Jeanna Lea Rosen (Monteen), Brennley Faith Brown (Essie), Patrick Batiste Jr. (Riley/Ensemble), Gabrielle Jackson (Angela/Ensemble), Corky Loupe (Mr. Peavy/Ensemble), Allen Everman (Guard/Ensemble), Lisa Dyson (Lizzie Phagan/Ensemble).
THE ENSEMBLE: James Beardsley, Candice Rochelle Berge, Tym Brown, Zach Campa, Abby Carlson, Zack Crocker, Natalli Dorn, Madeline Ellingson, Brandon Taylor Jones, Melinda Koen, Noelle Lidyoff, Matt Merchant, Isabella Olivas, Jessica Ordaz, Kirklyn Robinson, Ryan Ruge, Erich Schroeder, Allyson Severyn, Kayla Joy Smith, Paul Stine, Michael Thomas Visgar, Brooklyn Vizcarra, Candace J. Washington.
Additional Credits: T.J. Dawson (Producer / Artistic Director), Gretchen Dawson (Co-Founder, Marketing and Sales), Daniel Dawson Co-Founder), Jeanette Dawson (Co-Founder), Terry Hanrahan (Production Manager), David Jordan Nestor (Company Manager), Amber Snead (Casting Director), Jean-Yves Tessier (Lighting Design), Eric Schilling (Rentals and Warehouse Manager), Jennifer Nelson (Box Office Manager), Grace Teddy (Box Office Associate) and Michael Sterling (Publicity and Public Relations).
Parade: Book by Alfred Uhry, Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Tickets are on sale now for $25.00 – $105.00. Online Ticketing: www.3dtheatricals.org, Ticket Handling Fee: $3 per ticket. – Group and Student discounts are available. $20 “Rush” tickets are available one hour prior to “select performances”.
- SCHEDULE: Parade show times are
- Saturday, June 16 at 8:00 pm
- Sunday, June 17 at 2:00 pm
- Friday, June 22 at 8:00 pm
- Saturday, June 23 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm
- Sunday, June 24 at 2:00 pm
- LOCATION: 1935 E. Manhattan Blvd., Redondo Beach, CA 90278
- PARKING: Complimentary parking located directly in front of the theatre.
3-D Theatricals Remote Box Office: 714 589-2770, Ext. 1. Hours: Monday – Friday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. 12:00 – 4:00 pm Saturday. The 3DT Box Office at the theatre Opens two hours prior to performances.