Theatre News

Ben Platt and ”Parade” producers issue statements after antisemitic protests outside first Broadway preview

Micaela Diamond and Ben Platt in Parade
Micaela Diamond and Ben Platt in Parade
© Joan Marcus

The first Broadway preview of the new Parade revival, starring Ben Platt, saw the presence of a number of antisemitic protestors.

Parade, penned by Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry, tells the true story of a Jewish business owner Leo Frank, who is accused and falsely convicted of murdering a young girl in Georgia. This new revival was first seen late last year, where it was met with wholesale critical praise.

Appearing just before performances started at New York’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, members of far-right hate groups gathered outside and accosted ticket holders, shouting slurs, handing out flyers and carrying hand-written signs.

The flyers also promoted the Goyim Defense League, an organisation linked to antisemitic shootings in Los Angeles last week. According to eyewitnesses outside the theatre, the protestors labelled Frank a “pedophile”.

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 continues performances until August.