Visceral, emotion-packed show from University of Chichester students

students Matthew Headon and Sarah Davis who play the lead roles of Leo and Lucille Frank

students Matthew Headon and Sarah Davis who play the lead roles of Leo and Lucille Frank

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Following a successful 2016 season, the University of Chichester’s musical theatre joint honours company presents the Tony-award winning Parade - The Musical, produced and directed by Andrew Wright, with musical direction from Kelvin Towse and choreography by Chris Cuming.

Andrew said: “The tragic, true story of the trial and lynching of a man wrongly accused of murder is brought to emotional and theatrical life by acclaimed playwright Alfred Uhry and award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown. In 1913, Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-born Jew living in Georgia, is put on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan, a factory worker under his employ. Already guilty in the eyes of everyone around him, a sensationalist publisher and a janitor’s false testimony seal Leo’s fate. His only defenders are a governor with a conscience, and, eventually, his assimilated Southern wife who finds the strength and love to become his greatest champion. This is the revised 2007 version of the show, first seen at the Donmar Warehouse.”

Final year student, Sarah Davis, who plays the pivotal role of Lucille Frank, said: “Considering over 100 people auditioned for this show, I am so grateful to be one of the lucky 30 that has been cast. The auditions took place over consecutive weekends in late January and involved two very long and nerve-wracking days. I am beyond excited to be involved in, what I’m sure is going to be, an incredible experience”.

Parade performs at The Jeneses Arts Centre, Linden Road, Bognor Regis, PO21 2AS on 19th April at 7:30pm and 20th, 21st and 22nd April at 2:30pm and 7:30pm.

Ticket prices £12/£10 (Concessions)/£8 NUS. Book tickets: Online at www.chi.ac.uk/events or phone the Ticket Source Box Office 0333 666 3366.

Advisory notice – This musical contains strong language, adult content and scenes of a violent nature that some viewers might find upsetting. Suggested for ages 12 years old and over.

Andrew added: “I am a firm believer of the notion that theatre holds the potential to influence, educate, inspire and inform, transcending all barriers of age, gender, race, culture and ethnicity. Theatre can be transformational, it can be thought provoking, it can be uplifting and entertaining and it can frequently be a viscerally moving and emotional experience. Parade is one of the most remarkable musicals to come out of the last two decades, winning the coveted awards for Best Book and Best Original Score at the 53rd Annual Tony Awards on 6th June 1999. Parade opened on Broadway in December 1998 to reviews of immense praise, however the audience was so put off by the shows dark nature, tragic ending and uncomfortable truths that it closed in February 1999, after just 84 performances.

“Parade is a gripping, emotional, dark, romantic and ultimately enlightening musical. Thank you for coming to support us and I hope you enjoy our production.

“The music and lyrics are crafted by one of the most influential composers of the last 25 years. Jason Robert Brown, who was only 27 when he was approached by director Hal Prince to work on the show, felt that the score needed to reflect Atlanta in 1913 and, as such, utilised a mix of stylistic pastiche and a southern musical vernacular, infused with folk and spiritual music of the time. This epic score coupled with Alfred Uhry’s skilfully constructed book allow this harrowing true story to come to life in the most confronting and unapologetic of ways.

“Parade is steeped in American history and covers deep themes of equality, racial and political tension, anti-Semitism, slavery, deceit, loyalty and, most importantly, love.

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