Ben Platt spoke out Wednesday after a group of “really disgusting” Neo-Nazis protested the musical “Parade” outside the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.
The Tony-winning “Parade” tells the true story of Jewish factory worker Leo Frank, who was wrongfully imprisoned in 1913 Georgia after being accused of raping and murdering a 13-year-old girl. Previews began on Tuesday for the revival show, which officially opens on March 16.
A video posted on Twitter by The Forward’s engagement 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,” shouted one of the group members. “You’re paying $300 to go f–king worship a pedophile, you might as well know what you’re talking about.”
“Romanticizing pedophiles, wow, Leo Frank,” shouted another.
Other outlets reported that members chanted “[Leo Frank is] a Jewish pedophile” while others held a banner reading “Leo Frankly was a pedo.”
Wasserman also retweeted a photo of the flyers that protesters handed out, slamming the Anti-Defamation League that they allege was “established in 1913 to protect a Jewish child murdering pedophile Leo Frank.”
Platt, 29, took to Instagram to call out the protesters.
“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,” said Platt.
“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,” continued Platt.
“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.”
Platt also thanked theater staff for keeping audience members and the cast “super safe and secure” while adding “now is really the moment for this particular piece.”
The show’s producers also issued a statement that echoed Platt’s words.
“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,” the producers said in a statement to People.
This is the first revival of “Parade,” a musical written by Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry. The show opens on Broadway on March 16, 2023, following a sold-out run at New York’s City Center.
The original musical premiered on Broadway in 1998, directed by Harold Prince, and received two Tony Awards and nine nominations.