Certain stories, regardless of time and setting, are imbued with modern themes and commentary, providing a mirror for our society to examine itself and reflect upon its current flaws. In the case of the upcoming Broadway revival of "Parade," starring Tony-Winner Ben Platt, this is especially true.
With its themes of antisemitism and racism, "Parade" is, "unfortunately and fortunately," as Director Michael Arden put it, ideally suited to the times.
"I was interested in how we could look at true crime and the reflection of the underbelly of America through musical form."—Parade Director Michael Arden in a recent panel discussion
"Parade" is based on the true story of Leo Frank, a Jewish-American businessman whose infamous 1913 murder trial unleashed waves of anti-Semitism in the U.S. while shedding light on issues of religious and racial discrimination that were, particularly at the time, rampant in the post-Civil War South. The musical opened on Broadway in 1998 to rave reviews and won two Tony Awards before closing after an eight-week run.
Heartbreaking yet hopeful, timeless yet disturbingly current, and with a rich score that has inspired singers and actors for over 20 years, "Parade" has resonated in the hearts of many. In 2023, however, the hotly anticipated revival is perhaps even more relevant than when the original premiered.
"The pendulum has really swung in many different industries and in our world and society. Theatre is no different in terms of the permutations of conversations we're now having, and the room that needs to be held for different sensitivities and experiences ... The rehearsal room we get to be a part of [for "Parade"] is very much living proof that it is possible to hold space for those conversations." — Ben Platt
In preparing for their roles, Platt and his co-star, Micaela Diamond, found themselves examining not only their own identities as Jewish Americans, but American History at large.
"It's interesting to do a piece that kind of has nothing to do with the Holocaust ... this is such a specific, American kind of hatred, and that is complicated; American history has a complicated past ... in order to make this feel like a colored-in piece of musical theatre, we've really had to look at ourselves and each other." — Micaela Diamond
The revival of "Parade" is set to begin previews at Broadways' Bernard Jacobs Theatre February 22. Its official opening night is set for March 16.
"I am so excited to help bring this meaningful story to life. Along with its themes, Parade is one of the finest pieces of American Musical Theatre. Ben, Micaela, and the cast at large truly do it justice." — Marsi Gardiner, "Parade" Co-Producer and Brown Harris Stevens Agent
To learn more about the production and hear meaningful insights from Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond, Director Michael Arden, and original writer Michael Uhry, watch the production's recent panel discussion—held at the Temple Emanu-El Streicker Cultural Center—above.