Anne Frank’s Voice Shines Through at Mainstage Center for the Arts

by Patricia Bradford

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK has enlightened and educated millions throughout the world for nearly 70 years. Today, Anne’s words continue to deliver an important message against hatred. Mainstage Center for the Arts is proud to bring these words to life Wendy Kesselman’s adaptation of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, February 10- -18, 2017, Dennis Flyer Theatre, Camden County College, Blackwood. It is sponsored by Royal Bank America and Meadows Diner.

This adaptation is an expansion of the original by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. It includes previously deleted writings from Anne Frank’s diary, as well as survivor accounts, which are interwoven to create a contemporary, impassioned story of the lives of people persecuted under Nazi rule. Kessleman received a 1997 Tony nomination for her work and stated that her goal in reworking the play was “to make (Anne’s) words shine.”

Perry Award-winning director Chris Melohn directs this production. His previous work with Mainstage includes directing the Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Romeo & Juliet, The Miracle Worker, and To Kill a Mocking Bird. Melohn believes that The Diary of Anne Frank continues to be important for audiences of today.

“It seems as if many parts of the world have still not learned from the horrors and inhumanity of the Holocaust. For example, Otto Frank desperately tried to get his family out of Europe, writing letters requesting help to secure Visas that would enable the family to immigrate to the United States. And here we are now with Syria; families risking everything to escape crossing the Mediterranean Sea on lifeboats while many countries debate the amount of refugees they’ll accept. This makes it even more important for new generations to learn from Anne’s message and teachings. The play shows audiences that victims of war are real people. Hers is a story that remains relevant in 2017.”

The cast of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK is comprised of actors from South Jersey and Pennsylvania Anastasia Korbal of Cinnaminson portrays Anne Frank, the lively, witty girl who documents her thoughts and experiences during two years in hiding from the Nazis. Korbal has toured on several national tours including Les Miserables, Annie, and Little House on the Prairie. In February 2012, she portrayed Helen Keller in Mainstage Center for the Arts’ production of The Miracle Worker. Korbal previously portrayed Anne Frank in the Media Theatre’s 2014 production.

“I feel so privileged to be able to play this role for a second time; it means the world to me. Having the opportunity to bring Anne Frank and her story to life again is so important, and I am lucky to be able to do so…Her story has already touched many generations, and I’m excited to help keep it alive. We can learn so much from her story and apply it to many issues in the world today,” said Korbal.

Living with Anne in the hideaway are her father, Otto Frank (Peter Zielinski of Mt. Laurel, NJ); mother, Edith Frank (Casey Williams-Ficarra of Philadelphia); sister, Margot (Taylor Ressler of Philadelphia); Mr. Dussel (Newton Buchanan of Philadelphia); the Van Daan family, which includes Mr. Van Daan (Brock Vickers of Philadelphia), Mrs. Van Daan (Sarah J. Gafgen of Philadelphia), and their son, Peter (Alan Krier of Maple Shade), a quiet teenager whom eventually befriends and becomes close to Anne.

Those in hiding are only able to survive with the help of trusted confidants including Miep Gies (Meredith Beck of Philadelphia).

To experience the timeless relevance of Anne Frank’s words, attend Mainstage Center for the Arts’ production of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, February 10, 11, 12, 17, and 18, in the Dennis Flyer Theatre, 200 College Drive, Camden County College, Blackwood, NJ. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday performance begin at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $13 for seniors/students and $16 or $21 for adults. Group rates are also available. To order tickets, visit, or call 855-936-2467, ext 3. Mainstage season is sponsored by Comegno Law Group and Horizon Foundation for NJ.

Theater/Organization Mainstage Center for the Arts
Theater/Organization Website:

Theater/Organization Address: 200 College Drive. Blackwood, New Jersey 08012 (Map It)
Theater/Organization Phone: (855) 936-2467

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