3-D Theatricals is currently reviving their Ovation winning production Parade at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. The production will end there on Sunday June 10 and next week move on to Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Redondo Beach opening June 15 and playing through June 24. Ovation winner Jeff Skowron talks about reviving his lead role in Parade.
Jeff, what is it like doing this role again? I know as an actor you approach it fresh. What do you feel are the greatest challenges at this point in time?
I'm enjoying it very much. I've never revisited a role before in this way, with the same company and artistic staff. I was a little apprehensive as the start date approached, as I didn't want to just slip into recreating a portrayal that I'd left behind 5 years ago. That felt like a burden. But TJ (Dawson) is a wonderful director, and we eased into this in a way that made it all feel fresh and alive again. The script is very good, which also helps in stimulating new ideas and takes on moments.
Talk a little about the theme and message of Parade.
Well, at the center of the story is the murder trial of Leo Frank. For me there are two predominant themes. First is this man's stagnant, if not unhappy relationship with his wife. Through fear and adversity he is forced to depend upon his wife, essentially for the first time and we get to see his appreciation and love for her blossom. Second is the focus on tribalism and its dangerous appetite for scapegoating of the ethnic or religious "other." Nothing has changed.
Tell us about additions to the cast and how this affects the overall presentation.
Well we have some really terrific additions to the cast, first and foremost is Chelle Denton as my wife Lucille. This young woman is a grounded, powerful, mature actress and she has a beautiful, soaring voice. Watching her is worth the ticket price alone. Being onstage with her is such a pleasure. TJ has also assembled a much larger ensemble this time, so there is a much bigger sound and sense of mob mentality.
What else will you add about TJ’s direction?
TJ is a very prepared, knowledgable director. When he directs, he knows the piece inside and out, which I appreciate. At the same time he is open to discussion, new ideas and collaboration. There is no ego. I always gush about him so I may be repeating myself from another interview, but he is one of my favorite directors.
What else have you been up to and anything special coming up?
Well I just played the Emcee in Cabaret at La Mirada and I'm currently developing my second tv series with my writing partner, Matt Yeager. This one is called Max Riddle, about an awkward but well meaning man who loses his job to a robot in a dying rustbelt town. I hope to have great news about that, soon.
(photo credit: Caught in the Moment Photography)