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LUTG’s Musical Parade is Performing in the Nuffield Theatre and SCAN got a chance to speak to the Director, Producer and lead actor during their rehearsal process.
First, SCAN spoke to the director of Parade, Robbie Love.
What is the musical about?
Parade is a musical, which tells the true story of a man called Leo Frank who worked as a manager in the National Pencil Company in Atlanta, Georgia in the early 1910s.
He had moved down there from New York. He’s Jewish: he’s an outsider, he doesn’t fit in, he doesn’t belong and everybody there sees him as such. One day a thirteen-year-old girl who works at the factory is discovered murdered in the basement.
This is all true – this is all what actually happened. Everybody accuses Leo Frank, not really because there’s any evidence, but because people don’t really like him. It’s what happens when a society is driven by fear and specifically fear of others which is something very relevant in todays society too. It explores how the media makes him seem much worse than he is. It explores the relationship between him and his wife and how this accusation and the subsequent court case affect their relationship and it explores how politicians and other important people react to such a vitriolic case.
What made you want to direct the musical Parade?
I first heard of parade about three and half years ago. A friend of mine asked me “have you heard of this” and I said “no” he made me listen to the songs, the first thing that I was drawn to was the music. The music is beautiful. It’s written by a composer called Jason Robert Brown.
Parade was first performed on Broadway in 1998 so it’s still fairly new in terms of musicals and the music is just fantastic and then when I read into the story and learnt how loyal the story is to what actually happened in terms of real life drama that took place. The fact that all the characters actually named and created based on the actual people who were there when it all happened.
I wanted to put it on a few times and I was just waiting for the right sort of people to be around and waiting for me to have the time. Luckily at the last minute of my last year of seven as a student at Lancaster the opportunity came around.
What are rehearsals like?
They are intense, long and hard but I think they are fun. I’m keeping the cast very busy because I want the show to be the best that it can be. I suppose you could call it a bit of a tough love approach but I think the cast understand that it’s all with good intentions, even though sometimes in the moment things might seem a bit difficult or hard work. I think that’s the only approach if you want to get results. Its busy and people are finding it hard work but I know it’s going to be good and that’s why we’re doing it.
Do you face any challenges or worries?
Yes, of course. It’s a big cast there’s 23 and a further 25 / 30 in the production team. There’s a lot of people, egos, emotions and personalities, so trying to manage all these people and making sure everybody knows what they’re doing.
I’m dealing with the big picture and sometimes you forget that these are all individual people who have their own feelings about everything. Also trying to get everyone to come to everything is difficult, the more people you have the more likely you are to have illnesses/buses being late/people going home and navigating through this forest of difficulty is hard, but I think it’s inevitable with any show.
It’s not something that surprised me, I knew it would be like this. There’s nothing that’s happened so far that’s made me go “this is so crazy why am I doing this”.
What are you most looking forward to?
I can’t wait to watch this show. I will relax when I’m lying hung over in bed the day after the after show party, when nothing will matter however well or badly it goes.
Next SCAN spoke one of the Producers of the show Abi Beaven.
What is your role as a Producer?
There’s not just me, there’s my other producer, there is Katherine. She takes over the finance sections, she has to deal with all the money and make sure nobody spends too much, so the role has been split into two.
My part is to essentially is to publicize the show, so I’m running the Facebook page, we have a twitter, we have the posters and trailers and essentially trying to get people to come and see the show.
What is the most exciting thing about producing the show?
Because I am not in every rehearsal, the most exciting thing is going away for a couple of rehearsals and then I will come back and see something that’s polished and put together and the excitement of “Oh wow we are actually making a show”
Are there any challenges that you have faced?
Editing videos, because I edit a video each week that goes up and finding something new and interesting to go up each week.
Finally SCAN spoke to Josh Utting, the Lead Actor of Parade.
Please tell you tell us more about your character?
I came into it not knowing overly much about the character but having worked with Robbie, helping me get to grips about who Leo is. He is confident, but he is also very anxious person, he’s scared of a lot of things in life and this comes out during the whole show. You see him grow as an individual but I think he’s a tricky one to play. He is the hardest character I have had to play.
What are rehearsals like for you?
They are really good, Robbie has a different directing style than anyone I have came across so far in LUTG and the cast is utilized completely. If ever I struggle with something, Robbie is always there to help.
You have already done another musical ‘Fame’ last year, how does this compare?
There’s no dancing, well there is one dance scene but very little. The dancing was always the hardest bit for me with Fame. The music is different and the style of singing in fame is a lot different to the style in this. Honestly the story makes a lot more sense as well. I have to say I do prefer this to Fame.
What are you most looking forward too?
Seeing it. Seeing everyone doing the whole thing, the first time. Hearing everyone together just for that first time we will be finished, seeing act 1 and act 2 together. The anticipation will be exciting.
LUTG’s Parade is being shown in the Nuffield theatre from Wednesday to Friday, Week 9.