February 22, 2023 | 9:45 a.m.
‘Parade’ star Ben Platt (left) slammed neo-Nazi protesters who branded the show’s lead character a paedophile.
Ben Platt spoke on Wednesday after a group of “really disgusting” neo-Nazis protested the musical “Parade” outside the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater.
The Tony Award-winning ‘Parade’ tells the true story of Jewish laborer Leo Frank, who was wrongfully imprisoned in 1913 Georgia after being accused of the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl. He was taken from prison and lynched. Previews began Tuesday for the revival, which officially opens on March 16.
A video posted on Twitter by Forward editor Jake Wasserman shows anti-Semitic protesters, who call themselves the National Socialist Movement, shouting hateful rhetoric.
“You want the truth about who you’re going to see tonight,” one of the band members shouted. “You pay $300 to go f–-king to worship a pedophile, might as well know what you’re talking about.”
“Romanticize pedophiles, wow, Leo Frank,” shouted another.
Other outlets reported members chanting “(Leo Frank is) a Jewish pedophile” while others held a banner reading “Leo Frankly was a pedophile.”
Wasserman too retweeted a photo of the flyers which protesters distributed, criticizing the Anti-Defamation League which they say was “established in 1913 to protect a Jewish child murdering pedophile Leo Frank”.
Platt, 29, took to Instagram to call out the protesters.
“I came off stage and I was looking at social media, and naturally the news that there were protesters at our show spread a lot, and it sort of (was) the hallmark of the evening, in terms of the public’s perception of the evening,” Platt said.
“For those who don’t know, there were some neo nazi protesters from a really disgusting group outside the theater disturbing some of our patrons on entering and saying antisemitic things about Leo Frank, who is the show .by the way, and just spews anti-Semitic rhetoric that led to this whole thing in the first place,” Platt continued.
“If you don’t know, I encourage you to watch the story and especially come and see the show, and it was really very ugly and scary but a wonderful reminder of why we are telling this particular story and to what art and, in particular, theater can be special and powerful, and it just made me feel extra, extra grateful to be the one who can tell that particular story and carry on that legacy of Leo.
Platt also thanked theater staff for keeping audience members and cast “super safe and secure,” and added, “It’s really time for this particular play.”
The show’s producers also released a statement echoing Platt’s words.
“If there is any doubt about the urgency of telling this story at this point in history, the wickedness on display tonight should put an end to it,” the producers said in a statement to People.
This is the first cover of “Parade”. Michael Arden directs the show with lyrics and music by Jason Robert Brown and a book by Alfred Uhry. The show opens on Broadway March 16, after a sold-out run at New York City Center.
The original musical, directed by Harold Prince, premiered on Broadway in 1998 and received two Tony Awards and nine nominations.