New post on criticalrant.com 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: http://wp.me/pkthF-110

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 – http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1g2uTD/blogs.dallasobserver.com/mixmaster/2012/…

 

_____________________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 As Vincent Canby said in his 1997 review, “Israel was a new state, aged seven, (and) Elie Wiesel’s Night would not be published in English for another five years”.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

__________________________________________________________

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK
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 www.watertowertheatre.org 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 http://www.pegasusnews.com/news/2012/jan/11/theater-review-diary-anne-frank-w…

Full article by Mark Lowry: http://www.theaterjones.com/reviews/20120110151912/2012-01-15/WaterTower-Theatre/The-Diary-of-Anne-Frank

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

$20-$50

972-450-6232

Click here to see complete listings for WaterTower Theatre


WaterTower Theatre
15650 Addison Road
AddisonTX 75001

click here for a location map

WaterTower Theatre
January 9-29, 2012

Directed by Terry Martin (COLUMN subscriber, multiple
COLUMN AWARD WINNER)

Set Design by Clare DeVries (COLUMN subscriber, multiple
COLUMN AWARD WINNER)

Costume Design by Michael A. Robinson (COLUMN subscriber,
multiple COLUMN AWARD WINNER)

Lighting Design by Susan White (COLUMN subscriber, multiple
COLUMN AWARD WINNER)

Stage Management by Heidi Shen (COLUMN subscriber)

CAST includes the following COLUMN subscribers:

Stan Graner (multiple COLUMN AWARD WINNER)
Emily Scott Banks (2011 COLUMN AWARD WINNER)
Travis Tope
Lucia Welch
Ted Wold (COLUMN AWARD WINNER)
Dana Schultes
Andrew J. Kasten
Wes Cantrell
Arvin Combs

Anne Frank is undoubtedly an icon of the Holocaust; her diary
has been published in many languages, & millions of people
are familiar with her story. In this powerful new adaptation
the young Anne Frank emerges from history as a living,
lyrical, intensely gifted girl who confronts her rapidly
changing life & the increasing horror of her time with
astonishing honesty, wit and determination.

This impassioned drama about the lives of 8 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 & bring
enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want
to go on living even after my death!”

Single tickets go on sale to the general public Tuesday
December 6, 2011 at noon. The Dallas Holocaust Museum is
the community partner for this production.

Performance Schedule:

Preview Dates: Friday January 6 & 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: January 17 & 24 at 10am

Performances:
Wednesdays & Thursdays: 7:30pm / Fridays: 8pm
Saturdays: 2pm (January 28 only) & 8pm/ Sundays: 2pm

Ticket Prices:
Single Tickets: $20 – $40
Preview Tix: $20 (Note: Sunday Jan 8 is “Pay What You Can”)

How/Where to Buy Tickets:
www.watertowertheatre.org or 972-450-6232 or in person
at WTT Box Office (Tuesday–Friday, 12pm to 6pm)
Addison Theatre Centre, 15650 Addison Rd, Addison, Tx 75001

WaterTower Theatre

www.watertowertheatre.org/

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 

Lucia Welch
Donna

Book by NEIL SIMON, 
Music by MARVIN HAMLISCH, lyrics by DAVID ZIPPEL

Dec 13, 2007 – Jan 20, 2008

Molly-Franco-Stan-Graner-Lead-WaterTower-Theatres-THE-DIARY-OF-ANNE-FRANK-20010101

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

Performances:

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: www.watertowertheatre.org 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 http://www.theaterjones.com/pf.php?articleid=20110403092156

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.