Broadway’s Revival of ‘Parade’ Combats Hatred On and Off the Stage

In a disgusting turn of events, antisemetic protests occurred during Parade’s first preview


Poster of Parade from Deadline

On February 21st, many theatergoers were eagerly waiting to enter the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater on Broadway to see the first preview of the highly anticipated revival of the musical Parade which first premiered in 1998. However, the excitement of the night slowly turned to disgust and sadness as a group of neo-Nazi’s swarmed outside the theater, chanting anti semitic remarks and spreading false, cruel information. Parade tells the true story of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank who was wrongly accused of murdering a 13 year old named Mary Phagan in 1913 in Macon, Georgia. After Frank was able to be commuted to a new prison, a mob abducted and lynched him. The trial eventually led to the creation of the Anti-Defamation League and Frank was offered a posthumous pardon in 1986. The Georgia Historical Center also placed a marker for Frank in 2008 which eventually turned into the first national anti-lynching memorial in 2018. Obviously, this is an incredibly important story to share with the public and sadly, the anti semitic protests further prove how society must continue to condemn any forms of hateful rhetoric and Parade is a musical that fights back against all of that while raising awareness to people’s own prejudices. The group of neo-Nazi’s were later revealed to be members of the National Socialist Movement which is the largest membership based neo-Nazi group in the U.S. and known for its racist views and violent beliefs. Several audience members filmed the incident which showed the anti semitic protesters holding posters that said Frank was a pedophile while also criticizing the ADL. “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,” said the play’s producers in a statement Wednesday. “We stand by the valiant Broadway cast that brings this vital story to life each night.” Ben Platt who plays Leo Frank also released a video statement where he praised the cast and crew for being so vigilant and hopeful during such a distressing time. “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 the legacy of Leo.”  Anti Semitism has been on the rise for several years and this is just another incident out of dozens that target the Jewish community while still forcing hatred and threats towards people in general.