New ‘Diary Of Anne Frank’ Stage Production Inspired By Real-Life Immigration Narrative

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Director Stan Zimmerman is helming a unique take on Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett’s play The Diary of Anne Frank. The play, which will have a limited three-week run at the Dorie Theatre in Los Angeles starting Sept. 6, will follow the 1997 Wendy Kesselman revival but will incorporate a timely immigration narrative.

Zimmerman’s staging was inspired by the true story of a Jewish woman in Los Angeles who created a “Safe House” for a Latina mother and her two daughters after her husband was deported by ICE.

“This made me think, what would happen if this Jewish woman handed out the play to families that she’s hiding and they all begin to read it aloud?” said Zimmerman. “Couldn’t the story of Anne Frank be extremely important today since a recent New York Times survey found the memory of the Holocaust is fading?”

The new production from  Pop-Up Playhouse and Anne Kathryn Parma will not rewrite any of the words or characters of the original play. It will incorporate the aforementioned real-life immigration story into the play. The original follows the titular Anne Frank as she chronicles her Jewish family hiding during the WWII Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

Zimmerman is a former writer from the original Roseanne run — not the revival because that would be a little awkward considering Roseanne Barr’s recent controversies. Nonetheless, the cast includes Genesis Ochoa as the titular Anne Frank as well as  Keith Coogan (Adventures in Babysitting), Tasha Dixon (Miss Arizona USA), David Gurrola (Insecure), Heather Olt (The Middle), Raquenel (My Life is a Telenovela), Robert C. Raicch (Are We There Yet?), Teddi Shaffer (The Open Book), Raymond Abel Tomas, and Emiliano Torres (Shooter).

The original play was based on Anne Frank’s book The Diary of a Young Girl and premiered in 1955. It was later adapted into a film in 1959 which earned Shelley Winters an Academy Award. The play was then revived in 1997 with a new adaptation by Kesselman. It went on to receive two Tony Award nominations for Best Revival of a Play and for Best featured actress for Linda Lavin.

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