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News Release

The Diary of Anne Frank
September 2007

First Class Theatre

The Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre
& BMO Bank of Montreal

The Diary of Anne Frank
By Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
Adapted by Wendy Kesselman

Directed by Marcia Kash
October 14 November 4, 2007

"I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart." - Anne Frank

MONTREAL September 2007 - The Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre is excited to open the 2007-08 theatre season with this universal and important work This powerful new adaptation for a new generation offers a more gritty and authentic portrayal than the more sanitized 1955 original.

The Diary of Anne Frank is the impassioned drama of the legendary journals of a Jewish girl hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. The Frank family, along with family friends the Van Daans and local dentist Mr. Dussel, is forced to spend 25 months in the confines of a concealed storage attic in the annex of rooms above Otto Frank’s office. After being betrayed to the Nazis, all were arrested and deported to concentration camps. Anne Frank died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen. She was 15 years old. However, knowing the tragic ending does not detract from experiencing the hope within these people as they struggle to overcome their situation and try to prevent the tensions of the outside world from affecting their present one.

Anne Frank’s writing displays wisdom far beyond her years and she emerges from history a living, emotional, intensely gifted young girl. She confronts her rapidly changing life and the increasing horror of her time with astonishing honesty, wit and determination. First published 60 years ago, the diary has newfound social resonance. Director Marcia Kash comments on confronting our present catastrophes. “Unfortunately, we live in a world in which we still battle racism, prejudice, hate, corruption, greed and the abuse of power. Despite pledging to learn from history, we haven’t.” She continues, “The world still turns away at critical times. We need only look at Rwanda, at Darfur, at North Korea.” The play forces people to understand that these tragedies were not just about numbers, but about real people.

The Diary of Anne Frank communicates other timeless relevancies that are brought to the fore because of extenuating conditions. The play captures the claustrophobic realities of a family’s daily existence- their fear, their hope, their laughter, their grief. We witness Anne’s sexual discovery, familial tensions and all the issues of a normal teenager growing up. Everyone can identify with someone in this play and imagine themself in a similar circumstance.

Anne Frank’s diary, saved during the war by a family friend, has now been translated into 67 languages and is one of the most widely read books in the world.

Ms Kash is a respected director with credits on both sides of the country. Her work was last seen at The Segal as director of Tuesdays with Morrie. She is also an actor and internationally produced playwright (Who’s Under Where written with Doug Hughes). The Frank family is made up of recent National Theatre School graduate Natasha Greenblatt (Anne), a role she has dreamt of playing since she read the book when she was eleven; Sally Singal (Edith), who has performed extensively across Canada, including originating the role of Zhaboonigan Peterson in Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters and three seasons at the Stratford Festival; Nicholas Rice (reprising his role of Otto, Manitoba Theatre Centre), seen locally in Jerusalem the Musical, Waiting for Godot and Oliver!, as well as in most major theatres across the country; and Susanna Fournier (Margot), a recent graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada who has been acting and writing theatre for the past ten years. The others in hiding include Montreal favourites Felicia Shulman as Mrs. Van Daan, James Downing as Mr. Van Daan, Gianpaolo Venuta as Peter Van Daan and Brian Wrench as Mr. Dussel. The Christian helpers are played by Tara Nicodemo as Miep Gies and Marcel Jeannin as Mr. Kraler. Also with Ivan Peric and Alexander Gorchkov.

The masterful design team recreating history includes the always imaginative John C. Dinning (set and props); creative first-time Segal costume designer Elli Bunton; award-winning lighting designer, Luc Prairie; and sound design by John Bent Jr. and Kevin Tighe. The stage manager is Luciana Burcheri.

Three thousand non-Jewish students have already booked to see this production.
“For younger audiences, this might be their first exposure to the Holocaust, and it could be a life-altering experience for them. I hope that it will awaken their compassion and curiosity to the subject, and that they will never forget it. I hope they will vow to make a difference in the world, that they will forever be on the lookout in themselves and in the world for feelings of prejudice and work tirelessly to eradicate them.”
- Director Marcia Kash on the value of students seeing the production

88.5 CBC Radio One proudly presents Sunday-@-the-Segal with Yehudi Lindeman
Sunday, October 14th, 11am. Admission is free.
Join us for another season of intimate conversation and riveting lectures. With Yehudi Lindeman, Director of Living Testimonies, a centre for Holocaust research and documentation in Montreal. His most recent book is Shards of Memory: Narratives of Holocaust Survival (2007).

Monday Night Talkbacks presented by Pratt and Whitney Canada
As usual following the play, some of the actors and/or designers will remain on stage to take questions from the audience. Monday Night Talkbacks provides an intimate opportunity for audiences to engage up close and personal with the personalities bringing first class professional English language theatre to Montreal.


October 14 1:30 pm
October 15, 16, 17 8:00 pm

October 14 11:00 am

Opening Night:
Thursday, October 18 8:00 pm

October 14 – November 4

Monday - Thursday, 8:00 pm
Saturday 8:30 pm
Sunday 7:00 pm

Wednesdays 1:00 pm
Sundays 2:00 pm

Box Office:
(514) 739-7944

(514) 790-1245

Segal Centre for Performing Arts at the Saidye
5170 Cote St. Catherine Rd.

Marcia Kash - Director
Marcia began her career as an actor at the Royal Court Theatre in London, England and went on to play leading roles in the U.K., Canada and the U.S. She is also an internationally produced playwright with ten shows to her credit. Favourite directing gigs include: Charley’s Aunt, Blithe Spirit for ATF; Rumors, Annie, The Sound of Music, The Price for Neptune Theatre; Popcorn, Zadie’s Shoes for ATP; The Diary of Anne Frank, Humble Boy for MTC. Recent directing projects include White Christmas for Neptune, and The Syringa Tree at MTC. She is happy to be back at the Segal, where she last directed the highly successful Tuesdays with Morrie.

Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett - Playwrights
Frances Goodrich was born in 1890 in Belleville, New Jersey. After graduating from Vassar College in 1912, she made her stage-acting debut in 1913. Albert Hackett was the son of stage actress Frances Hackett and brother of silent screen actor Raymond Hackett. He attended the Professional Children's School in his native NYC and began in show business as a child actor playing a little girl in Lottie, the Poor Saleslady (1906). Though his brother's acting career was in full swing during the 20s, Hackett's began to sputter, and by 1930 he had made his final film, Whoopee! He and Frances met in the late 20s and were wed in 1931, writing their first screenplay, Penthouse in 1933, demonstrating a unique ability to mix comedy and melodrama. The duo was among Hollywood's lesser-known writing teams, contracted to MGM when American film production was at its peak. They are responsible for such standard favourites as The Secret of Madame Blanche (1933), the first two Thin Man movies (for which they received Oscar nominations in the mid-30s), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) and Five Finger Exercise (1962), collaborating with icons of the day including Frank Capra and Vincente Minnelli. Goodrich and Hackett's films exemplify the professionalism and popular appeal that were the hallmarks of Hollywood screenwriting at its best. Their working union was so organic that Goodrich once said, "Each of us writes the same scene.” In 1956, they won two Tony Awards for The Diary of Anne Frank: as Best Authors (Dramatic) and for their script as part of the Best Play win.