Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Wildwood Summer Theatre Parade

By • Jul 28th, 2008 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Wildwood Summer Theatre’s production of Parade [MP3 5:04 2.3MB].

Wildwood Summer Theatre
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Bethesda, MD
$14/$10 Students and Seniors
Through August 2nd

Laura: This is the ShowBizRadio Review of Parade, performed by the Wildwood Summer Theatre at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda, Maryland. We saw the performance on Saturday evening, July 26, 2008.

Mike: Parade is a musical with book by Alfred Uhry, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. The show concerns the real life 1913 trial of Jewish factory man Leo Frank, who is accused of raping and murdering a thirteen year old factory girl, Mary Phagan. The trial, which was sensationalized by the media, aroused anti-semitic tensions in Atlanta and the state of Georgia. When Frank’s sentence was commuted to life in prison due to possible problems with the trial, he was transferred to a prison in Milledgeville, Georgia. Frank was kidnapped and taken to Marietta Georgia where he was hanged.

Laura: Although this production did not have a happy ending, I enjoyed myself. I felt it was powerful. I liked some of the special effects used in some of the scenes and some of the singing scenes.

Mike: This production was a significant accomplishment for the Wildwood Summer Theatre. The sets were incredible. The singing and acting was top notch. There were some minor technical problems, but all in al this was a good show and I had a good time. It is not necessarily a show you go to to enjoy. It does expose some of the nastiness in the history of the United States. However, it was very well done and thought provoking as to how far we have come in the last 100 years.

Laura: Leo Frank, the man falsely accused of raping and killing Mary Phagan, was played by Ben Lurye. He had a powerful presence on stage. Lurye’s performance seemed to be that of the frustrated factory manager who was just trying to make a living. He was not happy living in the south. He had made references to wanting to earn some money so they could get out of there as soon as they could. I liked his compassion. Although he seemed a little brusk. I think he had some compassion for the workers while he was intent on them getting the job done.

Mike: He sang a song early in the show entitled, “How Can I Call This Home?” It had such a strong sense of longing and anguish and loss about not being up north, it really humanized Frank’s character. There was also a scene with his wife Lucille, played by Sherry Berg. The playfulness between the two of them and the fact that there were things he could not say to his wife really showed later in the trial how he had been taken advantage of by the system.

Laura: I thought Berg was a go getter. She played the role with a lot of feistiness. Even though she was frustrated with her husband at times for his seemingly lack of gumption, she wanted to fight for him and for his freedom. They had a good song together in the second act that had some sound issues and the orchestra over powered them.

Mike: There were sound issues throughout the evening with microphones not coming on or would rustle against clothing. That may still need some tweaking as to making sure the cues are set up correctly so that the microphone can be come on at the correct time. There were times when it was distracting. One notable case was during the interrogation of Newt Lee (played by Kristopher Owens). It was hard to hear him tell his side of what he saw at the factory on the day of the murder.

Laura: Another character that I thought did well was was Frankie, a friend of Mary’s. He was played by Bennett Clarkson. He had a good scene in the first act when he sang “It Don’t Make Sense.” He had a lot of intensity and powerful emotions. He had really scary eyes that came out with his anger over what he wanted to do to Leo. It was very honest.

Mike: Parade took place in a lot of different locations. There were a lot of different scene changes. They were handled nicely and it was not distracting to see giant platforms being wheeled out behind other scenes were taking place. The scenes were designed by Nicole De Pedro. One scene that I really liked was in the second act when Jim Connley (played by Michael Kuhn) and the chain gang sang “Blues: Feel The Rain Fall.” He was part of a chain gang for an unrelated crime. Behind the scrim in the back were several other members of the chain gang. And the way the lighting was used was very effective with the timing of the music and the singing of the song. It became a very powerful scene.

Laura: Parade lasted two hours and fifty minutes with one intermission. It is playing through Saturday August 2nd. Friday and Saturdays at 7: 30 pm at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda, Maryland.

Mike: If you have seen the show, we would like to hear your comments. Simply leave a comment here at We would also like to invite you to join our free mailing list. Stay informed with what’s happening in theatre in the DC region.

Laura: And now, on with the show.


  • Young Soldier: Lonathan Loewy
  • Old Soldier: Will Lockhart
  • Aide: Melanie Kurstin
  • Assistant: Sara Wright
  • Lucille Frank: Sherry Berg
  • Leo Frank: Ben Lurye
  • Hugh Dorsey: Will Lockhart
  • Governor John Slaton: Paul Scanlan
  • Sally Slaton: Pam Freedy
  • Frankie Epps: Bennett Clarkson
  • Mary Phagan: Katie Friedgen
  • Iola Stover: Caroline Wolfson
  • Jim Conley: Michael Kuhn
  • J.N. Starnes: Ariel Messeca
  • Officer Ivey: Jonathan Loewy
  • Newt Lee: Kristopher Owens
  • Mrs. Phagan: Cara Pellegrino
  • Lizzie Phagan: Lori Craley
  • Floyd McDaniel/prison Guard/Foreman: Danny Park
  • Britt Craig: Mikey Cafarelli
  • Tom Watson: Sean Finan
  • Angela: Jenay McNeiel
  • Riley: Nikki Duong
  • Luther Rosser: Matt Glenn
  • Fiddlin John Carson: Jonathan Loewy
  • Judge Roan/ Mr. Peavey: Christopher Haller
  • Nurse: Katie Perry
  • Monteen: Sherry Benedek
  • Essie: Amanda Kaplan
  • Helen: Erin Branigan
  • Ensemble: Maddie Brown, Laura Cole, Stephanie Helwig, Corriane Oster, Melinda Paul, Jordan Smilan-Goldstein


  • Conductor: Ian Stuart
  • Violin: Catie Bartlett, Alice Hawfield, Lisa Silverman
  • Cello: Jen Larson
  • Bass: Sara Korpeck
  • Woodwinds: Alisha Bhore, Melissa Ludwig, Max Morawski, Ashley Sharper
  • Trumpet: Richard Gray, Ethan Marks, Joe Silver, Itai Yasur
  • French Horn: Matt Eisenberg, Tori Randall
  • Trombone: William Ardanuy, Glenn Daniels
  • Piano: Jeremy Lent
  • Percussion: Andrew Bort, Collin Sommers


  • Producer: Ian Stuart
  • Director & Dramaturg: Kristina Friedgen
  • Assistant Director: Tori Randall
  • Dialect Coach: David Olson
  • Stage Manager: Matti Dickinson
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Alice Forehand
  • Choreographers: Joanna Higbee & Christina Freidgen
  • Dance Captains: Amanda Kaplan & Ariel Messeca
  • Fight Captain: will Lockhart
  • Music Director: Juliana Marin
  • Conductor: Ian Stuart
  • Assistant Conductor: Matt Eisenberg
  • Director of Fundraising: Bridget Woodbury
  • Box Office/House Managers: Juliana Marin & Lisa Ohanian
  • Technical Director: Peter Gambardella
  • Assistant Technical Director: Harry Sherman
  • Scenic Designer: Nicole De Pedro
  • Projections Artist/Fly Operator: Ray Durbin
  • Lighting Designer: Max Flicker
  • Lighting Board Operator: Russell Blair
  • Sound Designer: Matt Glen
  • Sound Board Operator: Colin Cranford
  • Properties Designers: Alice Hawfield & Mandy Yu
  • Costume Designer: Erin Branigan
  • Hair and Makeup Designer: Brittany Graham
  • Running Crew: Jose Abraham, Danny Green, Jason Austria, Alice Hawfield, Russell Blair, Paul Johnson, Colin Cranford, Jay Koby, Ray Durbin, David Marin, Max Fickler, Nicole De Pedro, Peter Gambardella, Harry Sherman, Matt Glenn, Mandy Yu
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