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Theatre Review

William Jones Productions Preview: William Jones Productions Mounts Tour of The Diary of Anne Frank

March 15, 2003 - Raleigh, NC:

William Jones Productions will mount a National Tour of The Diary of Anne Frank March 16-April 11. Raleigh, North Carolina actress/director Serena Ebhardt will stage this 1956 Pulitzer Prize and Tony® Award-winning drama by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.

Based on Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, edited by her father, Otto Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank is a riveting story of a German-Jewish family and friends who hid in a secret annex above an Amsterdam business for years, before being betrayed to the Gestapo. All but Otto Frank died in Nazi concentration camps.

"Anne Frank is the story of a young Jewish girl who goes into hiding with her family in Amsterdam to avoid persecution and death by the Nazi's during World War II," says Serena Ebhardt. "The cast includes Melissa Cain, Estelle Collins, Jonathan Demers, Kylene Edson, Gabrieal Griego, Lucas Penick, Stephen Wall, and Randy Wood."

In reviewing the original production, The New York Times wrote: "A lovely tender drama.... Strange how the shining spirit of a young girl now dead can filter down through the years and inspire a group of theatrical professionals in a foreign land." The New York Herald-Tribune raved, "The precise quality of the new play... is the quality of glowing, ineradicable life — life in its warmth, its wonder, its spasms of anguish and its wild and flaring humor.... Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett have fashioned a wonderfully sensitive and theatrically craftsmanlike narrative out of the real-life legacy left us by a spirited and straightforward Jewish girl... as bright and shining as a banner."

North Carolina Theatre producer and interim executive director William Jones owns William Jones Productions and Broadway Dance Studio. Classic Productions for Students says, "Since the fall of 1996, over 450,000 [primary and secondary school] children have enjoyed the performances of William Jones Productions."

Serena Ebhardt says, "Anne Frank is a classic. But directing it at a time when 'war' is talked about on the news every evening makes the experience more tangible. This production is about a child who is in hiding during World War II. It will be performed for children who are living through the Iraq conflict. Anne Frank's Hitler could easily be our children's Saddam Hussein. I hope the audiences will recognize and learn from the parallels."

For more information, visit http://www.classicproductions.org/diary_htm.htm (inactive 5/03).