BROADWAY, New York City (WABC) -- Hours before the opening curtain, the cast of Parade isn't sure what to expect Wednesday night after NYPD officers stood watch over the crowds outside the theatre last week after several self-proclaimed neo-Nazis protested outside.
"We are going to use this to be a flame under our butts that's going to motivate us and remind us of the urgency and that we aren't going to succumb to the fear of that or the sadness of that," Parade co-star Ben Platt said. "And we're going to focus on telling the story and try to use it as a reminder of why we're telling the story."
Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond play husband and wife Lucille and Leo Frank, a Jewish couple in turn-of-the-century Georgia.
Leo Frank was a businessman, falsely accused of raping and murdering a 13-year-old girl. Frank was convicted in 1913, in a trial steeped in anti-Semitism, and was later lynched by an angry mob.
The musical is a revival based on a book, written more than two decades ago, by Alfred Uhry-who won the Tony Award when the show first opened in 1998.
"We don't lecture," Uhry said. "If we make people think, then we've done our job."
Jason Robert Brown wrote the lyrics and composed the score which emphasized the importance of the play continuing after the demonstrations.
"You know, it made some people in the company very angry," Brown said. "It didn't make me angry. I was sort of glad they showed up. I don't want them there every night. But, you know? Let's not let's not kid around. To walk into Parade past a group of demonstrating neo-Nazis is to say, 'Oh, right, I see what they're doing. I understand what's going on.'"
Parade is in previews until opening night on March 16th and will run in a limited engagement through August 6th. A musical that was never more relevant than it is right now.
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