Broadway star Ben Platt condemns ‘evil’ neo-nazis after ‘Parade’ protest
The Daily Beast
February 22, 2023
The protest, said Ben Platt, was “very ugly and scary, but a wonderful reminder of why we’re telling this story, and how special and powerful art—and particularly theater—can be.”
Broadway star Ben Platt condemned “really disgusting” neo-Nazi protesters “spreading evil” who heckled theatergoers on Tuesday evening in line to see the first preview performance of the musical, Parade.
The show, a Broadway transfer from the Encores! concert series, is based on the true story of a Jewish factory superintendent, Leo Frank, who was falsely convicted of killing 13-year-old employee Mary Phagan in 1913, and who was kidnapped from prison and lynched two years later. Platt, who won Tony, Emmy, and Grammy awards for playing the title role in Dear Evan Hansen, plays Frank in Parade.
In one video, posted by Forward journalist Jacob Wasserman, a masked activist from the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi hate group, tried to leaflet theater-goers outside the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre so they could “find out the truth” about the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), as well as Parade. “You’re paying 300 bucks to go fucking worship a pedophile, you might as well know what you’re talking about,” the masked person said.
In an Instagram post after the show, Platt condemned the “really disgusting group…saying antisemitic things about Leo Frank and just spreading antisemitic rhetoric that led to this whole story in the first place.”
The incident, Platt said, 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.”
Platt thanked the theater for keeping the cast and crew “super-safe and secure,” and implored audiences to support the show. “Now is really the moment for this particular piece.”
Platt said he wanted to celebrate the work of his colleagues to mount the first preview performance, “not the really ugly actions of a few people who are spreading evil.”
Given the show’s focus on antisemitic hate, the show’s producers said in a statement: “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.”