Staged! to Present PARADE by Jason Robert Brown, 9/20-10/12
This time, Staged! presents JRB's dark and ambitious musical Parade, September 20 through October 12. A dark and compelling look at American justice and racism, Parade won two Tony Awards for its sweeping score and powerful message.
Parade was created after legendary producer Hal Prince commissioned Jason Robert Brown and playwright and screen writer Alfred Uhry to write what he called "an American opera." Parade is based on the story of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory owner falsely accused and convicted of murdering a young girl in Atlanta, Georgia in 1913. The musical received mixed reviews during its initial run at Lincoln Center Theater, but JRB and Uhry both received 1999 Tony Awards for their work. A national tour in 2000, a revised chamber music version produced by London's Donmar Warehouse in 2007 and a remounting at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles brought Parade renewed acclaim and attention. The show remains a powerful force in American musicals.
This Portland production is the 2007 chamber version and features Andrew Bray as Leo Frank and Jennifer Davies as Lucille Frank. Parade is directed by Paul Angelo with musical direction by Rob Fishel. A cast of 18 actors and eight live musicians will present the work. Staged! is proud to present the Portland premiere of Parade with a cast of professional adult actors alongside pre-professional students in the teen roles.
"We are thrilled to dive into this rarely-seen piece of theatre and be able to feature professional actors alongside six advanced students," said Chanda Walker-Hall, Artistic Director of Staged! "It is a fabulous score, and to hear it in an intimate setting with the actors and musicians so close is thrilling. The themes truly resonate with us - and are, sadly, just as relevant as ever in 2014."
Continuing their close relationship with the Broadway composer, this is the third JRB show Staged! has produced. Despite his busy schedule that has him traveling around the world writing, conducting and directing some of the country's most-lauded contemporary Broadway musicals, recently winning his fourth Tony award and now collaborating on star-studded Hollywood movies, Jason Robert Brown always seems to find the time to visit our fair city and play for Staged!. Staged! will bring Mr. Brown out to Portland for the third time in 2015.
Brown just won his third and fourth Tony Awards earlier this month for The Bridges of Madison County and has another show opening on Broadway this Fall. His show The Last 5 Years just finished its run at Portland Center Stage AND has just been made into a feature film starring Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick.
WHEN: September 20 - October 12, 2014; Opening Night is Saturday, Sept. 20
WHERE: Brunish Theatre inside Portland'5 Centers for the Arts, 1111 SW Broadway
TICKETS: $15-$31 General Admission, Student discounts available.
DATES: Sept. 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28 & October 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 2014; Thurs, Fri, Sat. at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 2pm. Thursday performances (Sept. 25 & Oct. 2, 9) are $15
CHATS: Pre-Show Chats are held before every Sunday matinee with the artistic team and special guests: 1pm-1:40 pm.
TICKETS: Tickets are available through the Portland'5 Box Office, online here or by phone 800.273.1530.
More about this production and Staged! at www.stagedpdx.org.
Staged! exists to tell compelling human stories through song, and to nurture talent both onstage and off. With musical theatre pared down to its essential elements -- music, story and song -- Staged! produces stellar musical theatre and provides pre-professional training to young people.
Since bounding onto Portland's arts scene in 2005, Staged! continues to delight audiences by exploring those things that make us burst into song, focusing on musicians and actors telling stories together on stage.
Consistently recognized by the greater Portland community for artistic excellence, Staged! has the highest production-to-awards ratio of any theatre in the city.
Staged! brought Jason Robert Brown to Portland for the first time in 2010, when the company devoted an entire summer to his work. He performed a standing-room-only concert in conjunction with a production of his innovative, piano-centric production of Songs for a New World. That production swept the Drammy Awards that year, making a lasting impression on the theatre community. In 2012, Staged! brought the composer to Portland for another concert to celebrate its production of JRB's 13. This time Staged! paired him with Portland-born Broadway star Shoshana Bean as part of the company's ongoing commitment to the works of living, breathing musical theatre composers/theatre makers.
Jason Robert Brown is the ultimate multi-hyphenate -- an equally skilled composer, lyricist, conductor, arranger, orchestrator, director and performer -- best known for his dazzling scores to several of the most renowned musicals of his generation, including the recently revived The Last Five Years, his debut song cycle Songs for a New World, and the seminal Parade, for which he won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Score. Jason recently won Tony Awards for both the Best Score and Best Orchestration for his highly praised score to The Bridges of Madison County.
Jason Robert Brown has been hailed as "one of Broadway's smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim" (Philadelphia Inquirer), and his "extraordinary, jubilant theater music" (Chicago Tribune) has been heard all over the world, whether in one of the hundreds of productions of his musicals every year or in his own incendiary live performances. The New York Times refers to Jason as "a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical." Honeymoon In Vegas, based on Andrew Bergman's film, opens on Broadway in the Fall following a triumphant production at Paper Mill Playhouse last year. A film version of his epochal Off-Broadway musical The Last Five Years will be released later this year, starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan and directed by Richard LaGravenese.
His major musicals as composer and lyricist include: The Bridges of Madison County; 13, written with Robert Horn and Dan Elish, which began its life in Los Angeles in 2007 and opened on Broadway in 2008 (and was subsequently directed by the composer for its West End premiere in 2012); The Last Five Years, which was cited as one of Time Magazine's 10 Best of 2001 and won Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics (and was subsequently directed by the composer in its record-breaking Off-Broadway run at Second Stage Theatre in 2013); Parade, written with Alfred Uhry and directed by Harold Prince, which premiered at Lincoln Center Theater in 1998, and subsequently won both the Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best New Musical, as well as garnering Jason the Tony Award for Original Score; and Songs for a New World, a theatrical song cycle directed by Daisy Prince, which played Off-Broadway in 1995, and has since been seen in hundreds of productions around the world. Parade was also the subject of a major revival directed by Rob Ashford, first at London's Donmar Warehouse and then at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. His orchestral adaptation of E.B. White's novel The Trumpet of the Swanpremiered at the Kennedy Center with John Lithgow and the National Symphony Orchestra, and the CD was released on PS Classics. Future projects include a new chamber musical created with Daisy Prince and Jonathan Marc Sherman called The Connector, an untitled new piece created with Claudia Shear and Casey Nicholaw, and a new solo album for release in 2015.
As a soloist or with his band The Caucasian Rhythm Kings, Jason has performed sold-out concerts around the world. His first solo album,Wearing Someone Else's Clothes, was named one of Amazon.com's best of 2005, and is available from Sh-K-Boom Records. His collaboration with singer Lauren Kennedy, Songs of Jason Robert Brown, is available on PS Classics. Jason's piano sonata, Mr. Broadway was commissioned and premiered by Anthony De Mare at Carnegie Hall. Jason is also the composer of the incidental music for David Lindsay-Abaire's Kimberly Akimbo and Fuddy Meers, Marsha Norman's Last Dance, David Marshall Grant's Current Events, Kenneth Lonergan's The Waverly Gallery, and the Irish Repertory Theater's production of Long Day's Journey Into Night, and he was a Tony Award nominee for his contributions to the score of Urban Cowboy the Musical. He has also contributed music to the hit Sesame Street and The Wonder Pets. His scores are published by Hal Leonard. Jason currently teaches musical theatre performance and composition at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. Jason lives with his wife, composer Georgia Stitt, and their daughters in New York City. Jason is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 & 47. Visit him on the web at www.jasonrobertbrown.com.
Pictured: Actors Ashlee Waldbauer, Andrew Bray and Jennifer Davies. Photo by Russell J. Young.