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Playing Anne Frank
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Playing Anne Frank

Author: The Forward

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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.
12 Episodes
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.
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.
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.
Episode 3: Moving On

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.
After "The Diary of Anne Frank" closed on Broadway, the show toured in over 100 U.S. cities, where many audience members encountered stories of Jews and the Holocaust for the first time. We talk to two of the actors from that tour — Pauline Hahn and Steve Press — who read scenes together for the first time in more than 60 years.
Hear how "The Diary of Anne Frank" became an Oscar-winning movie and how that movie changed the lives of its stars, Millie Perkins and Diane Baker, and its assistant director George Stevens Jr., whose father, George Stevens Sr., directed the film. Featuring interviews with Millie Perkins, Diane Baker, and George Stevens Jr.
After Anne Frank toured America, Otto Frank approved a musical version of "The Diary of Anne Frank." Fifty years after this version was first conceived, it still hasn’t made its Broadway debut. We talk with that show’s creators, composer Michael Cohen and librettist Enid Futterman, about how that happened.
Nearly 70 years after Anne Frank debuted on Broadway, it remains one of the best-known and most-performed plays. In the series finale of "Playing Anne Frank," we talk to four teen actors who talk about the impact the show has had on them. Features interviews with Avery Columbus, Simone Jolly, Reagan Mulvey and Mia Patronas. From me, Adam Langer, and all of us at the Forward: Thank you for listening.
BONUS: The Trunk

BONUS: The Trunk


The daughter and granddaughter of one of the stars of "The Diary of Anne Frank" recall a keepsake from that show — and what it has meant to them over the years.
The true story of the one feline member of the original Broadway cast of "The Diary of Anne Frank" — and what became of the animal after the show was done.
An interview with Emmy Award-winning composer Sila Shaman about artistic inspiration, influences, jazz improvisation and how to score a podcast like a movie. Sila, originally from Turkey, composed the original score for "Playing Anne Frank."
If you enjoyed Playing Anne Frank, you might enjoy this podcast from Play On Podcasts: The Winter's Tale. Play On Podcasts features epic audio adventures reimagining Shakespeare's timeless tales, featuring original music composition and the voices of extraordinarily gifted artists. This preview features the first episode of their series, The Winter's Tale. It searingly portrays the trauma that jealousy and paranoia can wreak on a family while celebrating the healing magic of time, laughter, faith, and forgiveness. Hear more about the Play On Shakespeare Podcast series by subscribing to Play on Premium at, where you'll find interviews with the artists, producers and engineers who brought it all to life. Play On Podcasts are epic audio adventures reimagining Shakespeare's timeless tales. It's where Theatre meets Podcast, combining the modern-day audio phenomenon with the power of live performance. Featuring original music composition and the voices of award-winning actors, episodes explore plays from Macbeth to A Midsummer Night's Dream in a way that you can actually understand them, created specifically for the podcast form by some of America's most exciting playwrights, directors, and composers, and performed by the stage and screen's best. Find Play On! wherever you listen to podcasts to tune into their latest series, The Tempest.
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