YOU DON’T KNOW THIS MAN
Composer: Music and Lyrics Jason Robert Brown
Production/Performer History: Broadway 1998 (Carolee Carmello), London 2007 (Lara Pulver)
Context: In 1913 Georgia, Lucille Frank’s husband is accused of raping and murdering 13 year old Mary Phagan. In the ensuing media circus, Lucille is forced to defend a man who has always been cold to her, despite being a good husband.
Choice: Jason Robert Brown is one of the best modern musical theatre composers. Despite the popularity of some of his other work, I think Parade is his magnum opus (thus far). It is a great dramatic musical, and not an easy subject matter to musicalize (Stephen Sondheim turned it down). The depth of JRB’s lyrics and his musicality mean you can absolutely act the shit out of his material.