Pulver, Berresse, Hoff, d'Amboise And More Join Knight in CTG's 'PARADE', Previews Begin 9/24 (Updated)

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Pulver, Berresse, Hoff, d'Amboise And More Join Knight in CTG's 'PARADE', Previews Begin 9/24 (Updated)

Center Theatre Group has announced casting for the upcoming Donmar Warehouse production of the musical "Parade," starting previews on September 24, 2009, at the CTG/Mark Taper Forum. Opening is set for October 4 and performances will continue through November 15.

T.R. Knight, formerly of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," will play Leo Frank, with Lara Pulver reprising the role of Lucille Frank in the story recounted in "Parade." Knight is known to TV audiences as George on the ABC series. He appeared on Broadway opposite Patti LuPone in the 2001 revival of "Noises Off," as well as in "Tartuffe" and received a Drama Desk nomination for his role in off-Broadway's "Scattergood." Pulver received an Olivier Award nomination for the role in London's Donmar Warehouse production of "Parade" and currently appears on the BBC series "Robin Hood."

The cast also includes, in alphabetical order, Brad Anderson (Officer Ivey, Luther Rosser, Guard), Michael Berresse (Governor Slaton, Britt Craig, Mr. Peavy), Will Collyer (Ensemble), Charlotte d'Amboise (Mrs. Phagan, Sally Slaton), Karole Foreman (Ensemble), Laura Griffith (Ensemble), P.J. Griffith (Officer Starnes, Tom Watson), Curt Hansen (Young Soldier, Frankie Epps, Guard), Deidrie Henry (Minnie McKnight, Angela), Christian Hoff (Hugh Dorsey), Lisa Livesay (Monteen), Hayley Podschun (Iola Stover), David St. Louis (Newt Lee, Jim Conley, Riley), Rose Sezniak (Lila, Mary Phagan), Phoebe Strole (Essie), and Josh Tower (Ensemble). Additional cast to be announced.

A shameful event in American history and a poignant love story are at the heart of "Parade," which features a book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Co-conceived by Harold Prince, it is directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winning choreographer Rob Ashford, who helmed the Donmar production. Both Uhry and Brown won 1999 Tony Awards, for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score, respectively, when the musical was first produced at the Lincoln Center Theater.

The Donmar Warehouse production received 2008 Olivier Award nominations for Best New Musical, Best Theatre Choreographer and Best Director, among others.

The Taper presentation will be the first time that the Donmar production will be seen in America.

"Parade" follows the true story of the arrest, conviction and lynching of Leo Frank in post-Civil

War Atlanta, Georgia. Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old factory worker, has been murdered on the day of the 1913 Confederate Memorial Day parade. Frank, the factory's superintendent and a Jewish outsider, is immediately cast as a suspect. As the media frenzy ensues, with journalists thirsting for news to boost circulations and ambitious politicians seeking votes, Frank - the transplanted Yankee - becomes the scapegoat. His wife, Lucille, passionately works for her husband's release from jail but public hatred continues to rise to a fever pitch. Despite the terrible circumstance, Leo and Lucille find a renewed commitment to each other as well as a moment of transcendent grace in their tragedy.

"I cannot remember when the narrative and plotting of a musical has kept me engaged, let alone, gripped . . . ‘Parade' makes a devastating, emotional show," Nicholas de Jongh of The Evening Standard said of the Donmar Warehouse production. Charles Spencer of The Daily Telegraph also remarked, "Here at last comes an original musical of real substance."

Alfred Uhry has the distinction of being the only American writer who has won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama (for "Driving Miss Daisy"), an Academy Award (for the adapted screenplay of "Driving Miss Daisy") and two Tony Awards (the play "The Last Night of Ballyhoo" and the book for "Parade"). His play "Without Walls" received its West Coast premiere at the Taper in 2006, and the musical "The Robber Bridegroom," for which he wrote the book and lyrics, played at the Taper in 1976.

In addition to his Tony Award for "Parade," Jason Robert Brown also received a Tony Award nomination for his contributions to the score of "Urban Cowboy, The Musical." "The Last Five Years," for which Brown was the composer and lyricist, was cited by Time Magazine as one of the Ten Best of 2001, also winning Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics. Brown wrote the music and lyrics for "13" which received its world premiere in the Taper's 2006-2007 season and went on to Broadway.

The Donmar Warehouse, a non-profit theatre under the artistic directorship of Michael Grandage, is located in London's West End and has a reputation as one of the UK's leading producing theatres. Donmar-generated productions have received 30 Olivier Awards, 15 Critics' Circle Awards, 15 Evening Standard Awards and 13 Tony Awards for nine Broadway productions.

Center Theatre Group, a non-profit organization, is one of the largest and most active theatre companies in the nation, programming subscription seasons year-round at the 739-seat Mark Taper Forum and the 1,600 to 2,000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center of Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to providing theatre of the highest caliber to the rich, diverse communities of Southern California and beyond, CTG supports a significant number of play development and arts education initiatives.

Tickets for "Parade" go sale Friday, June 26 and are available by calling (213) 628-2772 or online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org.

 

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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