Ben Platt is opening up about the antisemitic protests for Broadway’s “Parade.”
Platt stars as real-life factory superintendent Leo Frank, who was wrongfully convicted of the 1913 rape and murder of 13-year-old employee Mary Phagan. In 1915, two men broke into the Georgia state prison and lynched Frank. The events in part led to the founding of the Anti-Defamation League and the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan. Frank’s life story was adapted into the 1998 musical “Parade,” which now is returning to Broadway in a revival. “Parade” stars Platt and Micaela Diamond and is currently in preview performances before officially opening March 16 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.
However, the first performance was met with antisemitic protests accusing the production of “romanticizing pedophiles,” per a video shared by The Forward editor Jake Wasserman.
“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,” Platt said in an Instagram video addressing the protesters.
The “Pitch Perfect” actor continued, “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. 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 “Dear Evan Hansen” alum concluded, “Now is really the moment for this particular piece.”
“Parade” producers issued a statement addressing the protests, writing (via People), “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.”
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