LA theater reimagines Anne Frank with immigration twist

Director defends play: ‘Please take a breath and see it before you judge it’

By
August 5, 2018 17:53
1 minute read.
Poster for the play

Poster for the play. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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When a Los Angeles theater brings The Diary of Anne Frank to the stage next month, the famous story will be told through a very current lens.

The Dorie Theater at the Complex in LA is staging a version of the famed play with a “predominantly Latino cast” and a modern-day twist. The play, still titled The Diary of Anne Frank, is slated to premiere September 6 at the theater in downtown Los Angeles, produced by the Pop-Up Playhouse.

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According to the production, “The unique staging was inspired by the true story of a Jewish woman in LA who created a safe house for a Latina mom and her daughters when her husband was suddenly deported.”

The script for the new show was adapted by playwright Wendy Kesselman. In 1997, Kesselman wrote an adaptation, with Natalie Portman in the title role, of the original play that premiered on Broadway in 1955.


This new adaptation is being directed by Stan Zimmerman, who has written for many TV shows, including The Golden Girls, Gilmore Girls and Roseanne.

After several critical media reports about the upcoming play, Zimmerman took to social media to defend and clarify the production.
“Contrary to Breitbart and the Drudge Report, I am NOT changing the Nazis to ICE,” he wrote on Facebook on Saturday. “As I’ve stated, I was inspired after hearing about a Jewish woman in LA who created a safe house for a Latina mom and her daughter when her husband was deported,” Zimmerman wrote. “I thought, what if this Jewish woman gave the script of Diary of Anne Frank to the family and they started reading it out loud? So please take a breath and see it before you judge it. This is coming from a place of love and honor and compassion.”

Neither the Anne Frank Foundation nor the Anne Frank House responded to requests for comment by press time.

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