With the instant success of the book, producers and theatrical agents were anxious to gain rights to produce a play or film based on Anne Frank’s diary. Meyer Levin, who had done so much to promote the book, wrote a play based on Anne’s diary and brought it to Otto Frank and Doubleday to produce. Through a series of complicated events, which are still in dispute, Levin was turned down. For decades, Levin continued to argue that his play, because it was less sanitized than the Broadway version and because it kept Anne’s Jewishness central to the story, was a more authentic adaptation of the diary. When Levin’s version of the script was rejected by several producers, it strengthened Otto Frank’s determination to accentuate the universal elements of Anne’s story. Since the original Diary of a Young Girl was first published, it has been surrounded by controversy. Otto Frank’s decision to stress the story’s optimism and its universality left many Jewish readers feeling cheated. This feeling grew with the diary’s theatrical adaptation. In addition to being non-Jews, Goodrich and Hackett, the husband and wife playwriting team assigned to dramatize Anne’s story, were the screenwriters of popular Hollywood fare like The Thin Man and It’s a Wonderful Life. Goodrich and Hackett worked with playwright Lillian Hellman, Garson Kanin (the production’s director), and Otto Frank on their adaptation. Among other changes, their play removed many details about the Frank family’s Jewishness. “The fact that in this play the symbols of persecution are Jews is incidental,” said Garson Kanin. Otto Frank himself was quoted as saying, “It is not a Jewish book. So do not make a Jewish play out of it.” Though their first drafts emphasized the mischievous side of Anne’s personality, the final version emphasized her optimism and idealism.
-The Park Square Theater Diary of Anne Frank Study Guide by Matt Sciple
One of the most unique aspects of the musical Ragtime is its rich interweaving of real historical figures from the turn of the century with its fictional protagonists. Over the next few weeks, we will be posting biographies of various historical figures such as:
all of whom appear as as characters in Ragtime. Check back with us to soon to find out more about these fascinating people.
“I believe in collective guilt, and Oklahoma is a more focused example of what our country is founded on – manifest destiny and all that.” -Tracy Letts
At the opening of August: Osage County, Johnna Monevata - a Cheyenne Indian - is hired as a housekeeper by the Weston family.
This is not remarkable, since Oklahoma has the second highest Native American population of any state. One could easily take her ethnicity as coincidence. But one could also take her relationship with the Weston family as a metaphor for the relationship between Native Americans and White Americans in what was once called “Indian Territory”.
by Pat McCune, Penny Schreiber and Joan Lowenstein
“They were the brave people…I myself am just an ordinary woman. I simply had no choice.”
While millions of people all over the world know about Anne Frank, far fewer are aware of Miep Gies, the woman who sustained Frank and her family in hiding during World War II. The humanitarian actions of Gies more than fifty years ago in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam have had a special and enduring impact. Were it not for Miep Gies, the world would never have met Anne Frank.