Neo-Nazis protest outside Parade’s first Broadway premiere

Broadway News

Protest by neo-Nazis outside ParadeBroadway premiere on Broadway

Members of a far-right neo-Nazi movement harassed spectators on Tuesday night. ParadeReact the producers of the star Ben Platt.

Micaela Diamond and Ben Platt at the NYC Downtown Runway Show Presentation Gala

Micaela Diamond and Ben Platt at the New York City Center Presentation Gala Parade
Joan Marcus

This story has been updated to include a statement from ParadeIt is starring Ben Platt.

On February 21, as patrons lined up for the first preview performance of the Broadway revival of Parade– a musical about the true story of the false conviction and murder of a Jewish man named Leo Frank in 1915 – members of a far-right neo-Nazi movement protest outside the Jacobs Theatre. Individuals carried hand-written signs with hateful rhetoric, yelling at spectators and attempting to hand out anti-Semitic flyers to those queuing to see the show.

It was an ironic display of anti-Semitism given that the Parade the musical is an indictment against hatred. Parade, a musical written by Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry, depicts the tragic life and death of Frank, who was a Jewish factory manager living in Georgia at the turn of the 20th century. He was falsely convicted of the murder of Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old factory worker. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. But Frank was then lynched by an angry white mob. After Frank’s death, it was revealed that Phagan had been murdered by fellow factory worker Jim Conley. Frank has since been exonerated.

The far-right white supremacist group, known as the National Socialist Movement, protested the show by denouncing Frank’s innocence. Their flyers also described their opposition to the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit civil rights group that helps victims of anti-Semitic allegations. The League was founded over a century ago in response to Frank’s murder.

The leaflets distributed by the neo-Nazis also mention a streaming platform of another anti-Semitic group, the Goyim Defense League. The group recently made headlines as being linked to the perpetrator of the anti-Semitic shooting in Los Angeles last week, who has since been charged with hate crimes.

When called upon to make a statement, the Parade the producers told Playbill, “If there remains any doubt about the urgency of telling this story at this time in history, the nastiness on display tonight should silence it.”

A video shared by The Forward editor Jake Wasserman on Twitter, originally filmed by Madeleine Blossom, shows the scene outside the Jacobs Theater earlier in the evening. video, and others as it showed neo-Nazis holding large signs calling Frank a pedophile and shouting anti-Semitic and racist slurs. Police were called to stop protesters from harassing spectators on their way to the show.

Members of Parade the cast watched the eerie display from their dressing room windows. One of the show’s swingers, Prentiss E. Mouton, posted on her Instagram story, “Are you really doing an artist’s real work if you’re not protested by neo-Nazis? If I wasn’t proud enough to be part of this production, it solidified today.”

Following the evening’s performance, the show’s star Ben Platt, who plays Frank, took to his Instagram to record his reactions. Speaking from home, with his dog next to him, Platt said: “It was really, really ugly and scary, but a wonderful reminder of why we’re telling this particular story and how much art and in especially theater can be special and powerful. And it made me so grateful to be the one who got to tell this particular story and continue Leo’s legacy.” He also encouraged theatergoers to come to the show, saying those who work at the Jacobs Theater ensures cast, crew and audience members are safe.

Platt continues, “I just think it’s really time for this particular piece. I wanted the button of the evening, at least for me personally, to be to celebrate what a great experience this is, and what a wonderful job all my wonderful colleagues did it tonight Not the really ugly actions of a few people spreading evil.

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