THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK Opens at Milwaukee Rep, October 26
Anne Frank's remarkable diary has become an essential tool for understanding one of the darkest periods of our history – and one of the most beautiful, haunting stories in our shared experience. A testament to the human spirit and its young author's "boundless desire for all that is beautiful and good," the play illuminates Anne's unwavering belief in justice and love during her more than two years in hiding during World War II. This moving, true story is essential viewing for every generation. The play is dramatized from the book by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.
Making her Rep directorial debut, KJ Sanchez will direct the play. The cast features Associate Artists Jonathan Gillard Daly, Laura Gordon, Lee E. Ernst, James Pickering and Deborah Staples and guest actors J. Alexander Coe, Kelley Faulkner, Larry Neumann, Jr., and rising Chicago actress Lauren Hirte in the title role. Rep Artistic Intern Ensemble Members Jonathan Altman, Emily Berman, Jess Prichard and J.R. Yancher are also in this production. The Diary of Anne Frank runs in The Rep's Quadracci Powerhouse from October 23 – December 2 and opens on Friday, October 26.
"The Diary of Anne Frank is one of the greatest testaments to living in the present that I've ever read, and it never fails to move me to tears," says Artistic Director Mark Clements. "The story may be set against one of history's grimmest eras, but out of that comes incredible light and incredible hope from the strength of Anne's spirit. This is a story that every generation needs to hear, and we're honored to tell it."
"Rabbi Julia Neuberger, editor of "The Word of Anne Frank," writes that she often goes into schools to talk about the Holocaust," added director KJ Sanchez. "On one particular day a child raised her hand and asked the Rabbi, "Was Anne Frank the most famous survivor of the Holocaust?" Needless to say, the Rabbi was shocked, as Anne died in Bergen-Belsen in 1945. But then she thought about it. . . . Anne's diary has endured because her spirit, in fact, endures. Anne chose to laugh and, more importantly, to love in the most difficult circumstances imaginable – and in this sense, her spirit survives today."
The Diary of Anne Frank premiered on Broadway at the Cort Theatre on October 5, 1955 and later transferred to the Ambassador Theatre. Originally produced by Kermit Bloomgarden and directed by Garson Kanin, the production closed in 1957 after 717 performances. The play opened simultaneously in seven German cities on October 1, 1956. Upon its opening in Amsterdam on November 27, 1956, Queen Juliana was in attendance. In 1956, The Diary of Anne Frank was nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Actress, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design and Best Director, ultimately winning Best Play. The play also received the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as the 1956 Drama Critic's Circle Award for Best Play. Goodrich and Hackett adapted the play into a screenplay in 1959, which was the first film version of Anne's story and featured members of the original Broadway cast. In 1960, the film version of The Diary of Anne Frank won three Academy Awards, a Golden Globe and won Best Written American Drama from the Writer's Guild of America.
Jonathan Altman (Ensemble) is a member of The Rep's Artistic Intern Ensemble and was just seen in The Rep's production of Assassins; Emily Berman (Margot Frank), is also a member of The Rep's Artistic Intern Ensemble and is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan; J. Alexander Coe (Peter van Daan) will be making his Rep debut and was most recently an Acting Intern with Actors Theatre of Louisville; recent roles there include Sense and Sensibility, A Christmas Carol, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the premiere of Hero Dad in THE TENS; Coe holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Minnesota State University Mankato; Jonathan Gillard Daly (Mr. Frank), a Rep Associate Artist, was most recently seen at The Rep on the Quadracci Powerhouse stage as the Proprietor in Assassins; other roles include Heck Tate in To Kill a Mockingbird and Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, among many others; Daly is also a founding member of the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN; Lee E. Ernst (Mr. Van Daan/Fight Director), also a Rep Associate Artist, was most recently seen as Samuel Byck in Assassins, Brabantio/Montano in Othello, Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird and the title role in Lombardi; he has performed in over a 100 roles at The Rep since he joined The Acting Company in 1993; Ernst is also an accomplished fight choreographer and does fight choreography across the country; Kelley Faulkner (Miep), was just seen performing on the Quadracci Powerhouse stage in the Chorus of Assassins; other recent roles at The Rep include Patsy Cline in Always . . . Patsy Cline, Belle/Lucy in A Christmas Carol and Sally Bowles in Cabaret; other credits include Claire in Proof (Theatrefest), Nancy in Oliver! and Emily Arden in State Fair (Walnut Street Theatre) and Roxie in Chicago (New Candlelight Theatre), among others; Laura Gordon, a Rep Associate Artist, just finished directing Gutenberg! The Musical! in The Rep's Stackner Cabaret; she has performed in over 75 productions at The Rep including Death of a Salesman, The Lady with All the Answers, Pride and Prejudice, Enchanted April, The Crucible and Doubt, among many others; Lauren Hirte (Anne Frank), a Chicago-based actress, recently appeared with Lookingglass Theatre Company in Icarus; additional credits there include Fedra, Alice in Lookinglass Alice (including tours to New Victory Theatre, NY; McCarter Theatre, Princeton and Arden Theatre Company, Philadelphia) as well as Hard Times (Lookingglass and Arden Theatre Company, Philadephia); other credits include Dream and all three productions of The Flying Griffin Circus at the Actors Gymnasium, where she has been teaching and performing for the past ten years; and A Festival of Jewish Stories at the Piven Theatre, where she teaches on occasion and is an alum of their YPC; Larry Neumann, Jr. (Mr. Dussel), making his Rep debut, is a veteran Chicago actor who has performed in over 60 productions throughout the Chicago area in over 30 theaters; recent memorable performances include Bob Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Phil Hogan in The Moon for the Misbegotten and Edgar Allen Poe in The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe (First Folio Theatre); film credits include The Merry Gentleman, Stranger Than Fiction and Stir of Echoes; James Pickering (Mr. Kraler), a Rep Associate Artist, returns to the Quadracci Powerhouse after performing the role of Duke of Venice in Othello; other roles last season included Judge Taylor in To Kill a Mockingbird and Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol; recent favorite roles include Richard Harkin in The Seafarer, Dave Moss in Glengarry Glen Ross, Niels Bohr in Copenhagen and Hugh in Translations; Jess Prichard (Ensemble), a member of The Rep's Artistic Ensemble, completed his MFA in Acting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Prichard has been a touring company member with Imago Theatre as well as a professional clown; he has also spent two summers with Associate Artist Jonathan Gillard Daly at the The Great River Shakespeare Festival; Deborah Staples (Mrs. Van Daan), a Rep Associate Artist, returns to the Quadracci Powerhouse after performing the roles of Emilia in Othello and Jean Louise in To Kill a Mockingbird last season; she was also seen performing the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past/Mrs. Miggott in A Christmas Carol at the Pabst Theater; this past spring and summer she finished a run of The Blonde, The Brunette and The Vengeful Redhead at Writers' Theatre in Glenco, IL; J.R. Yancher (Ensemble), a member of The Rep's Artistic Intern Ensemble, was just seen in The Rep's production of Assassins as James Blaine and in the Chorus; he is a graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts.