During Sunday night’s Tony Awards, Broadway made a defiant statement against antisemitism, as two major shows that thematically embodied the subject pulled in major categories: “Leopoldstadt” and the musical revival “Parade.”
Some of the members of both plays’ casts’ utilized the opportunity to make statements regarding antisemitism, as well as its connection to other forms of bigotry, such as homophobia and transphobia, during a time where, politically, all the groups are under attack.
“Leopoldstadt” won four of the six Tonys it was nominated for, including best play. Tom Stoppard’s semi-autobiographical play takes the audience through three generations of Viennese Jewish families before and after the Holocaust.
Brandon Uranowitz of “Leopoldstadt” won for the featured actor category, and thanked Stoppard for writing a show about antisemitism and “the false promise of assimilation,” discussing how members of his family were murdered by Nazis in Poland.
“When your child tells you who they are, believe them,” Uranowitz, who is gay, stated.
“Parade” is about the 1915 lynching of Leo Frank, and took home two awards on Sunday, including best revival of a musical. Alfred Uhry, who wrote the book to the original play in 1998, wore the Star of David lapel pin when he came up to accept the award.
The show’s director, Michael Arden, discussed Leo Frank in his speech, and how he had “a life that was cut short at the hands of the belief that one group of people is more or less valuable than another, which is at the core of antisemitism, of white supremacy, of homophobia, of transphobia, of intolerance of any kind.”
Arden also warned the audience to take in and learn the lessons that these plays are providing, “or else we are doomed to repeat the horrors of our history.”
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.