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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

An open letter from the cast of PARADE

They come to a decision ...

Below is a open letter to the theater community from the cast of the ART/WNY production of the Alfred Uhry / Jason Robert Brown musical, Parade, regarding their unanimous decision regarding whether to continue performances, in light of recent controversies.

No one is here to deliver an itemized draft of every mistake made by the Executive Director of ART/WNY. It is clear however, that the members of the cast and creative team of PARADE were manipulated time and again into believing lies. This sabotage may have been instigated by outside sources, however its origins are found from within our own company. How can anyone expect an actor to continue working for & alongside a colleague who has played so fast and loose with their professional reputations in this town. It is our wish, as an ensemble of theater artists, to address the Buffalo theater community at large regarding the unfolding of recent events surrounding our production of PARADE produced through ART/WNY.

Under the loving guidance of Matthew Refermat, we were brought together to tell a story. An important, timely story lifted from the pages of our American history, exposing us to the dangers that come from the festering of the fear and ignorance that eventually lead to the mob mentality resulting in the lynching of Leo M. Frank. Elements of this production began more than two years ago, long before ART/WNY became the venue. Once ART/WNY became the involved, however, repeatedly, we were misled regarding casting decisions, scheduling, and of course proper licensing. Despite the less than ideal situations we continued to encounter, we supported one another, and continued to do the work of keeping our rehearsal process in action.

In the light of the most current news out about ART/WNY, our ensemble feels it has reached a crossroads. We have verified that all proper rights have been paid, and our company of actors has unanimously decided to continue telling the story we set out to tell. It is our hope that PARADE can move forward while expressing the following:

1. We, as individuals, do not condone the actions, past or present, of the current Executive Director of ART/WNY. We do not condone the business conducted, past or present, by ART/WNY.

2. With the knowledge that the rights to this production have been licensed and paid in full, we aim to finish out our contracts/obligations as originally negotiated. This is our show that we’ve worked very hard on and we intend to what we can to bring our performances to an end with pride and dignity.

3. We are so grateful for the kind words of encouragement and support that the Buffalo theater community has continued to give us throughout this appalling and thoroughly demoralizing situation.

4. All we can ask now is for the opportunity to continue telling our story to supportive audiences, with the knowledge that all ticket proceeds are now going directly to the rights and the artists’ paychecks.

Hopefully, once all is said and done, the parties involved in these deceitful actions have been held accountable, and no cast or crew in this community will have to endure such an ordeal.

Please support the cast and creators of PARADE. We thank you.

1 Comment

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James Deiotte
James Deiotte
Apr 04, 2019

I was very touched by the wonderful ensemble and singers in this production of a very difficult piece, Parade. I felt stunned by how appropriate this production is in our times, with so much hate and a mod mentality currently dividing out country. The production elements are not perfect. The staging is very careful and as good or better than so much staging I have seen in our theater community, some of the costumes so perfect, some not.. but... all of that gets lost in the care and energy and love of the production ensemble. The singing, the players in the small orchestra which was filling in beautifully multiple parts of a huge one, I loved it. Then, to …

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