Ben Platt and the producers of Parade are speaking out after the first performance of the Broadway revival about the true story of a Jewish man named Leo Frank who was lynched in 1915 was met with antisemitic protesters outside the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York City.
Starring Platt and Micaela Diamond as Leo and Lucille Frank, Parade dramatizes the 1913 rape and murder trial of 13-year-old Mary Phagan. After being falsely convicted in the case, Frank was sentenced to life in prison. But upon his transfer to prison, he was kidnapped and then lynched by an angry white mob.
In an official description of the show, the couple goes through “an unimaginable test of faith, humanity, justice, and devotion. Riveting and gloriously hopeful, Parade reminds us that to love, we must truly see one another.”
During Tuesday’s night preview performance, ahead of Parade‘s official opening on March 16, members of the National Socialist Movement were heard calling Frank a pedophile.
Platt took to Instagram following the show and addressed what happened outside the theater. “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 said.
“For those who don’t know, there were a few neo-Nazi protesters from a really disgusting group outside of the theater, 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,” Platt continued.
“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 actor ended his video by thanking the staff at the theater for keeping everyone inside “super safe and secure.”
Following the performance, the producers of Parade also issued an official statement to ET. “If there is any remaining doubt out there about the urgency of telling this story in this moment in history, the vileness on display last night should put it to rest. We stand by the valiant Broadway cast that brings this vital story to life each night,” the statement reads.
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