Ben Platt and Parade Producers speak out against hate and bigotry

The first Broadway preview of the new Parade revival starring Ben Platt was marred by the presence of antisemitic protesters outside the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York. The revival of Parade, a musical that tells the story of the wrongful conviction of Jewish businessman Leo Frank for the murder of a young girl in Georgia, was met with critical acclaim when it premiered last year.

Members of far-right hate groups gathered outside the theatre before the performance, shouting slurs, distributing flyers and carrying hand-written signs. The flyers also advertised the Goyim Defense League, an organization linked to recent antisemitic shootings in Los Angeles.

In response to the incident, Platt posted a message on Instagram, urging people to learn about the story of Leo Frank and encouraging them to see the show. Although he described the protest as “ugly and scary,” he acknowledged its significance in reinforcing the necessity of telling the story and the potency of art, particularly in theatre.

The show’s producers also released a statement, condemning the hate speech and reinforcing the importance of telling Leo Frank’s story in light of recent events. The statement read:

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 is an important and powerful musical that reminds us of the tragic and unjust treatment of Jewish people in the past. It highlights the need for tolerance and understanding of all races and cultures in the present day.

It was first produced on Broadway in 1998 and won Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Original Score. The show has been praised for its portrayal of Frank’s story and its exploration of issues such as antisemitism and the justice system. The revival features new direction and choreography by Rob Ashford, who has previously worked on shows such as Thoroughly Modern Millie and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

The show’s revival continues its run at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre until August. Despite the disturbing incident outside the theatre, the production has received positive reviews, with critics praising the performances and the story’s relevance to current issues. It is hoped that the protest incident will not deter audiences from attending this powerful and thought-provoking musical.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *