Jason Robert Brown, Parade, “This Is Not Over Yet”
Composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown was not yet 30 when Parade, a collaboration with the noted playwright Alfred Uhry, opened on Broadway in 1998. The following year it earned Brown a Tony Award for Best Score of a Musical, with Uhry winning for Best Book. The show’s dramatic content has its source in one of the darkest chapters of Georgia history in the twentieth century. The protagonist of Parade, Leo Frank, was put on trial in 1913 for the murder of a thirteen-year-old girl who worked in the factory managed by Frank. There were horrifying political machinations surrounding the case, and the fact that Frank was Jewish incited virulent anti-Semitism in the community of Marietta, Georgia. In a long, painfully drawn-out process, Frank’s sentence was finally commuted from execution to life imprisonment, but in August 1915 a mob abducted him from prison and lynched him. That murder made national headlines, and prompted many Jews to leave Georgia. A posthumous pardon for Frank was not granted until 1986.
One of Parade’s most exciting songs, “This Is Not Over Yet,” functions as a declaration of hope for Frank. He sings it to his wife Lucille at the moment when he learns that the governor of Georgia will be reopening his case to possibly commute the death sentence. Overwhelmed and utterly jubilant, Frank sings that his family’s despairing anticipation of his certain death is premature, since there may be good news ahead.