Bring Writers Theater's PARADE to NEW YORK CITY!
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I insist that the The Roundabout Theatre Company or Manhattan Theatre Club bring the Writers Theater of Chicago's recently opened production of Jason Robert Brown & Alfred Uhry's PARADE to New York City after it's run in Chicago!
- Chicago Tribune
- Chicago Reader
- Chicago Sun Times
- Daily Herald
- Around The Town Chicago
- Chicago Theatre Review
The list of Highly Recommended Reviews goes on and on and on and on. Just read this statement placed in the production's audience brochure by Rabbi Steven Stark Lowenstein and Cantor Andrea Rae Markowicz!
"NOTHING CHANGES... LET’S HOPE NOT
By Rabbi Steven Stark Lowenstein and Cantor Andrea Rae Markowicz
'At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in our unending search for freedom.'
~President Lyndon B. Johnson
Writers Theater [of Chicago]’s powerful and poignant production of Parade at this crucial time in our community and society, reminds us of this ever-important story of Leo Frank and what was called the Trial of the Century - a trial that shocked
and traumatized our country. The very title, Parade, explained playwright Alfred Uhry, references the Confederate Memorial Day Parade that brought Mary Phagan to town and the lynch mob that took Frank from Milledgeville to Marietta in 1915. Parade emphasizes the tension between North and South, tensions that may still exist today.
Leo Frank is the only Jewish person ever to be lynched in America, and this case has traumatized our country for more than 100 years. Cornell-educated Leo was the Chief Operating Of cer of the National Pencil Co., and on April 27, 1913, the body of 13-year-old Mary Phagan was found in his factory. She had been raped and murdered. The last person to see Mary alive when he paid her salary of $1.20, Frank was indicted and arrested for her murder. Frank’s trial lasted 29 days, with large crowds gathered outside the courthouse in Georgia. There were reports that when the jury was marched to court each morning, some chanted, 'Hang the Jew or we’ll hang you.' In appeals that went all the way to the Supreme Court, Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Charles Evans Hughes wrote in a scathing dissent, 'Mob law does not become due process of law by securing the assent of a terrorized jury.'
A group from Cobb and Marietta counties, calling themselves the Knights of Mary Phagan, drove to where Frank was being held and, without even one gunshot, kidnapped him from the prison. On August 17, 1915 he was taken to a large oak tree and lynched. Not long after the lynching, some of the lynching party, joined by others in white robes and masks, met on top of Stone Mountain in Georgia where they burned a cross and renamed themselves the Reconstituted Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. In response to the trial, an organization called the Anti-Defamation
League was founded in an attempt to avoid this type of injustice and hatred for all people.
Leo M. Frank’s grave marker in a large cemetery in Brooklyn simply reads 'SEMPER IDEM' – 'Nothing Changes.'
When one considers the recent surge of Anti-Semitism here in our country, with hatred and violence directed towards all different types of people of all different religions and races, it is obvious that prejudice, discrimination, hatred and indifference are still with us. There is a persistent, palpable, even terrifying, sense within our community that we have suddenly entered into a new era of permissiveness. Parade reminds us, as Dr. King pointed out in The Letter From a Birmingham Jail: 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere.' 'Nothing Changes' cannot be our motto. We must continue to work, and act, and sing, and pray, and hope for a better and more tolerant world. Mary Phagan and Leo Frank deserve no less."
If you've read this much, I only have a few more things to say, so please stick with me. There is no better time to tell this story, to bring it back to the people of New York City. The world has grown quite much since the theatre-goers of New York caught this beautiful piece of theatre back in 1998. It's about time to bring it back. That is why I ask the Roundabout Theatre Company and/or the Manhattan Theatre Club to think about the importance of this musical and bring it back to New York City, where it belongs.
Thank you for your time,
Ethan J. Miller
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