BROADWAY, New York City (WABC) -- The first preview performance of the Broadway revival of "Parade" should have been a celebration, instead on Tuesday night it was thrust into ugliness not by anything on stage, but by a vile scene outside the theater.
Antisemitic protesters marched, brandishing vulgar signs, and pestering theatergoers.
"You want the truth about who you're going to see tonight," said one of the protestors. "You're paying $300 to go (expletive) worship a pedophile, you might as well know what you're talking about."
The musical dramatizes the story of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory superintendent in Atlanta wrongly convicted of the 1913 rape and murder of his 13-year-old employee.
Frank was kidnapped and lynched by people who hate Jews.
The main character is played by Ben Platt- who is also Jewish.
Platt took to Instagram to address the protesters.
"I just got home from our first preview performance of 'Parade,'" Platt said in a video. "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. 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. Now is really the moment for this particular piece."
Producers of the Broadway revival also issued 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 tonight should put it to rest. We stand by the valiant Broadway cast that brings this vital story to life each night."
Platt said he wanted to celebrate what a beautiful experience the play is and all the "gorgeous work all my wonderful colleagues did, not the really ugly actions of a few people who are spreading evil."
Antisemitic attacks have been on the rise in the last few years, hitting an all-time high in 2019, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
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