Music educator and director Migue Oquendo calls Parade "one of the best shows that nobody knows about," which is why he has staged the production three times with the Showcase Players, in residence at Music Showcase in Brandon, and now through the Florida Academy of Performing Arts (FAOPA).
"The show has great music and the fact that it's based on a true story makes it so much more intriguing," Oquendo said. "It gives a lot of history, in terms of teaching people about racism and intolerance. Sometimes it's important to go back to these roots and see what it was like."
The show is on stage at the James McCabe Theater in Valrico, at 506 Fifth St., on Jan. 25-27 and Feb. 1-3 (see times below).
As noted in the show's program:
"Parade tells the disturbing true story of the unjust trial of factory superintendent Leo Frank. Set in Atlanta, Ga., just after the turn of the 20th century, the musical follows Leo's harrowing journey as he is accused of murdering his young employee, Mary Phagan, who was found dead in the factory. As the trial unfolds, Leo is scrutinized by a society that never truly accepted him, and ultimately he must pay the highest price for being a Jewish man living in the south. Parade provides fascinating insight into the desperation of human nature, the fear and prejudice that afflict mankind, and the strong forces that attempt to counteract these societal evils."
Oquendo's latest production is triple-cast for some roles, giving more students the opportunity to play lead roles over the course of the eight-show production. About half the cast has never performed with the Showcase Players before.
"It's good for them to grow and to learn and it's fun to watch them do that," Oquendo said. "Every show they grow and improve and their confidence level increases in terms of getting on stage, being in front of a crowd and speaking."
Showcase Players Show Times for Parade
- Friday, Jan. 25 — 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Jan. 26 — 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Sunday, Jan. 27 — 2 p.m.
- Friday, Feb. 1 — 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 2 — 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Sunday, Feb. 3 — 2 p.m.