Ben Platt Blasts 'Disgusting' Neo-Nazis Who Protested His Broadway Show
Ben Platt’s long-awaited return to Broadway got off to a troubling start this week as incoming theatergoers were accosted by members of a far-right, neo-Nazi hate group.
A video posted to Twitter by journalist Jake Wasserman of the Forward shows a masked man representing the National Socialist Movement distributing antisemitic flyers outside of the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater in New York, where Platt began preview performances in the musical “Parade” Tuesday.
The National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi hate group, is protesting outside of the Broadway revival of “Parade,” stating that Leo Frank, the subject of the musical, was a pedophile. pic.twitter.com/wbGMjRubZL
— Jake Wasserman (@jacobhwasserman) February 22, 2023
“You’re paying $300 to go fucking worship a pedophile,” the unidentified man says in the video. In the background, another person shouts: “Romanticizing pedophiles, wow, Leo Frank.”
According to Playbill, the man was joined by a small but vocal group of demonstrators carrying handwritten signs with hateful, antisemitic rhetoric.
Written by Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown, “Parade” is based on the life of Leo Frank (played by Platt), a Jewish man who in 1913 was wrongfully convicted of raping and murdering a 13-year-old factory worker, Mary Phagan. Two years into his life sentence, Frank was abducted from a Georgia prison and hanged by a lynch mob. He was posthumously pardoned in 1986.
Platt, who rocketed to fame in 2016 for his Tony-winning performance in “Dear Evan Hansen,” addressed the protest in a short video posted to his Instagram page.
Micaela Diamond and Ben Platt in "Parade."
“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,” he said in the clip. “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 grateful to be the one who gets to tell this particular story and to carry on this legacy of Leo.”
After assuring fans who came to see “Parade” that they would be “super safe and secure,” the actor went on to note, “Now is really the moment for this particular piece.”
On Wednesday, the show’s production team echoed Platt’s sentiments in a statement denouncing the “vileness on display”outside the theater the previous night.
A statement from the producers of Parade in response to the display of Neo Nazi members protesting outside of the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre prior to last nights first preview performance on Broadway. pic.twitter.com/ijIOLI1AXb
— Parade on Broadway (@paradebway) February 22, 2023
“Parade” premiered on Broadway in 1998, winning two Tony Awards. The current production opened to rave reviews at the New York City Center in November of last year before its Broadway transfer was confirmed in January.
According to Deadline, the Telecharge ticketing site briefly crashed due to high demand for tickets. The musical will officially open March 16.