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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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    WaterTower Theatre today announced the cast for The Diary of Anne Frank, running January 6-29, 2012 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, and Jacob Aaron Cullum and Wes Cantrell as Nazi Soldiers.

    Making their WaterTower Theatre debuts in The Diary of Anne Frank will be Travis Tope, Dana Schultes, Andrew J. Kasten, and Wes Cantrell.

    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.

    The Diary of Anne Frank opens Monday, January 9 running through Sunday, January 29, 2012. Press/Media night is Monday, January 9 at 7:30 pm.

    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!”

    Single tickets for The Diary of Anne Frank go on sale to the general public Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at noon.

    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 is the community partner for this production.

    The Diary of Anne Frank

    Adapted by Wendy Kesselman based on the original play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
    Based on the book Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
    Directed by Terry Martin

    Performance Schedule:

    Show Run Dates: Monday, January 9 – Sunday, January 29, 2012


    Preview Dates: Friday, January 6 and Saturday, January 7 at 8pm

    Pay What You Can: Sunday, January 8 at 7:30pm

    Opening Night: Monday, January 9 at 7:30pm

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


    Wednesdays & Thursdays: 7:30pm

    Fridays: 8pm

    Saturdays: 2pm (January 28 only) & 8pm

    Sundays: 2pm

    Ticket Prices:

    Single Tickets: $20 – $40

    Preview Tickets: $20 (Note: Sunday, January 8 is “Pay What You Can”)

    How/Where to Buy Tickets: or 972-450-6232 or in person at
    WaterTower Theatre Box Office (Tuesday – Friday, 12pm to 6pm)
    Addison Theatre Centre
    15650 Addison Road
    Addison, Texas 75001

    About Terry Martin (Director):

    Multi-award winning Director Terry Martin is in his 14th season as Producing Artistic Director of WaterTower Theatre where he has overseen more than 70 productions.

    Some of his 42 directing credits at WTT include Spring Awakening, Our Town, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Black Pearl Sings!, The Full Monty, As You Like It, Almost, Maine, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Man of La Mancha, Humble Boy, The Crucible, Take Me Out, A Country Life (which he adapted from Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and won the 2005 Rabin Award – Best New Play), Cabaret, It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues, Company, An Inspector Calls, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Laramie Project, You Can’t Take It With You, Book of Days, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2002 Rabin Award – Director of a Play), Sweeney Todd (2002 Rabin Award Nomination – Director of a Musical), Desire Under the Elms, Ravenscroft, Rockin’ Christmas Party (2000, 2001), Enter the Guardsman (2001 Rabin Award Nomination – Director of a Musical), Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill and Little Shop of Horrors (2000 Rabin Award Nomination – Director of a Musical) among others. For Plano Repertory Theatre, he has directed Journey’s End (2000 Rabin Award – Director of a Play), Dracula, La Bête, Little Shop of Horrors and Pump Boys and Dinettes. Terry was named “Best Theater Director” in the Dallas Observer’s “Best of Dallas 2002.”

    He has appeared on stage at WTT in Our Town, Blackbird (2008 Dallas Fort Worth Theatre Critics’ Forum Award), The Woman in Black, Dinner with Friends, The Guys, Bash: Latterday Plays (2002 Rabin Award Nomination – Actor in a Play) and at PRT in The Only Thing Worse You Could Have Told Me… (1998 Rabin Award – Actor in a Play, 1998 Dallas Theater Critics Forum Award), The Woman in Black (2000 Rabin Award Nomination – Actor in a Play), and Lonely Planet.

    After growing up in south Alabama, Terry spent 12 years in New York City working in theatre, television and film. While there, he directed and acted at The Village Theatre Company, Carnegie Hall Studios and Theatre at St. Marks as well as television appearances on ABC’s One Life to Live and NBC’s To Serve and Protect. He holds a BFA from the University of Alabama and has trained professionally with Sanford Meisner, Fred Kareman, Wynn Handman, Sally Johnson and Lehmann Byck. Terry presently teaches on-going acting classes in the Sanford Meisner Technique at WTT, as well as having served as Adjunct Professor of Acting at the University of Texas at Dallas.

    About WaterTower Theatre:

    WaterTower Theatre has become a theatrical force of nature through its consistent excellence and sharp programming. Combining Broadway-quality productions with the beauty of an intimate playing space, WaterTower Theatre provides experiences that are powerful and insightful, intense and uplifting. WaterTower Theatre provides the community with an opportunity to examine man’s condition from all perspectives and promotes growth through humor and drama.

    Now in its 16th season, WaterTower Theatre began life in 1996 with 136 brave subscribers. Today, with over 2000 subscribers and a budget of $1.2 million, it consistently earns rave reviews in The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer, and other local publications. With 104 Dallas Theatre League Leon Rabin Award Nominations and 28 wins to its credit, as well as 17 Dallas Fort Worth Theatre Critics Forum Awards, WaterTower Theatre is home to the finest local talent.

    A committed and intrepid producer of new work, the theatre has presented 5 world premiere productions and 13 regional premiere productions to date. WaterTower Theatre’s tradition of world premiere programming includes the musicals Song of Motherhood and Blind Lemon: Prince of Country Blues. Dramatic world premieres include Free Fall with Sandy Duncan, Baptized to the Bone by Dave Johnson (which is enjoying healthy post-WaterTower Theatre life) and A Country Life, Producing Artistic Director Terry Martin’s southern adaptation of Anton Chekhov‘s Uncle Vanya. Both Blind Lemon and A Country Life earned WaterTower Theatre a Dallas Theatre League Leon Rabin Award for Best New Work.

    WaterTower Theatre is committed to nurturing emerging talent and expanding audiences. The annual Out of the Loop Fringe Festival strives to present new work by local and national writers. A major part of WaterTower Theatre’s education program partners professional artists and technicians with students at our Summer Performing Arts Conservatory, where students ages 8 – 18 learn “life skills through theatre skills.” In addition, master classes and workshops for professional performers offer an opportunity for continued education at the local level.

    WTT is privileged to make its home at the Addison Theatre Centre, an award-winning flexible theatre space that can be reconfigured to accommodate each new production. WaterTower’s expanding artistic vision, deepening service to the community and growing audiences have led to a unique partnership with the Town of Addison, one aimed at the development of an exciting destination for patrons to experience the best in theatrical and performing arts.

    WaterTower Theatre is a Constituent of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre and a member of the Dallas Theatre League.

    WaterTower Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support of:


    Read the full article at

    by David Novinski

    published Sunday, April 3, 2011

    For Will Kidder, questions surrounding the death of his only son pale in comparison to the questions surrounding his life. The Young Man from Atlanta may have more answers than he is willing to hear. We never meet him on stage but the secret he represents is obvious to the audience of Uptown Players in their contribution to the Horton Foote Festival. Roommate to the Kidder’s only son, he is solace to Lily Dale and sorrow to Will.  Horton Foote leaves us unsatisfied as to the real relationship between the men because of Will’s stubborn desire to remember his son as he wants. In the end, the play raises more questions than it answers about the questions that we ask, never wanting the answer.…

    By: Andy Propst · Aug 18, 2010  · Dallas/Fort Worth

    Lyric Stage in Irving, Texas has announced complete casting for Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady, to run September 10-19 in the Irving Arts Center’s Carpenter Performance Hall.

    Len Pfluger will direct and choreograph the production which will have music direction by Jay Dias, who will conduct a 38 piece orchestra playing Robert Russell Bennett and Philip J. Lang’s Broadway orchestrations.

    The company will feature Kimberly Whalen (Eliza Doolittle), Brent Alford (Henry Higgins), Gary Taggart (Pickering), Sonny Franks (Doolittle) and Daniel R. Johnson (Freddy), along with Noelle Stanley, Julie Erickson, Eric Aultman, Felecia Benton, Courtney Dahl, Vicki Dean, Melody Denoia, Dayton Dobbs, Caitlin Galloway, Graham Galloway, Katherine Gentsch, Amber Nicole Guest, Martin Guerra, Sarah Harder, Joseph Holt, Will Huse, Babakayode Ipaye, Augustine Jalomo, Kallie Katzman, Thomas Renner, Michael Sylvester, Dana Taylor, Jay Taylor, Keith Warren, Lucia Welch and James Williams.

    Rags’ Resplendent Riches @ Lyric Stage

    by Alexandra Bonifield

    Nothing ragged about Lyric Stage’s current production of the 1986 Tony nominated Rags, created by the top-flight musical theatre trio Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the Roof, book), Charles Strouse (Annie, music) and Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, lyrics). A visually elegant performance placed within an austere but evocative setting with strong acting and superb singing in compliment […]

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    Remember this show? Great cast and great reviews.

    Sample review:

    Despite title, this man does stand out
    Elaine Liner – Fort worth Star Telegram

    Mild-mannered Alfie Byrne, a middle-aged, unmarried Dublin bus conductor (played with exquisite poignancy by Chamblee Ferguson), lives for the theater.No matter that his stage is in the basement of tiny St. Imelda’s church and that his players are the simple working-class folk who ride his bus.

    Every year Alfie and his troupe pay tribute to his favorite playwright, Oscar Wilde. Alfie’s goal: “to take the crude clay of real life and transmute it into airt.”But when Alfie decides on Wilde’s controversial Salome, he runs into opposition from church officials and from his own straitlaced sister, Lily (Pam Peadon).The church shuts Alfie’s troupe down. The crisis causes him to finally reveal a personal secret that’s kept him from being truly happy for too many years.

    Based on a likable 1994 film, A Man of No Importance made its transition to the New York stage in 2002 with a book by Tony winner Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens.

    This is a small musical about ordinary people, wafting along on light-as-air folky Irish tunes and the occasional rousing jig. But it’s a feel-good show with plenty of heart.Ferguson is a standout in the title role. Among the large supporting cast, Emerson Collins displays youthful charm and a beautiful tenor as Alfie’s co-worker, Robbie.

    As a little tough named Baldy O’Shea, John Coffman brings the audience to sniffles with The Cuddles Mary Gave, a sentimental anthem about a beloved wife who’s passed on. As Alfie’s perfect Salome, the lovely Arianna Movassagh’s Miss Rice turns out to be a fallen woman who’s hardly the “princess” Alfie imagines.

    GRADE: A


    Lyric Stage gives Dallas a new look at Charles Strouse’s “Rags”


    Dallas is fast becoming the Charles Strouse capital of America.


    News Article on 

    Lyric Stage’s Rags, Featuring Revised Book and 35-Piece Orchestra, Begins Oct. 28 

    The Lyric Stage production of the Charles Strouse-Stephen Schwartz-Joseph Stein musical Rags, which runs Oct. 28-Nov. 6 at the Irving Arts Center’s Carpenter Performance Hall in Irving, TX, features a revised book by Stein, which the librettist completed just before his death last fall.


    This is an interesting post of a 1995 review of Horton Foote’s The Young Man From Atlanta.

    Lucia Welch portrays Lily Dale in 2011’s Uptown Player’s production… to rave reviews!

    “When we heard about the Foote Festival, at first we ignored the phone calls. We thought, great, just what Dallas needs. Another fetish party. Don’t get us wrong, we love a nice pair of feet if attached to the right person, but on their own, they just sort of creep us out. Then we saw the written press releases and noticed the extra “e” at the end of “Foote” and realized our innocent mistake.”

    Read more and see a picture of Lucia Welch and T.A. Taylor from Uptown Players’ The Young Man from Atlanta by Mike Morgan at ……