The old red hills of home?

On Jason Robert Brown’s PARADE with Broadway’s (the University of Michigan School of Music Theatre and Dance’s) Frannie Walton.

I recently sat down (over text) with my colleague Frannie Walton, who was notoriously born and raised in the state of Georgia; We discussed the opening number of Jason Robert Brown’s hit musical PARADE (which dramatizes via scene and song the events that led to the lynching of Leo Frank) titled “the old red hills of home.” I took a guerilla approach to the interview, meaning she had no idea she was on the record, in order to get genuine responses from her. Our conversation went as follows.

Nini: Does Georgia have red hills?

Frannie: Yes Linda 

Nini: What are the red hills like
      Very red?

Frannie: Not really.
	 More rust. 

Nini: Are they called the Red 
      Hills… Or?

Frannie: No.

Nini: Are they all over?

Frannie: No. 
         Its just that especially 
         in north Georgia we have a 
         lot of red clay and  
         red dirt so the mountains 
         and stuff are red.

Nini: Okay Well
      Why did Jason Robert Brown 
      write that opening number 

Frannie: Because he’s a freak.

Nini: “We gave our lives for the 
       old hills of Georgia, the 
       old red hills of home”  ????

Frannie: Like yeah, there’s red 
         Georgia clay so some hills 
         are red.

Nini: But he was exaggerating a  
      little bit like
      Georgia hills arent 
      characteristically red
      for the most part…

Frannie: No theyre not. 

Nini: Does it bother you that he 
      wrote that?

Frannie: Not really. 
         I feel like he could 
         appropriate my culture 

Nini: Okay.
      Do you feel like if you hated 
      JRB for another reason you 
      would add this on?

Frannie: Yes.

Nini: Like “Oh and by the way, the 
      hills arent red 

Frannie: Is this an interview for 
         Class Clowns?