Confessions of a Dramaturg or Atlanta Gothic, Part One — Alfred Uhry , Confessions of a Dramaturg , Jaz Dorsey , Parade — AAPEX

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Confessions of a Dramaturg or Atlanta Gothic, Part One

When I was a little boy growing up in my grandmother's home at 99 Peachtree Battle Avenue down in Atlanta, Georgia, spending my afternoons listening to the lp vinyl recordings of the soundtracks of the great Hollywood versions of the great Broadway musicals, I had no idea that I would grow up to be...

a dramaturg.

And when I became a dramaturg, how could I imagine that my own dark and troubled family history would come back to me in the form of a play and an opportunity to "do the dramaturgy" on a production of that play.

Most of y'all know Alfred Uhry - certainly for DRIVING MISS DAISY and LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO.

Now you're about to learn about PARADE from my point of view. PARADE is Uhry's musical about the trial and lynching of Leo Frank.

My family sat on both sides of the trial table on this wretched miscarriage of justice. My Grandfather, Hugh Manson Dorsey, was Leo's prosecutor. Another nearly related gentleman, Luther Rosser, was Leo's defense attorney. I'm not quite sure how Luther is related - just that we used to call him "Uncle Luther" when I was growing up and the adults were having cocktails.

My grandfather went on to become the Governor of Georgia - 1917 - 1921- because of the fame that the trial brought him.

That was after Leo Frank was lynched.

Strange subject for a musical. I certainly felt that way when I saw it in New York at the end of the last century, sitting there watching my grandfather sing, dance and prosecute Leo Frank.

Leo was exonerated about 50 years later when another man confessed to the murder of "little Mary Phagan".

Well, as Kurt Vonnegut says in one of his novels - so it goes.

The Boiler Room Theatre in Franklin, Tennessee, has a production of PARADE coming up in the fall. Between now and then, Jamey Green and his crew have some other cool stuff going on. You can check 'em out by clicking the post's title.

Come to Nashville - no, make that Franklin - and Go to the Theatre.

Jaz Dorsey
The Nashville Dramaturgy Project

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