Guide to 'Parade' on Broadway, starring Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond
Following a sold-out run at New York City Center, the first major New York revival of this epic, dramatic musical comes to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre through August 6 only.
Real big news: Parade is passing through town once more. Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown's heartfelt historical musical is having its first Broadway revival in 2023 following a sold-out six-day Off-Broadway run in 2022. Most notably, that production's critically acclaimed stars — Tony Award winner Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond — reprise their roles as a couple whose lives are rocked by a criminal accusation.
Parade is now at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, but the show won't go on and on forever. Don't let it pass you by. Learn about this timely, devastating, and award-winning Broadway musical, its stars, and more.
What is Parade about?
Parade dramatizes the true story of Leo Frank, a Jewish manager of a pencil factory in Georgia. When his 13-year-old employee is found dead shortly after he saw her, Leo is an immediate suspect — and anti-Semitism among the townspeople only heightens their suspicion. His wife, Lucille, is his only major support system as he tries to prove his innocence.
The musical investigates media sensationalism, anti-Semitism, and racism in 1910s America.
Where is Parade playing?
Parade plays at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, located at 242 West 45th St. between Eighth Avenue and Broadway. The venue opened in 1927 as the Royale Theatre, and both its interior and exterior have since been designated NYC landmarks. The theatre was named for Bernard B. Jacobs, the longtime president of the Shubert Organization, in 2005.
How long is Parade?
Parade runs 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission. This is the typical length for a Broadway musical — most run between 2 and 3 hours with an intermission.
What days is Parade playing?
Parade plays Tuesday through Sunday, with two performances each on Wednesdays and Saturdays. All other weekdays have only an evening performance, and Sunday only has a matinee. For a complete, up-to-date performance schedule, visit the Parade page.
Who wrote Parade?
Parade features a book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Uhry is best known for writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Driving Miss Daisy, which is part of his Atlanta Trilogy of shows about Jewish citizens in the American South. The other two are The Last Night of Ballyhoo and Parade.
Composer/lyricist Brown made his Broadway debut with Parade in 1998. His other notable musicals include 13, The Bridges of Madison County, Mr. Saturday Night, and Songs for a New World. The Last Five Years is arguably his most famous work, though it has never appeared on Broadway.
When did Parade premiere?
The history of Parade technically stretches back to the 1910s, when the events depicted in the musical took place. Eighty years later, the true story got the musical treatment, premiering on Broadway in 1998. Here is a timeline of Parade, including notable productions since its world premiere.
- 1913-1915: The real events depicted in the musical take place, including Leo's trial and imprisonment.
- 1998: Parade premieres directly on Broadway, directed by Harold Prince. The show received mostly positive reviews but ran for only two months between 1998 and 1999. In 1999, Parade won Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical.
- 2000: Prince directs Parade's first national tour, which runs from June to October.
- 2007: Parade makes its U.K. debut at the Donmar Warehouse in London.
- 2022: Parade gets its first major New York revival as part of New York City Center's Encores! series for rarely revived musicals.
- 2023: The Encores! production transfers to Broadway.
Parade has an enormous cast of characters, most of whom are based on real historical figures involved in Leo Frank's life and trial. Here are the major characters in Parade.
- Leo Frank: A Jewish pencil factory manager in Marietta, Georgia, who is accused, potentially falsely, of murdering his young employee.
- Lucille Frank: A Jewish Southern belle and Leo's wife. Though their marriage is distant at first, it strengthens as Lucille becomes Leo's foremost defender.
- Mary Phagan: A 13-year-old girl who works for Leo. She is found murdered at the start of the show.
- Frankie Epps: A teenager who had a flirtation with Mary before her death. He vows revenge on whoever killed her.
- Newt Lee: An African American night watchman at the factory. He is the first suspect in Mary's murder.
- Luther Rosser: The lawyer representing Leo in court.
- Hugh Dorsey: The prosecutor in Leo's case. He is determined to find Leo guilty to advance his political career, and he manipulates the trial to do so.
- Jim Conley: The janitor at Leo's factory and an ex-convict. He makes a deal with Dorsey to testify falsely against Leo in exchange for immunity.
- Britt Craig: A sensational reporter covering Leo's trial. He condemns Leo in his coverage, hoping it will advance his career.
- Tom Watson: A reporter for an extreme right-wing newspaper. His coverage of the trial also disfavors Leo, as he is motivated by anti-Semitism.
- Governor John Slaton: The governor of Georgia. His opinion on the trial changes as new information comes to light, and his influence affects the outcome.
Parade has more than 30 musical numbers. This is a large number for a Broadway show, but the count includes scenes, like courtroom testimonies, set to music, alongside famous standalone songs like "This Is Not Over Yet." Here are all the songs in the Parade musical.
- "Prologue: The Old Red Hills of Home"
- "Anthem: The Dream of Atlanta"
- "How Can I Call This Home?"
- "The Picture Show"
- "Leo At Work" / "What Am I Waiting For?"
- "Interrogation: "I Am Trying to Remember..."
- "Big News!"
- "Funeral: There is a Fountain" / "It Don't Make Sense"
- "Watson's Lullaby"
- "Somethin' Ain't Right"
- "Real Big News"
- "You Don't Know This Man"
- "People of Atlanta"
- "Twenty Miles From Marietta"
- "Frankie's Testimony"
- "Factory Girls / Come Up to My Office"
- "Newt Lee's Testimony"
- "My Child Will Forgive Me"
- "That's What He Said"
- "Leo's Statement: It's Hard to Speak My Heart"
- "Closing Statements and Verdict"
- "It Goes On and On"
- "Rumblin' and a Rollin'"
- "Do It Alone"
- "Pretty Music"
- "Letter to the Governor"
- "This Is Not Over Yet"
- "Factory Girls (Reprise)"
- "Newt Lee's Reprise"
- "Blues: Feel the Rain Fall"
- "Where Will You Stand When the Flood Comes?"
- "All the Wasted Time"
- "Finale: "The Old Red Hills of Home"
What awards has Parade won?
The 2023 revival has yet to win awards, but Parade's original Broadway production received critical acclaim and multiple honors. Here are the major awards Parade has won.
- Tony Awards: The 1998 Broadway premiere of Parade earned nine nominations the following year, including Best New Musical. The musical's two wins went to Uhry, for Best Book of a Musical, and Brown, for Best Original Score.
- Drama Desk Awards: Parade tripled its Tonys success at the 1999 Drama Desks. Out of 13 nominations, the show won six awards: Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Book of a Musical, Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Musical (for Carver and Carmello, respectively), Outstanding Orchestrations, and Outstanding Music.
- Olivier Awards: Parade did not win any Olivier Awards for its London premiere, but the production earned seven nominations in 2008, including Best New Musical, Best Actor and Actress in a Musical, Best Director, and Best Theatre Choreographer.
Major productions of Parade
Parade has had a small but mighty history of major productions. Here are all the major productions of Parade and facts about them.
- 1998 Broadway premiere: Parade made its world premiere right on Broadway, unlike many other musicals, which first run off Broadway or in a different city. The show only ran for two months, but it earned widespread critical acclaim and, later, two Tony Awards out of nine nominations. Harold Prince directed.
- 2000 national tour: Just over a year after the original production closed, Parade went on its first tour from June to October 2000. As a homage to the setting of the musical, the tour kicked off in Georgia. Brown conducted the show in some cities.
- 2007 U.K. premiere: Parade had a two-month engagement at London's Donmar Warehouse. That production received nine Olivier Awards. Director Rob Ashford cut some of Brown's songs for this version, but Brown also wrote some new material specific to this production.
- 2015 concert: Jeremy Jordan and Laura Benanti led a one-night concert version of Parade on February 16, 2015. Multiple other Broadway stars, including Ramin Karimloo, Joshua Henry, and Andy Mientus, were also featured.
- 2022 Off-Broadway premiere: Parade received its first major New York revival at New York City Center in November 2022. The six-night run was part of the venue's Encores! program, which presents seldom revived musicals. Brown conducted the production himself.
- 2023 Broadway revival: The Encores! production transferred to Broadway in February 2023 with much of its cast intact, including Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond as the Franks. Director Michael Arden also returned.
Celebrities who have starred in Parade
Broadway favorites have appeared in most of Parade's productions. Here are the Broadway celebrities who have starred in Parade.
- Ben Platt: Platt is best known for his Tony-winning Broadway role as the title character of Dear Evan Hansen, and for his screen roles on Pitch Perfect and The Politician. He played Leo Frank in Parade's 2022 Encores! production and the Broadway transfer.
- Gaten Matarazzo: The Stranger Things star played Frankie Epps in the Encores! production of Parade. He did not transfer with the production to Broadway, however, as he is starring in Sweeney Todd instead.
- Brent Carver: The late Carver was the original Leo Frank on Broadway. He received a Tony nomination and a Drama Desk Award win for his performance.
- Carolee Carmello: Carmello starred opposite Carver as Lucille in the original Broadway production of Parade. Like her co-star, she won a Drama Desk Award and was nominated for a Tony.
- Jeremy Jordan: Jordan, known for Broadway roles in Newsies and Bonnie and Clyde and screen roles in The Last Five Years and Smash, sang the role of Leo in a 2015 Parade concert in New York.
- Laura Benanti: Benanti sang the role of Lucille opposite Jordan as Leo. The veteran Broadway actress's best-known credits include She Loves Me, My Fair Lady, Gypsy, and Into the Woods.
Fun facts about Parade
Parade isn't particularly "fun," but there are many fascinating facts about the production and how its creators connect with the true history behind the show. Learn more about Parade below.
- Parade is so named because Mary Phagan was murdered on April 26, or Confederate Memorial Day, when a major parade used to take place in Georgia each year.
- Director Michael Arden incorporates historical photography from Leo's actual trial into the design of the 2023 production.
- During the Encores! production, Ben Platt sat on stage for the entire intermission, staying in character as Leo in his jail cell.
- Bookwriter Alfred Uhry's grandmother personally knew Lucille Frank, and his great-uncle owned the pencil factory Leo Frank managed.
- Harold Prince originally asked Stephen Sondheim to write the songs. Brown joined, on recommendation from Prince's daughter, after Sondheim declined.
- The real Leo Frank was raised in Brooklyn, as in the musical, but he was actually born in Cuero, Texas.
How to get Parade tickets
This Parade doesn't pass by often. There's only a limited time to see this seldom revived, timely masterpiece with an award-winning cast and writing team. Don't find yourself regretting all the wasted time you spent not getting tickets — secure your seats now.
Photo credit: Micaela Diamond and Ben Platt in Parade at New York City Center. (Photo by Joan Marcus)
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