Ten days ago, Donald Trump announced he’d be arrested in Manhattan last Tuesday. On the tiny chance he wasn’t lying, I wanted to witness that show. And several others.

I enjoy the Big Apple in short doses. I’m a sucker for live theater, especially musicals. When neo-Nazis protested the Broadway musical, “Parade,” I decided to see that play. 

It could be a double-feature. America’s all-time authoritarian leader being arrested during the day, followed by “Parade” on Tuesday night.

I somehow slept on my Tuesday red-eye, and then rode the train and subway with New Jersey commuters before dawn. My Times Square hotel gave me an early check-in, breakfast buffet and the ideal launching point to ride my Citi Bike downtown.

Once at the familiar courthouse area, I saw a massive media presence, but MAGA support was minuscule. Life went on in the big city, without protests or parades. 

Good thing I had other plans. I rode by Lady Liberty and the Lower East Side, before pedaling uptown, excited to absorb a Broadway hit show. 

“Parade” did not disappoint, putting remarkable music to the 1913 murder trial of Leo Frank for killing 13-year-old Mary Phagan. Until Trump came along, the Leo Frank prosecution had been the most infamous criminal investigation in Fulton County, Georgia history. 

Atlanta’s ambitious prosecutor Hugh Dorsey was overzealous while seeking capital punishment and the governor’s mansion. Ancient bigotries and authoritarian vestiges of the Confederacy caused massive injustice for Leo Frank, who did not fit in.

Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond are phenomenal performers. They are perfectly cast in lead roles as Leo Frank, a native Brooklyn Jew, and Lucille Frank, his devoted, southern, assimilated Jewish wife. This true story of authoritarian criminal justice in America hit me like a punch in the gut. When Leo got lynched on stage, I gasped. Tears poured down my face. 

“Parade” makes audiences confront authoritarianism. This absorbing musical had me rethinking capital punishment in any justice system susceptible to authoritarianism. 

Did I mention I’m a sucker for Broadway shows? Trump indictment and/or arrest rumors swirled on Wednesday, but the day was gray and I wanted to see more plays. The Times Square Ticket Agency had just the tickets I wanted.

”Leopoldstadt,” my Wednesday matinee, showed the disastrous consequences on one large Jewish family when authoritarianism came to Austria. Renowned English playwright Tom Stoppard discovered his hidden Jewish heritage late in life. Sir Stoppard’s multi-generational story begins on Christmas1899, with an assimilated Jewish family celebrating around their Christmas tree. 

These Jews were secular, and some proclaimed they were well-accepted by their neighbors. Leopoldstadt had been the designated district of Vienna to which Jews were assigned in 1622, but this Jewish family had left that situation. Or so they thought. They were stunned by their neighbor’s acceptance of authoritarianism and its concurrent Jew hatred

Stoppard’s play ends in 1955. Leo, a young character introduced toward the end, is a loose stand-in for Stoppard. As the curtain fell, the audience stood for an ovation, led by me, with tears flowing.

It was the family stuff that got me. Authoritarianism threatens my family. And yours. Free of authoritarianism, America has prospered as a democracy. I’ve experienced scant antisemitism in my American lifetime. The same can be said of Brooklyn-born Jewish-American musical superstar Neil Diamond. 

“A Beautiful Noise,” the marvelous musical based on the life of Diamond, made my Wednesday night spectacular. I was captivated to learn the complicated story of a man who dreamed of being a king, and then became one

Diamond has long been one of my favorites. My big brother, Bill, played him non-stop. My wife and I saw Diamond at the Pepsi Center on his last trip through Colorado.

Throughout the play, an actor playing octogenarian Neil seeks answers for his ongoing anxiety. In a flashback scene, we witness Diamond’s mother explaining to young Neil that, “We’re Jews. Of course we’re anxious. How could we not be?” The singing and acting are exceptional in this rollicking feel-good love story and must-see show.

The must-not-see show of modern times is a remake of MAGA. Trump is an authoritarian. He is the final authority for today’s Republican Party. The party platform is fealty to Trump. So far, House leadership marches lockstep with MAGA, willing to yield completely to Trump’s authority and outrageous arguments.

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Axis Power dictators would approve Trump’s authoritarian mantra, “I am your retribution.” Trump said it Saturday in Waco, Texas. Threats and intimidation directed at Trump’s prosecutors have accelerated. And largely without condemnation by Republicans. 

I flew back to Denver on Thursday. If I had more time and frequent flier miles, I might’ve gone on to Israel to protest authoritarianism there

Jews have too long been canaries in the coal mine when it comes to authoritarianism. We don’t like it. And we tell our stories explaining why. Ten days from now, on Passover, we will perform Seder shows in our own homes explaining authoritarianism in Egypt, and how that ended.

The curtain did not set on Donald Trump last week in Manhattan. Not yet.

Craig Silverman is a former Denver chief deputy DA. Craig is columnist at large for The Colorado Sun and an active Colorado trial lawyer with Craig Silverman Law, LLC. He also hosts The Craig Silverman Show podcast.

The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the newsroom. Read our ethics policy for more on The Sun’s opinion policy and submit columns, suggested writers and more to opinion@coloradosun.com. (Learn more about how to submit a column.)

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Special to The Colorado Sun Email: craig@craigscoloradolaw.com Twitter: @craigscolorado