PARADE at Writers Theatre – Cast Interviews

PATRICK ANDREWS: PARADE stands out to me as a musical because it is a perfect example of the power of the medium. I think musical theatre is such a virtuousic art form. But often it gets downplayed or spoon-fed to an audience. CAROLINE HEFFERNAN: Usually when people see musicals they think of big dance numbers, very cheery music. Which, the music in this show is fantastic, it’s really, really, really great music. Probably some of my favorite music I’ve heard from a show before. But it’s really dramatic. JONATHAN BUTLER-DUPLESSIS: This one feels like a play to me. And that’s the great part of working with Jason Robert Brown’s music. It’s all scene-based. It’s all narrative-driven. And you have wonderful singers, you have wonderful dancers in the show, but primarily, we’re storytellers. And this is a very important story. BRIANNA BORGER: Personally what I love and find so different about this piece is the female empowerment. Especially in regards to my character. Leo has an entire song where he sings about how he will not underestimate his wife ever again and how she’s made all of this happen for him and how wonderful she is. And a song like that in musical theatre about a strong, central female character is really, really rare. HEFFERNAN: We always learn in history class about how things really never change that much. I think this show is a really good indication of that. We see thing that happen in this show repeated today. Maybe in less severe ways, maybe not. ANDREWS: It can be a real freeing experience, and a real prison, to be portraying someone who is real. As an actor you’re seeking as many clues as you can, for.. how are person thinks, what they look like, what they feel, what their back story was. So when you’re playing someone real, all of those clues are mapped out for you. You have this beautiful treasure map but at the same time there’s a incredible sense of responsibility to honoring that person’s personhood, and what they, what they went through. BORGER: Playing a real person is a challenge in itself. And I think the blessing with Lucille is that there is very little about her, and about how she effected the trial and the outcome of his life. There’s little covered. You can read entire books about this, and she’s kind of an afterthought. “And also he had this wife…” And so there’s a lot of freedom there. I get to create the character that I think she is. BUTLER-DUPLESSIS: It is definitely very challenging music. But it’s also beautiful music. It’s so catchy, but so evocative of what’s going on, We have all of the different styles of that Southern era represented there. Cakewalks, and there’s blues songs, and there’s these uptempo revival numbers. So there’s so much music to digest. And even though the subject matter is very heavy, it’s very heavy, you’re gonna find yourself singing some of these tunes. I’m not sure how you’ll feel about that! But you will find yourself singing them. BORGER: And make all of the characters in this show relatable. We’re not trying to say that these people are evil and these people are good. And that’s, that’s the end, that’s what our story is. We’re reflecting, these are all these people and they have all these beliefs for these reasons. And these are their convictions. And how does that, effect what their actions in the play are? And I really think that making that story intimate, and understanding where each of these characters are coming from, is the most important aspect.

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