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We showed Ben Platt Leo Frank’s letters — here’s what he learned

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What Ben Platt learned reading Leo Frank’s letters

 

Ben Platt has won raves for his turn as Leo Frank, a Jewish man who was lynched after what was almost certainly a wrongful conviction for the murder of a teenage girl, in the Broadway revival of the musical Parade. It’s an intensely challenging role —and Platt got emotional when our PJ Grisar showed him Frank’s letters from jail.

 

It feels much more immediate”: In the stacks at the YIVO Institute for Jewish research, Platt looked at correspondence between Frank and the Forward’s founding editor Ab Cahan. Written in 1914 while he faced a death sentence, Frank was in surprisingly good spirits. “He’s so hopeful,” Platt said.

 

“Absolutely they should be Jews:” Platt said it was important to cast Jewish actors like him in the lead roles of Frank and his wife, Lucille. “This story is so specifically about Jewish oppression and antisemitism and it’s intrinsic to the lines and characterization,” he said.

 

“This is very urgent:” The first preview of Parade was met with neo-Nazi protesters claiming Frank was a pedophile. Platt said he doesn’t let “a few voices” from the fringe distract him, but  “it’s a great fire under the butt at all times.” 

 

Read the story ➤ 

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A Denton, Texas, man was sentenced after sending an online threat to the ADL. (Phira Phonruewiangphing/iStock)

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👀  Under pressure to resign from the Senate, Dianne Feinstein late Wednesday asked to be “temporarily” replaced on its Judiciary Committee, where her long absence due to shingles has held up appointments of federal judges. Feinstein, a Democrat, has missed 58 Senate votes since her diagnosis, and two Democratic members of Congress, one from her home state of California, called on her to step down this week. (Guardian)

 

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art, circa 1950. (Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

On this day in history (1870): The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in New York City. Known as the Met, it’s the largest museum in North America and the most visited one in the western hemisphere. Its permanent collection houses more than 2 million works, including manuscripts by Maimonides and artworks by Marc Chagall and Mark Rothko. But the Met has also come under fire for its approach to handling Nazi-looted art. In 2022, heirs of a Jewish art collector sued the museum, claiming it had sold a Van Gogh that had belonged to their ancestor in order to avoid returning it to them. 

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

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Samuel Breslow, one of our editorial fellows, captured the scene Wednesday at a Washington rally calling for the release of Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter imprisoned in Russia on spying charges. The State Department formally classified Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained,” affirming that the U.S. government views him as a political prisoner.

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Thanks to Benyamin Cohen, PJ Grisar and Sarah Nachimson for contributing to today’s newsletter. You can reach the “Forwarding” team at editorial@forward.com.

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The post We showed Ben Platt Leo Frank’s letters — here’s what he learned appeared first on The Forward.

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