Matthew Lickona 8:30 a.m., Oct. 20
As he recalled his process for a recent blog about Cygnet Theatre's Parade, director Sean Murray added an anecdote that gives the musical another telling dimension.
Leo Frank was accused of raping and murdering a young woman in 1913. The charges were false and, as the controversy spread across the country, it became clear that the real charge was anti-Semitic: Frank was a Jew. After a mob lynched her husband, Lucille Frank chose to stay in Atlanta, even though her world took a giant step backward.
"It's this that frightens her at the end," says Murray, "that she chooses to remain in the South and assert her Southern-ness, but will always be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life.
"And that's exactly what happened. Lucille lived until the 1950s. She never remarried and hired mediums to speak with Leo from beyond. When she died, she was cremated. Her friends and family worried that even mentioning her death in the news would reignite the whole affair all over again - which it could have done. So they quietly stored her ashes away.
"For years the box remained in an attic. In the mid- to late-Sixties, a nephew found them. He put them in the trunk of his car with the intention of burying them in the family plot. But he didn't get around to it for a couple of years.
"Finally he buried them secretly between her parents' graves in Atlanta, with no stone marker and no ceremony.
"The anti-Frank people claim to this day that she refused to be buried with her husband in Brooklyn because she KNEW he was guilty of Mary Phagan's murder. They have a website with photos and are as vocal today as they were in 1913.
"That the established Jewish community in Atlanta and Lucille's family felt that holding a funeral for her would give detractors another opportunity to stir it up again is telling.
"Lucille Frank was definitely the third victim in this story."