Best Touring Stage Production

"Parade" at the Palace

Last October, Playhouse Square pulled a coup by being one of only six cities to grab a painfully brief tour of Parade, the most underrated musical of the '90s. With a score by Jason Robert Brown and a book by Driving Miss Daisy's Alfred Uhry, Parade is a musicalization of a sad footnote to American history: Leo Frank, an alienated young Brooklyn Jew running a pencil factory in 1913 Atlanta, is falsely accused of raping and murdering a teenage girl. Musical theater has a propensity for trivializing history. Here, we saw the opposite. Ironically, Parade suffered from jaded critics the same lynching as its murdered hero. As a labor of love, its creators mounted a road company far more assured and vibrant than the Broadway run, and for an all-too-brief couple of weeks, it illuminated for this city the vast possibilities of the American musical.