Playing Anne Frank

By The Forward

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Category: Performing Arts

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Using archival material and interviews with surviving cast and crew members, Forward executive editor Adam Langer presents a story that’s never been told: the backstory of "The Diary of Anne Frank," the Pulitzer Prize-winning play and Oscar-winning film, and how this iconic work shapes those involved in performing it — including high school students putting the show on today. The Diary of Anne Frank, which debuted on Broadway in 1955 and then later toured the country, was one of the most influential plays of the 20th century, and a life-changing experience for many of those who saw it. It introduced millions of Americans to the Holocaust and its victims. But what did reenacting Anne’s story mean to the people who created and acted in the play or the 1959 film? How did dramatizing her life affect their lives and careers? Who were they? In seven episodes, “Playing Anne Frank” weaves together stories of art and culture and, ultimately, deep humanity. Produced by Cole Locascio, and featuring original music by Emmy award-winning composer Sila Shaman, performed by Shaman and Grammy-nominated musician Anat Cohen. Some episodes contain mild language and discussion of adult themes.

Episode Date
Episode 3: Moving On
For many actors who appeared in "The Diary of Anne Frank," the show proved to be a pinnacle they would never again attain. We talk to six actors who left theater and film after Anne Frank and went on to lead very different lives. Some went on to become world-famous photographers, television directors, and some never spoke about their role in the play at all. Featuring interviews with Leonora Rogers Schildkraut, Peter Dan Levin, Arnold Margolin, Hale Gabrielson, Renee Pessin and Eva Rubinstein.
Jan 31, 2023
Episode 1: The Drama Behind the Drama
In the first episode of "Playing Anne Frank," discover how "The Diary of Anne Frank" became one of the most iconic plays and movies of the 20th Century. Hear how the diary was written; how Otto Frank found a publisher for it; how it was adapted by Meyer Levin — first as a radio play then as a stage play, then how he got fired from the job and replaced by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett (enough drama for a whole podcast series, let alone an episode); and finally, how the show was cast and staged for Broadway.
Jan 24, 2023
Episode 2: Their Own Secret Annex
The original Broadway production of "The Diary of Anne Frank" told the story of two families hiding out from the Nazis. In the second episode of "Playing Anne Frank," hear three stories about how the show itself became a refuge from persecution in Russia, Nazi-occupied Europe and McCarthy-era America for its crew and actors. Featuring interviews with Marc Aronson, whose parents, Boris Aronson and Lisa Jalowetz, designed the set; Joe Gilford, whose father played Mr. Dussel on Broadway; and Eva Rubinstein, who originated the role of Margot Frank on Broadway.
Jan 24, 2023
TRAILER: Playing Anne Frank
Coming Jan. 24. Listen to the trailer for "Playing Anne Frank," a seven-episode series from the Forward about one of America's most iconic cultural works, "The Diary of Anne Frank," and how it shapes all those involved in it. From the original Broadway show, which debuted in 1955 and won Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize; to the Oscar-winning 1959 film; to high school students putting it on today, journalist and novelist Adam Langer takes you deep into the cultural history of the play that introduced millions to the Holocaust. Subscribe to "Playing Anne Frank" wherever you get your podcasts.
Jan 10, 2023