Archives for the month of: January, 2012


WaterTower Theatre Media Alert:


WaterTower Theatre will extend its run of The Diary of Anne Frank by one performance.  An additional show has been added Sunday, January 29th at 7 pm. 


Tickets for this performance are $20 per person (no discounts, coupons or special offers allowed) and are now on sale at WaterTower Theatre’s  box office at 972-450-6232 or online at


The Diary of Anne Frank opened January 6th at the Addison Theatre Centre.  The cast includes Molly Franco as Anne Frank, Stan Graner as Otto Frank,Emily Scott Banks as Edith Frank, Jessica Renee Russell as Margot Frank, Travis Tope as Peter Van Daan, Lucia Welch as Mrs. Van Daan, Paul T. Taylor as Mr. Van Daan, Ted Wold as Mr. Dussell, Dana Schultes as Miep Gies, Andrew J.  Kasten as Mr. Kraler, Arvin Combs as the Nazi Officer, andJacob Aaron Cullum and Wes Cantrell as Nazi Soldiers.


The creative team for The Diary of Anne Frank is led by Director Terry Martin.  Clare DeVries is the Set Designer, Michael A. Robinson is Costume Designer, Susan White is Lighting Designer, Scott Guenther is Sound Designer, and Heidi Shen is the Stage Manager.


Anne Frank is undoubtedly an icon of the Holocaust; her diary has been published in many languages, and millions of people are familiar with her story.  In this powerful new adaptation by Wendy Kesselman, the young Anne Frank emerges from history as a living, lyrical, intensely gifted girl who confronts her rapidly changing life and the increasing horror of her time with astonishing honesty, wit and determination. This impassioned drama about the lives of eight people hiding from the Nazis in a concealed storage attic captures the claustrophobic realities of their daily existence. Each day for two dark years, Anne Frank’s voice shines through: “When I write I shake off all my cares. But I want to achieve more than that. I want to be useful and bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!”


The Diary of Anne Frank is generously underwritten, in part, by the Addison Business Association in honor of Robert Mayer, Jr., Atmos Energy, The Dallas Foundation, the 500 Inc.,  Robert Mayer, Jr., Women of WaterTower Theatre. 


The Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance is the community partner for this production.





Greg Patterson

Director of Development & Marketing

WaterTower Theatre

15650 Addison Road

Addison, Texas 75001

Office:  972.450-6227

Cell :  214-310-9108

Fax:  972-450-6244


Daily Campus > A&E

WaterTower impresses with ‘Anne Frank’

By Chase Wade

By Chase Wade

By Chase Wade–>


Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012

Updated: Thursday, January 19, 2012 23:01

  • Addison’s WaterTower Theatre isn’t particularly known for its hard-hitting, heavy subject plays.

    The always-consistent playhouse leans toward the lighter side of plays and shows for the bulk of its season.

    However, in their new show, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” WaterTower Theatre tackles the classic holocaust story of a young girl’s tale of hiding in the attic of her father’s shop, hoping to avoid the Nazi regime.

    Directed by Terri Martin, WaterTower’s retelling of one of the world’s most well known stories is an honest and accurate staged play that has moments touching both sides of the emotional spectrum.

    Playing the title character is Molly Franco.

    Franco’s portrayal of Anne is much giddier than one would think.

    Franco easily captures the spirit of a young care free child and uses it to propel her role on stage.

    However, Frano has to be careful not to seem too kid like.

    At times, Franco’s Anne seems a tad too childish but when the actress needs to be serious, Franco bears down and delivers.

    With a wide grin and hurricane-like gestures, Franco prances her way around stage capturing the audience’s heart with every light step.

    While Franco may be the star, a number of her supporting cast members shine as well.

    Travis Tope delivers a solid performance playing Peter Van Daan, Anne’s romantic interest that develops while in the attic.

    For someone so young, Tope shows maturity and refinement in his line delivery and timing.

    Tope, a recent graduate of Plano West High School, possesses the acting abilities that people ten years his elder don’t have.

    Another standout comes through Tope’s one stage mom, Mrs. Van Daan, played by Lucia A. Welch.

    Welch does a fine job playing the attic’s most pampered tenant.

    She’s funny when she needs to be, but can be serious in a snap.

    Martin’s direction is precise with this play as he blends the use of light, sound and stage to make a show about a diary feel as personal as a diary should be.

    Particularly good moments come when the stage goes black and a lone spotlight is shone on Franco as she delivers sometimes-chilling readings of Anne’s diary.

    Credit is due to the stage designer, Clare Floyd Devries, who constructed an open, yet somehow intimate, stage that works seamlessly as the family’s hideaway.

    In one of the most abrupt change in emotion that this critic has ever seen, the play concludes with the family’s eventual capture.

    Stan Graner, who plays Anne’s father Otto Frank, delivers a mournal monologue commemorating the ones he lost to the hand of the Nazis.This is perhaps the play’s most chilling moment.

    As a whole, WaterTower’s “Anne Frank” is a solid staged play that ultimately plays tribute to the human spirit and the good and evil it can be capable of.

    With a solid cast, great direction and an interesting stage, “The Diary of Anne Frank” is the perfect piece for WaterTower to ring in the New Year.

    “The Diary of Anne Frank” runs until Jan. 29 at the WaterTower Theater in Addison, Texas. 

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    New post on Alexandra Bonifield

    WaterTower’s Anne Frank: Bearing Tolerance’s Torch
    by Alexandra Bonifield

    Attending a stage performance of The Diary of Anne Frank feels like participating in a purification ritual or a high Mass. Pretty much everyone knows the outcome and recognizes the cast of characters and how each will behave. So what is the stage adaptation’s appeal? How does it draw and hold attentive audiences, from grade […]

    Alexandra Bonifield | 17 January 2012 at 1:42 am | Tags: Dallas Holocaust Museum, Diary of Anne Frank, terry martin, watertower theatre, wendy kesselman | Categories: Theatre Reviews | URL:

    The other night at the end of a performance of The Diary of Anne Frank at WaterTower Theatre, the lights went down on the final scene then came up with the cast assembled for bows. Instead of applause, the actors were met with complete silence. The lights went down again. The actors left the stage and the audience quietly filed out of the building.


    “That’s exactly the reaction we are hoping for,” wrote one of the actors on her Facebook wall later that night…


    Full article –…


    _____________________THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK___________________

    Reviewed by Chris Jackson, Associate Theater Critic
    For John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

    In October of 1997 Natalie Portman made her Broadway debut starring in the revival of The Diary of Anne Frank along with Linda Lavin and George Hearn, and directed by James Lapine. Wendy Kesselman adapted the stage script by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, originally presented in the mid-1950’s. Their script was based on the 1947 publishing phenomenon Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, with a forward by Eleanor Roosevelt no less. The book, eventually translated into 56 languages, and the original play, riveted Americans with its revealing and personal account of the Holocaust, presenting in this one family’s story a glimpse of an event so horrendous as to be almost incomprehensible. 

    Goodrich and Hackett aimed their script at an audience only ten years away from the depicted events. As Vincent Canby said in his 1997 review, “Israel was a new state, aged seven, (and) Elie Wiesel’s Night would not be published in English for another five years”. Ms. Kesselman on the other hand had access to the 1995 definitive edition of the diary and other documents that the earlier writers did not. She also restored the “Jewishness” of the story and Anne’s writings about her burgeoning sexuality that had been toned down in the `50s to make the play more palatable to a wider audience. Finding the upbeat, optimistic attitude of the original script not consistent with the source, she retained the more somber and realistic tone of the book. 

    As we in the audience watched the actors enter the attic onstage at WaterTower Theatre, I felt pretty certain that the lump in my throat was not the only one. In the back of my mind was the knowledge that these actors were portraying real people who suffered and died a terrible death. And yet, even with this knowledge, I found myself caught up in their story, hoping that they would be rescued, straining with them for every bit of optimistic news and event. 

    For the actors the challenge was not to play the ending from the beginning, something especially hard to do with such a well-known story. It was to their credit that for the most part they succeeded. Of course their character’s dread of the possible tragedy was hanging over their heads constantly but the hope for rescue and freedom was the driving force.

    As Anne, Molly Franco made a nice transition from the rather giddy thirteen year old “Miss Quack Quack” to the more mature Anne at the end of the play. She looked the role and was successful in playing Anne’s faults as well as her virtues. Her more effective moments came in the second act as the character approached the age of the actress. Her change in attitude toward Peter from play fellow to romantic interest was well done and believable. The play was episodic by necessity but Miss Franco and the other actors managed to find a through- line for their characters and stick to it.

    Stan Graner was Anne’s father, Otto Frank, and his role, as written, was a really rather one-dimensional one of solidity, goodness and stability. We never got a glimpse into his darker areas of despair or doubt until the end of the play in the epilogue. Mr. Graner did a fine job with the words he was given and played the affectionate husband and father to good effect. That he was the tallest on the stage was a visual plus in helping make him the authority figure. His last moments alone on stage were heart-felt and touching. The final monologue of the play, which related the fates of the other characters, was delivered by Mr. Graner with restraint and deep emotion.

    In the role of Anne’s mother Edith, Emily Scott Banks turned in another of her solid and nuanced performances. She created a wide range of character traits for Mrs. Frank, from fear and strength to jealousy and exasperation. Her love for her family and her effort to hold the situation together was a strong arc throughout her performance.

    Peter Van Daan was ably played by Travis Tope, nicely growing into young adulthood before our eyes. His transitions from the shy, withdrawn teen in the first scenes to the more complex and interesting
    young man in the final scenes were effective. His growing affection for Anne was believable and gently played. I kept thinking as I watched the show how difficult the situation must have been for all three teens. Adolescence is hard enough without the added stress of very little privacy and constantly being in real danger.

    Paul Taylor and Lucia Welch as Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan were a believable couple caught up in a terrible situation. Ms. Welch’s vanity and pretensions and Mr. Taylor’s distraction and frustrations as the Van Daans were displayed with restraint until the moments when the outbursts gave the show its needed minor climaxes on the way to the ultimate ending. Both actors gave solid, believable performances.

    In what could be a throw-away role as Margot Frank, Jessica Renee Russell gave a riveting performance as the complex and withdrawn young woman. Ms. Russell has been seen recently on local stages, and her performance in The Diary of Anne Frank showed us why this young actress has continued to get work.

    Ted Wold entered the action later than the other characters in the role of Mr. Dussel, the dentist. His was a detailed and eminently watchable performance that solidly impressed, as did Dana Schultes as Miep Gies in another role that might have been easily overlooked in the hands of a less skilled actress. 

    Andrew Kasten played Mr. Kraler. Alvin Combs was a Nazi officer, with Jacob Aaron Cullum as a Nazi soldier and Wes Cantrell as a “man.” All of these gentlemen gave well crafted and believable characterizations that helped to solidify the over-all effect of the show.

    This was another beautifully produced show by WaterTower Theatre. The set by Clare Floyd DeVries was stark and simple with strong outlines of the attic space that effectively moved into silhouette at various moments in the action. The illusionistic buildings to the side and the tops of the windows in the warehouse below helped establish the locale. The cramped quarters were displayed without losing the strong artistic sense of the design although perhaps a little more grit and grime would have added to the atmosphere. Costumes by Michael A. Robinson worked well for the period and told who the characters were, not an easy job with the layerings and many on and off stage changes. My only quibble was with the unflattering sleeves on Mrs. Van Daan’s suit jacket.

    Lighting by Susan A. White was helpful in directing the audience’s eye to the appropriate stage areas. With the whole cast on stage most of the time, this was essential to following the action. Especially effective was the epilogue lighting which gave a sense of decay and distress that helped underline the mood of Mr. Frank’s final monologue. A more subtle light on Anne’s diary in the last moment would have been more effective. 

    The sound design by Curtis Craig and Scott Guenther was almost another character in itself, providing not only the broadcasts the families listened to so eagerly, but also the noises of the outside world from which they were removed. The period props by Georgana Jinks helped established the time frame.

    Terry Martin’s direction was capable, moving the many characters in the space to good effect. His placement of the actors provided focus where it needed to be although I wished they hadn’t been trapped behind the center table so often. The upper attic space seemed under-used until the second act. With that many people crowded into such a small space, I wondered why someone wasn’t sleeping upstairs.

    The show was solid and serviceable. The terrible stress of the situation brought out the frailties of these normally very affable people. Imagine being trapped for twenty-five months in a small space with seven other people, having to be absolutely quiet during the day and always living with the fear of discovery. The actors took their moments, and the audience was caught up in the plot, but there were other moments such as the end of the Chanukah scene before the thief was discovered or the entrance of the soldiers that didn’t quite work. Several scene endings needed just another beat before moving on to put the full emotional impact where it needed to be. I ultimately wanted to be more moved and emotionally involved than I was.

    The first moment of the show was extraordinarily affecting as the characters came in and looked around and realized this would be their home for the foreseeable future. The looks on their faces and their body language spoke volumes as the audience took in the yellow Star of David on their clothes and the magnitude of their situation unfolded. Each speaking of what they missed most or what they would do when they were free again and the traditional lighting of the candles were heart wrenching and beautifully played moments. The ending, with the arrival of the soldiers was terrifying as the inevitable unfolded.

    The show was slick and professional, moving at times and emotionally involving most of the evening and WaterTower Theatre should be commended for mounting a strong and visually striking production. In Ms. Kesselman’s adaptation, while Anne’s diary may not be the symbol of hope in the middle of this horror that it was in the original script, it was a testament that bore witness. And it did it most effectively.

    Reviewed by Chris Jackson, Associate Theatre Critic
    For John Garcia’s THE COLUMN


    WaterTower Theater
    Addison Theatre Centre, 15650 Addison Road, Addison, TX 75001
    Runs through January 29th 

    Wednesdays & Thursdays: 7:30pm
    Fridays: 8:00pm
    Saturdays: 8:00pm, and January 28th only at 2:00 pm 
    Sundays: 2:00pm

    Atmos Energy Student Matinee Performances January 17th and 
    24th at 10:00 am

    Single Tickets: $20.00 – $40.00, depending on the day.

    For tix go to or 972-450-6232 or in 
    person at Water Tower Theatre Box Office (Tuesday-Friday 
    12pm to 6 pm)

    “Paul Taylor and Lucia Welch as Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan were a believable couple caught up in a terrible situation. Welch’s vanity and pretensions and Taylor’s distraction and frustrations as the Van Daans were displayed with restraint until the moments when the outbursts gave the show its needed minor climaxes on the way to the ultimate ending. Both actors gave solid, believable performances.”

    Full article…

    Full article by Mark Lowry:

    The Diary of Anne Frank

    by Wendy Kesselman (adapted from Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, based on Anne Frank’s diary)
    presented by 

    WaterTower Theatre

    Open now through Sunday, Jan 29
    Next performance today at 8pm

    Runs two hours and 15 minutes with one intermission



    Click here to see complete listings for WaterTower Theatre

    WaterTower Theatre
    15650 Addison Road
    AddisonTX 75001

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