Parade is the true and tragic story of Leo Frank, a Jew from Brooklyn who was tried for rape and murder, convicted, exonerated, then lynched in Atlanta, Georgia at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a tale of a dark part of American history, of our racism, hatred, media sensationalism and mob mentality, retold by Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry in the American art form of musical theater.

I am in a production of Parade that will be presented by the Footlight Club, America’s oldest running community theater, in Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA. It isn’t a show that would immediately inspire you to make drinks (well, maybe to start drinking…). It is a very sobering piece of theater, powerful in its message, dealing with themes that don’t steer you to more frivlous pursuits.

Yet I have set myself up now within my theater community. People expect cocktails from me, even though I have only been creating show-related cocktails for about a year. So with Parade I got constant questions about what was coming. I joked about “Moonshine and Manischewitz” but really had no ideas. Cocktails seemed a silly tie in.

And so they were. With our rehearsals for the show, we found that irreverence itself helped in dealing with the weightiness of the subject matter. Joke in rehearsals and you can deal and commit to the seriousness of the performance. So the cocktails followed a similar suit. I made no attempt to be “inspired” by the show for cocktails and instead produced rather silly concoctions based on throwaway lines in the show that mention food.

This came from one of my own lines (for those who might know the show, I am playing Britt “Big News!” Craig). At one point I mention watermelon pickles. I almost immediately thought I could pull off that combination in a drink. That became my first in a series of four drinks extracted from lines in Parade that deal with food.

Enjoy the drinks and be irreverent. Sometimes the sobering facts of our world require it.

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