The Mercer County Community College (MCCC) Academic Theatre and Dance Company presents “The Diary of Anne Frank” April 22 through April 24 at the Kelsey Theatre located on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. A special performance will take place Saturday, April 23 at 8:30 p.m. to benefit the Mercer County Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Center.
“The Diary of Anne Frank” is a true story of two families forced to hide from the world in an attic while the horrors of war rage around them. This transcendently powerful new adaptation by Wendy Kesselman of the original stage play by Goodrich and Hackett interweaves survivor accounts and newly discovered writings from the diary of Anne Frank to create an impassioned contemporary story of those persecuted under Nazi rule.
Producer and MCCC Theatre Program Coordinator Professor Jody Gazenbeek-Person described the significance of the Anne Frank story.
“Even after 75 years the Anne Frank story still resonates and has so much to teach us all,” he said. “This production, with a beautiful and amazing multi-racial and diverse cast, shows how we can actually live together to create a better world. That is the whole idea behind the production — to band together and make something beautiful.”
Stage Manager Bria Jayden Moscetti, an MCCC second-year music technology student commented, “Our production of the Anne Frank story provides a refreshing but very real message that we are all human.”
Kyle Bethea, a second-year student at MCCC who recently did research on the parallels of African Americans and people of Jewish descent was tasked with doing research for the casting of the show.
“Although the play is about the Holocaust and the uprising of Hitler and the Nazis, the Academic Theatre and Dance Company felt it was important to have various minorities in the Diary of Anne Frank cast to add more diversity and inclusion,” Bethea said. “So we added a little twist and we have a Latina playing Anne Frank, a Haitian male playing Mr. Dussel, and an African American playing Mr. Kraler. I identify as an African-Asian American and am playing the role of Peter Van Daan.”
The show is directed by LouJ Stalsworth and produced by Jody Gazenbeek-Person.
The cast features Sofia Ines Garcia of Lawrenceville as Anne Frank; Shawn Simmons of Hamilton as Mr. Otto Frank; Chloe Asack of Lawrenceville as Mrs. Edith Frank;Lisbeth Burgos of Lawrence Township as Margot Frank; Kyle Bethea of Trenton as Peter Van Daan; Cole Chulamanis of Hamilton as Mr. Van Daan; Madeline Fox of Lawrenceville as Mrs. Van Daan; Jackson Jules of Trenton as Mr. Dussel; Mackenzie Kohlmayer of Hamilton as Meip Gies; and Jabre Miner of Trenton as Mr. Kraler.
The crew includes Stage Manager, Bria Moscetti; Set/Costume Designer: Kate Pinner; Set Builder: John Maurer; Historical and Cultural Coach: Shelley Gail Weiss Lightman; Sound Designer: Bria Moscetti; Lighting Designer: Kitty Getlik; Lighting Technician: Eric Colins; Assistant Stage Manager: Matthew Ryan Glasberg; Voice Actors: Rupert Hinton and Antón Gazenbeek and Props Person: Madelyn Lichtman.
“The Diary of Anne Frank is an adaptation for a new generation able to confront the true horrors of the Holocaust,” remarked Gazenbeek-Person. “It shouldn’t be missed.”
Friday, April 22 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 23, 8:30 p.m. (Gala Fundraiser and Performance Benefits the Mercer County Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Center)
Sunday, April 24 at 2 p.m.