Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More

The producion is directed by two-time Tony nominee Michael Arden, opens tomorrow on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

By: Mar. 16, 2023
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The new Broadway production of Parade starring Tony Award winner Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond, directed by two-time Tony nominee Michael Arden, opens tonight on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Read reviews for the production!

Parade features a book by two-time Tony Award winner, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Academy Award winner Alfred Uhry, music and lyrics by three-time Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown, and co-conceived by 21-time Tony Award-winning legend Harold Prince.

Platt and Diamond lead a 33-person cast that features Alex Joseph Grayson as 'Jim Conley,' Tony Award nominee Sean Allan Krill as 'Governor Slaton,' Tony Award nominee Howard McGillin as 'Old Soldier/Judge Roan,' and Paul Alexander Nolan as 'Hugh Dorsey.' They will be joined by Jay Armstrong Johnson as 'Britt Craig,' Kelli Barrett as 'Mrs. Phagan,' Courtnee Carter as 'Angela,' Eddie Cooper as 'Newt Lee,' Erin Rose Doyle as 'Mary Phagan,' Tony Award nominee Manoel Felciano as 'Tom Watson,' Danielle Lee Greaves as 'Minnie McKnight,' Douglas Lyons as 'Riley,' and Jake Pedersen as 'Frankie Epps.'

The cast is completed by Florrie Bagel as 'Nurse,' Stacie Bono as 'Sally Slaton,' Max Chernin as 'Mr. Turner,' Emily Rose DeMartino as 'Essie & Others,' Christopher Gurr as 'Luther Rosser/Mr. Peavy,' Beth Kirkpatrick as 'Nina Formby,' Ashlyn Maddox as 'Monteen & Others,' Sophia Manicone as 'Iola Stover,' William Michals as 'Detective Starnes,' Jackson Teeley as 'Officer Ivey,' and Charlie Webb as 'Young Soldier.' The swings for Parade will be Harry Bouvy, Tanner Callicutt, Bailee Endebrock, Caroline Fairweather, Prentiss E. Mouton, and Aurelia Williams. Ryan Vona will be the standby for Leo Frank.

Leo and Lucille Frank (Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond) are a newlywed Jewish couple struggling to make a life in the old red hills of Georgia. When Leo is accused of an unspeakable crime, it propels them into an unimaginable test of faith, humanity, justice, and devotion. Riveting and gloriously hopeful, Parade reminds us that to love, we must truly see one another.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Jesse Green, The New York Times: What struck me even more vividly in this well-judged and timely revival is the quick path hysteria has always burned through the American spirit if fanned by media, politicians and prejudice of any kind. When a chorus of white Georgians chants “hang ’im, hang ’im, make him pay,” the words can’t help but echo uncomfortably in the post-Jan. 6 air. And another song, a prayer for a return of the day when “the Southland was free,” sounds a lot like current talk of a second secession.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Adam Feldman, Time Out New York: Mournful though it be, the revival of Parade is cause for celebration. Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s musical tragedy, about a grave miscarriage of justice more than a century ago, lasted only a few months in its original 1998 incarnation. But director Michael Arden’s heart-piercing new production, introduced at City Center’s Encores! series last year and now playing a limited run at Broadway’s Jacobs Theatre, makes a masterful case for giving the show a new hearing—and what you hear at this Parade, as sung by a splendid cast led by Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond, will echo for a long time to come.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Charles Isherwood, The Wall Street Journal: Even a first-rate “Parade” cannot disguise the conceptual problems I have with the show. It is puzzling that Mr. Brown, a gifted melodist, seems to give just as many moments of musical beauty or buoyant vigor to Leo’s enemies as to Leo himself, as if music and character are unconnected. (The show opens with a Confederate soldier going off to war paying pretty homage to “The Old Red Hills of Home.”) More problematic is the focus on the glaringly corrupt mechanics of Leo’s trial. We watch numbly as witness after witness spreads obvious lies, including scurrilous tales of Leo’s sex life. His martyrdom at the hands of iniquitous tormentors resounds like a recurring, unsubtle dirge. “Parade” does, in a sense, resemble the event of its title. The route is mapped out. We know where it will lead, and how it will end.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Robert Hofler, The Wrap: A couple of the villains in the piece might be overdrawn here, but that’s debatable. Otherwise, Arden’s direction of his cast is exemplary, and an especially poignant touch is the projection of historic photos that function to introduce their actor doppelgängers. Above all, the fluid and often surreal staging of the Frank murder trial is an extended moment of brilliance in the theater that no musical aficionado should miss.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Adrian Horton, The Guardian: With the fates established from the jump, it’s remarkable that Parade feels as dynamic and moving as it does. That’s in large part thanks to Brown’s Tony-winning score and orchestrations – music director and conductor Tom Murray’s version is lush and chill-inducing from the jump – and a top-to-bottom slate of excellent vocal performances, particularly from leads Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Greg Evans, Deadline: With a cast as fine as it is large, led by Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond – two of the best singers currently on Broadway – Parade, set in 1913 Georgia, scores its topical points with all the artistry and theatrical know-how to meet and exceed its noble intensions. Parade is as commanding as any musical revival to hit Broadway in years.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Emlyn Travis, Entertainment Weekly: The same monument is projected across the brick wall behind the stage when audiences step into the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre each night to see Parade, Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown's Tony award-winning musical that dramatizes Frank's trial and how government officials and local media played a role in his death. Following a celebrated sold-out string of performances at the New York City Center in November, the show is returning to Broadway once again for the first time since its original 1998 run in a phenomenal production that feels more poignant and powerful than ever.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Johnny Oleksinski, The New York Post: Brown’s finest music, and Platt’s most heart-wrenching work, come during his trial, as three factory girls (who have been coached to lie) hauntingly harmonize their testimony like Abigail from “The Crucible.” Brown has yet to top it in any show. When Leo gives his statement, and Platt sings that his character is unemotional and awkward but innocent, it’s the tears-free opposite of when he sobbed at the end of “Dear Evan Hansen,” but the gut-punch is the same. The second act has more built-in structural issues, as Lucille works tirelessly to appeal her husband’s verdict and enlists the help of Governor Slaton (Sean Allan Krill) to get Leo home. A galvanizing number is followed by minutes of aimless procedural wading. But there are few sublime moments. As another factory worker, and suspect, Jim Conley, Alex Joseph Grayson wails the song “Feel the Rain Fall,” which is gorgeous but pops up out of nowhere. And Diamond, whose combination of fragility and power is thrilling for an actress so young, brings an electricity to her duets with Platt: “This Is Not Over Yet” and the romantic “All the Wasted Time,” which fades into the musical’s devastating conclusion.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast: This is clearly intended as the dark underline, and to be subtly damning-meets-ironic. However, the more resonant melody at the end of Parade is a harking back to a past, and Leo and Lucille Frank, as characters on stage rather than real life, are not strong enough counter-presences to its nostalgic swooning. Whatever final critique is being attempted by Leo’s plaintive stare is lost in the folds of a lush melody that, rather than denouncing a dark past, elevates and embraces it.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Frank Rizzo, Variety: Key to this retelling is the presentational style of the show, which is common for City Center’s Encores! shows and here becomes an asset as it sharpens the focus and always keeps the musical numbers front and center, enhanced by Heather Gilbert’s lighting, Susan Hilferty’s period costumes and Jon Weston’s sound design. The tri-level raised stage by Dane Laffrey also keeps it simple, effectively standing in for a wide variety of locales: factory offices, court room, ballroom, gravesites, prison cell and ultimately gallows. Co-choreographers Lauren Yalango-Grant and Christopher Cree Grant make the sweep of history move with grace and flair. Sven Ortel’s projections of vintage photographs of the actual characters, settings and headlines are a constant reminder of the real world and its actual history. This theatrically thrilling revival of “Parade” teaches lessons that still need to be learned from a wicked past that haunts us still.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Matt Windman, amNY: The Broadway revival of “Parade” originated a few months ago as a week-long production at City Center directed by Michael Arden (who has helmed solid revivals of “Spring Awakening” and “Once On This Island”) and starring Ben Platt as Leo Frank. It was a gripping and thrilling production that was absolutely worthy of a Broadway transfer and has gotten better since then.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Kobi Kassal, Theatrely: Arden’s direction effortlessly weaves together the moving tale from scene to scene with effective tableaus interspersed throughout. Dane Laffrey’s scenic design and Sven Ortel’s excellent projection design remain intact, the only shift being the orchestra down in the pit rather than on stage. With just over a thousand seats compared to City Center’s 2,750, the large production is now running in an intimate house that helps you lean in even more. Very few changes have been made, except the addition of Erin Rose Doyle’s Mary Phagan now on a swing suspended far above the stage, which I’m not sure was all that necessary. Jason Robert Brown's score is a masterpiece. From lush and haunting ballads to spirited melodies, there is a reason Broadway has hungered so long for the show's return. The powerful musical is a reminder that theatre is a beautiful art form that can speak so eloquently to the current times.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Bob Verini, New York Stage Review: The process by which the scales drop from Leo’s eyes is told by Brown in song, and beautifully executed here. Platt’s insistent vibrato, so ubiquitous in his signature Dear Evan Hansen power ballads, serves him well in transitioning from passionate self-righteousness to the recognition that this woman means everything to him. And Diamond evokes all the delicacy and strength needed for the bitter, despairing “Do It Alone, Leo” down to the Franks’ climactic discovery of missed opportunity in “All the Wasted Time.” Barbara Cook was our premier interpreter of character in song, and I can’t help but think she would be proud of Diamond’s continuing in that tradition.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Steven Suskin, New York Stage Review: Ben Platt remains the raison d’être of the production; if the Broadway transfer was predicated on the hunch that the former Evan Hansen would prove a ticket-selling draw, the sales thus far seem to bear this out. Platt — in adult shoes, as it were — proves himself an adept musical theater (and dramatic) actor. Relative newcomer Micaela Diamond was the welcome surprise at City Center; the 23-year-old handily carried the difficult and somewhat treacherous role of Lucile Frank, the passive wife who — when hope is lost in the second act — grabs the narrative and, thanks to composer Brown, the stage. If Diamond was an instant success last November, the intervening months have given her time to add assurance to talent and bring out heretofore hidden facets of the role of Lucile. She is very good indeed. Brown, along with his co-orchestrator, the late Don Sebesky, well understand the massive power of two people singing out at the top of their lungs over crashing cymbals. Platt and Diamond do precisely this, in “This Is Not Over Yet,” and the power crackles throughout the house.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Theatre Guide: Fortunately, the uniformly terrific cast makes up for small-scale quibbles. Standout supporting work comes from Sean Allan Krill as the honorable Governor Slaton; Alex Joseph Grayson as Jim Conley, whose testimony nails Leo; Paul Alexander Nolan as the rabid prosecutor; and Jake Pedersen as Mary’s boyfriend. Leo and Lucille’s evolving relationship forms the heart of the show, and both stars deliver in performances that are authentically life-size — no larger — and that is key to this story. Watching Diamond (The Cher Show) go from timid Jewish wife to take-charge partner is exhilarating. As a displaced New Yorker who’s not so likable, Dear Evan Hansen Tony winner Platt notches another Broadway triumph.

Review Roundup: PARADE Opens On Broadway Starring Ben Platt, Micaela Diamond & More
Average Rating: 86.0%

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