Theater News

Ben Platt and Parade Producers Condemn Antisemitic Protests During First Broadway Preview

A group called the National Socialist Movement targeted the Jewish-themed musical at the Jacobs Theatre.

Ben Platt (center) and the cast of Parade at New York City Center in 2022
Ben Platt (center) and the cast of Parade at New York City Center in 2022
(© Joan Marcus)

The first Broadway preview of the new Parade revival, starring Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond, was targeted by antisemitic protestors outside the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

Members of the hate group the National Socialist Movement gathered on 45th Street carrying hand-written signs and handing out flyers proclaiming that the show's protagonist, Leo Frank, was a "pedophile," according to eyewitnesses.

Parade, written by Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry, and coconceived by Harold Prince, tells the true story of Jewish factory superintendent Leo Frank, who is accused and convicted of raping and murdering a young girl in Georgia in 1913. The musical debuted at Lincoln Center Theater in 1998 and this new revival, directed by Michael Arden, was first seen in late 2022 at New York City Center.

On Instagram, Platt reflected on the day's events: "…I got offstage and was looking at social media, and naturally the news of the fact that there were some protesters at our show has spread a lot, and that has kind of [been] the stamp on the evening, in terms of the public perception of the evening."

He added, "For those who don't know, there were a few neo-Nazi protesters from a really disgusting group outside of the theatre, bothering some of our patrons on their way in and saying antisemitic things about Leo Frank, who the show is about, and just spreading antisemitic rhetoric that led to this whole story in the first place.

"If you don't know about it, I encourage you to look up the story and most importantly encourage you to come see the show, and it was definitely very ugly and scary but a wonderful reminder of why we're telling this particular story and how special and powerful art and, particularly, theater can be. And just made me feel extra, extra grateful to be the one who gets to tell this particular story and to carry on this legacy of Leo."

The show's producers added in a statement: "If there is any remaining doubt out there about the urgency of telling this story in this moment in history, the vileness on display tonight should put it to rest."

Parade opens on March 16 continues performances until August.

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Final performance: August 6, 2023