Aurora theatre stages 'Diary of Anne Frank' (VIDEO)

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"The Diary of Anne Frank," the award-winning, inspiring play about a young girl and her family who hide from the Nazis during World War II, opens at 8 p.m. Jan. 31 for an eight-show run Fridays and Saturdays through Feb. 22 at Aurora Community Theatre, 115 E. Pioneer Trail.

ACT will present Wendy Kesselman's adaptation of the play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett (winner of the 1956 Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award, and Critics Circle Award). The play is based on Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, edited by Otto Frank. Kesselman's update interweaves recently discovered writings from Anne's original diary with survivor accounts to create a dramatic story in which Anne emerges from history as an intensely gifted young girl, who confronts her rapidly changing life and the increasing horror of her time with astonishing honesty, wit, and determination.

In July 1942, Anne and seven others took refuge in the secret annex above an Amsterdam business in order to avoid arrest and deportation by the occupying Nazis. Throughout her 25-month confinement, Anne kept a record of their daily life in the diary she received for her 13th birthday, later adding notebooks and loose-leaf paper. In August 1944, following an informant's tip, Nazis stormed the annex and arrested the hidden families, all of whom, except Anne's father, were later killed in concentration camps.

Roseann Canfora directs this play. Kiara Durbin takes on the challenging role of Anne Frank, with Jack Warren playing her father, Otto, Jennifer Warren her mother Edith, and Megan Lebowitz her sister Margot.

Joining the Frank family in hiding were the Van Daan family and others. Susan Henthorn will play Mrs. Van Daan, Bill Whitaker, Mr. Van Daan, Mitch Pollock, Peter Van Daan, and Kevin Horak, Mr. Dussel.

Two risk-taking friends, Miep Gies and Mr. Kraler, are played by Jennifer Smith and Gary Bakst, who surreptitiously provide food and supplies during two years of confinement in the attic. Suspense is heightened by possible discovery by Dan Hild and others.

Group discounts are available by calling the box office. Opening night tickets include a complimentary after-show gala and the opportunity to meet cast and crew.

Aurora Community Theatre is at 115 E. Pioneer Trail, near the intersection of Route 43 and 306, at the gazebo, in the center of Aurora.

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