Parade, the 1998 Broadway musical featuring a Tony Award-winning score by the-then 28-year-old Jason Robert Brown, will be revived this spring by Greg Nobile’s Seaview Productions and Ambassador Theatre Group, according to a pitch deck distributed to investors.
Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) will star in the dark historical drama, following an acclaimed weeklong tryout at New York City Center in November. Platt will reprise the role of Leo Frank, a Jewish Brooklynite transplanted to Marietta, Georgia, where he was falsely accused of murder and lynched by a mob in 1915. Micaela Diamond (The Cher Show), who earned stellar reviews playing Leo’s loyal wife, Lucille Frank, also returns to the cast. Platt, who like Diamond is Jewish, has spoken eloquently about the story’s timeliness amid rising antisemitism.
The Broadway revival is scheduled to open in mid-March 2023, a person briefed on the production told Broadway Journal, and run through mid-August. [On Jan. 10, producers announced that previews would begin on Feb. 21 ahead of a March 18 opening night at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre.]
At $6.5 million, the show’s capitalization is less than half that of producer Jeffrey Seller’s upcoming revival of Sweeney Todd, starring Josh Groban, Annaleigh Ashford and Ruthie Ann Miles. But with Broadway ticket sales well below their 2018-19 peak and expenses climbing, the Michael Arden-directed Parade revival is still risky, particularly given its somber story.
It can recoup its $5.7 million production costs by grossing $984,000 for 25 weeks and qualifying for a $3 million theater production state tax credit, according to the investor presentation. To recoup the full capitalization — which includes reserves, advances to creatives and bonds paid to unions — it must run 32 weeks at the same level and earn the tax credit. At a $1.25 million gross, it could recoup the full capitalization in about 15 weeks (with the tax credit).
Fixed weekly operating expenses, before royalties, for the limited run are projected to be $659,000.
Jewish-themed shows have been resilient on Broadway this season. Tom Stoppard’s acclaimed London transfer Leopoldstadt, chronicling a family of European Jews from 1899 to 1955, has grossed more than $1 million most weeks since opening in October. It recently extended to July 2. Funny Girl, about the Jewish comedienne Fanny Brice, grossed $2 million last week, thanks largely to the celebrated pipes of Lea Michele.
Parade would be the second musical to transfer from City Center this season, after the hit revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods. Parade producer Ambassador Theatre Group controls two Broadway theaters, both of which appear to be accounted for: the Hudson, which has a new version this spring of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, by Amy Herzog and starring Jessica Chastain; and the Lyric, with longtime tenant Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Lincoln Center Theater, in association with Garth Drabinsky’s Livent, produced the original Parade. It got mixed reviews and ran just 85 performances. Alfred Uhry also won a Tony for the book. Brown went on to win two more Tonys, for The Bridges of Madison County, and is regarded today as one of theater’s most talented and versatile composer-lyricists, despite the absence of a Broadway hit.
The revival will test the drawing power of Platt after the 2021 release of the poorly-received film adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen, in which he starred. Reviewers who saw Parade at City Center praised Platt’s rich voice and posited that his anxious onstage persona suited the role.
In the New York Times, Juan A. Ramirez wrote that the revival “recalls an era of big casts, big stories and big talent — a time when musicals actually felt like events.”