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Parade with Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond opens on Broadway – here's what our critic thinks

Could the show ever make its way to the UK?

Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond
© Joan Marcus

After a short stint of performances, everyone was waiting for Parade to land on Broadway.

And it has – in style, according to critic Hayley Levitt, who reviewed the production this week.

With a Tony-winning book by Alfred Uhry and a Tony-winning score by Jason Robert Brown, Parade, first seen on Broadway in the winter of 1998-99, tells the true story of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory superintendent who was accused of raping and murdering an employee.

The story takes place in and around Atlanta in 1913, when die-hard confederate sentiments and resentment of Northern capital make it impossible to receive a fair trial.

The show had to reschedule its press night following an issue with projections, but was still met with unadulterated praise, with Levitt saying this new production "transcends documentary and proves its power as a piece of theatre."

She also had praise for star Ben Platt, saying he "has beautifully graduated from his period as Broadway's most controversial teenager, delivering a mature, textured, and fabulously sung performance as this cultural fish-out-of-water. He draws on some familiar tics and mannerisms, but they all add up to a man who baffles his neighbors with high-brow sensibilities and a stoic demeanor that might fit comfortably at a New York shul but is hostile to every sense of Southern decorum."

There was also praise for co-star Micaela Diamond, who "was introduced to Broadway as the youngest of the Chers in The Cher Show, proves the breadth of her talent as Leo's Southern-born and fully assimilated wife Lucille. Her accent may slip in and out, but her yearning for connection with her character's distant husband is palpable, and her performance of "You Don't Know This Man" is one for the ages."

She continues: "Brown's composite score epitomizes the range of cultures bumping up against one another in the early 20th-century South, and Michael Arden's staging (a beautiful collaboration with choreographers Lauren Yalango-Grant and Christopher Cree Grant) shows precisely how these frictions can burst into flames. When his cast is not peering from the sidelines, they are churning with motion that is alternatingly exhilarating and terrifying — often both at the same time (lighting designer Heather Gilbert artfully follows these tonal shifts)."

You can read the full review here