With a book by Alfred Uhry, and lyrics and music by Jason Robert Brown, the 1998 musical “Parade” tells the tragic story of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank, who was tried, convicted and sentenced to death for the rumored rape and the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan in Atlanta in 1913. Two years later, the 31-year-old’s sentence was later commuted to life in prison, but an armed mob lynched him instead. (Frank was officially pardoned in 1986.)

Form followed content on Tuesday in New York City.

Leo Frank, circa 1910-15. Credit: Bain News Service via Wikimedia Commons.

The same group that the trial shaped, the Anti-Defamation League, released a statement on Wednesday condemning “a small group of neo-Nazis,” who protested outside a premiere performance of the play on Broadway on Tuesday.

The group was also reported to have handed out antisemitic literature.

“The vile antisemitism on full display outside the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre last night during a premiere performance of ‘Parade’ underscores the importance of telling Leo Frank’s story,” stated Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the ADL.

He added that “the irony should not be lost on anyone that these antisemitic extremists decided to protest a play that details the true story of the lynching of an innocent Jewish man by an antisemitic mob, and used it as an opportunity to spread conspiracy theories and hate.”

The show had an earlier run at an off-Broaday stage in November and garnered some attention in the press for its handling of antisemitism.


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