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‘Parade’ has state premiere at The Alex

Joyce Rudolph

The Tony Award-winning musical “Parade” receives its California

premiere in a concert staged reading by Musical Theatre Guild when it

opens its five-show season Monday at The Alex Theatre.

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A staged reading is where actors read from the script and minimal

staging and costuming are needed, said Kevin McMahon, a member of the

guild’s executive committee.

“But the actors sing the whole score from the musical,” he added.

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The company believes concert staged readings are the best way to

present musicals that are seldom seen by audiences.

“ ‘Parade’ was chosen for this first presentation because it has a

phenomenal score, an incredibly moving story, and it’s fantastically

theatrical,” McMahon said.

Set in 1913, the musical relates the true story of Leo Frank, a

Brooklyn-born Jew living in Georgia, who is put on trial for the

murder of a 13-year-old factory worker under his employ.

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Frank will be played by Ira Denmark, who has been an actor in

Southern California for about 20 years.

Kim Huber was scheduled to play his wife, Lucille, but had to

cancel because she is doing a project in New York, McMahon said.

Misty Cotton, who won an Ovation Award last year for “Side Show,”

produced by Burbank’s Colony Theatre, replaces her.

“The great thing about our company is we have plenty of talented

people who fill in,” McMahon said.

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The company has 58 members, but nonmembers also perform in shows.

After a trial period, members vote to accept them into the company.

Last June, Barry McComb, Alex executive director, announced that

Musical Theatre Guild had become a resident company. The guild had

made its home at the Pasadena Playhouse for seven years. After a

trial show was presented at The Alex last season, a partnership was

formed.

Part of the attraction, McMahon said, is that The Alex is a larger

facility. Now the guild can expand the number of students it brings

to see its plays through its educational program.

The other component of the program is students come to the Los

Angeles Music Center to see a performance based on the history of

musical theater.

“We can expose students to an art form that they might not be able

to see,” McMahon said.

“Parade” was written by playwright Alfred Uhry (“Driving Miss

Daisy”) and composer Jason Robert Brown (“Songs For A New World”). It

is directed by Calvin Remsberg with musical direction by Steven

Smith, and is produced for the guild by Jennifer Gordon, Carol Kline

and Patty Paul.

The guild finishes the run with two more shows at 2:30 and 7:30

p.m. Sept. 21 at the Janet and Ray Scherr Forum Theatre at the

Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza’s Countrywide Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are $38 and can be reserved by calling Ticketmaster at (805)

583-8700.

*

IF YOU GO:

* WHAT: “Parade” produced by Musical Theatre Guild.

* WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday.

* WHERE: The Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale.

* TICKETS: $35.

* PHONE: 243-2539.


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