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"Parade" cast, creators are telling their story "with more love" in wake of neo-Nazi demonstration

"Parade" cast, creators telling story "with more love" after neo-Nazi protest
"Parade" cast, creators telling story "with more love" after neo-Nazi protest 03:28

NEW YORK -- The cast and creators of the Broadway musical "Parade" are speaking out for the first time since neo-Nazi protesters gathered outside their theater.

The show tells the true story of a Jewish man who was wrongly convicted of murder and lynched by a mob.

The revival arrives on Broadway fresh from a sold-out run at New York City Center.

Tony, Grammy and Daytime Emmy Award winner Ben Platt plays Leo Frank, newly married to Lucille, played by Micaela Diamond. Their characters are trying to make a new life in Georgia when Frank is accused of an unspeakable crime.

It is based on a true story from the early 1900s in a place with rampant antisemitism.

"The love story that we get to experience every night is the way that Micaela and I as people really cope with the more difficult elements of the piece," Platt said.

"Somehow, we find the joy," Diamond said.

In the show, their faith gets tested.

Also tested were people's nerves in real life when a small group of self-proclaimed neo-Nazis confronted ticket holders in line to see the show's first preview last week. The crowd was antagonized with hateful comments.

READ MORE: Patrons of Broadway musical "Parade" targeted by Neo-Nazis

"That the neo-Nazis decided to demonstrate outside of our show ... it is easy to be lulled into believing that 'Parade' is a piece of history," said Jason Robert Brown, who wrote the music and lyrics. "It happens all the time ... That sort of racism and antisemitism is embedded into the fabric of the country."

"I think they did us a service, whether they meant to or not, by being there, and then we garnered all this attention," said Alfred Uhry, who wrote the book for "Parade."

"I think our only response can be to tell the story with more love," Diamond said. 

"Parade" is all about the message and the music, with a full orchestra and some of the best voices in show business.

"The beauty of the music is what I think we would both say drew us to the material in the first place," Platt said.

"It's the best sung production of it that I've ever been a part of," Brown said.

He says because hate came to their theater's front door, the "Parade" team is determined to keep this show going with logic, love and light.

Opening night for "Parade" is March 16 at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre.

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