watched The Last Night of Ballyhoo, written by Alfred Uhry and directed
by Ilene Chalmers, at the Bowie Community Theatre, I had a thought somewhere during
Act I, Scene 4: “This play really is about something.” This is
not to say that I disliked the production before that; even before coming to
that revelation I would have acknowledged the stellar set and the faultless
performances from the cast.
Set in Atlanta in 1913, a Brooklyn-raised Jewish man by the name of Leo Frank is put on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan. Already guilty in the eyes of everyone around him, a sensationalist publisher and a janitor’s false testimony seal Leo’s fate. His only defenders are a governor with a conscience, and, eventually, his assimilated Southern wife who finds the strength and love to become his greatest champion. Based on true historical events and adapted for the stage by an acclaimed playwright (Alfred Uhry – Driving Miss Daisy) and composer/lyricist (Jason Robert Brown – Songs For A New World,