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5 Reasons Norbert Leo Butz Needs to Star Opposite Laura Benanti in Parade

Come on, Norbert…do us a solid.

Brent Carver and Carolee Carmello starred as Leo and Lucille Frank in the original Broadway production of Parade.
(© Sara Krulwich)

On February 16, 2015, Manhattan Concert Productions is presenting a one-night-only concert staging of Jason Robert Brown's beloved Tony-winning musical Parade. This week, the company announced lots of fan favorites to join the show's primary cast, including Tony winner Laura Benanti. She's been ingeniously chosen to take on the role of Lucille Frank, devoted Georgian wife to Leo Frank, a Jewish Yankee factory manager accused of raping and murdering one of his 13-year-old employees (it gets pretty heavy).

No word yet on who will be Leo to Benanti's Lucille, so we've taken it upon ourselves to give the casting director a little push in the right direction — the Leo Butz direction.

1. The man knows his way around a Jason Robert Brown score:
You know that original Last Five Years recording you listen to religiously? He's the entrancing voice of (Jewish Yankee) novelist Jamie who's on the prowl for a shiksa wife. Maybe when they're done with Parade, Benanti and Butz can take their alliterative partnership on the road for the Last Five Years sequel JRB is apparently workshopping.

2. His name is already "Leo":
This is obviously a fate thing.

(© David Gordon)

3. He's been rehearsing your favorite song:

Original Parade stars Brent Carver and Carolee Carmello belt out "This Is Not Over Yet." Norbert will blow your mind with his rendition.

4. That accent he learned for Big Fish shouldn't go to waste:
We know Leo Frank was born and raised in New York, but after several years in the deep south, a little of that Southern twang probably sunk in. Or maybe not. We'll let Norbert decide, but at least he's got that in his back pocket.

Kate Baldwin and Norbert Leo Butz in the Broadway premiere of Big Fish.
(© Paul Kolnik)

5. We miss him:
It's been nearly a year since Norbert was last on Broadway (in the aforementioned short-lived Big Fish), and he wasn't around nearly long enough for us to get our fill. The concert may be only one night, but that might be all our Butz-lovin' hearts can stand anyway.

Give us some Butz!