The ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ will be performed on stage in central Jersey

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Mercer County Community College’s Academic Theater and Dance Company will perform “The Diary of Anne Frank” April 22-24 at the Kelsey Theater on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

A special performance at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 23 will benefit the Mercer County Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Center.

“The Diary of Anne Frank” is the true story of two families forced to hide from the world in an attic as the horrors of war rage around them. Wendy Kesselman’s new adaptation of Goodrich and Hackett’s original play blends stories from survivors with newly discovered writings from Anne Frank’s diary.

“Even after 75 years, the story of Anne Frank still resonates and has so much to teach us all,” said Jody Gazenbeek-Person, theater program coordinator. “This production, with a beautiful and amazing multiracial and diverse cast, shows how we can truly live together to create a better world. That’s the whole idea behind the production – to band together and do something beautiful.

Stage manager Bria Jayden Moscetti, a second-year music technology student at MCCC, commented, “Our production of the Anne Frank story provides a refreshing yet very real message that we are all human.

Kyle Bethea, a sophomore at MCCC who recently researched the parallels between African Americans and people of Jewish descent, was assigned to do research for the show’s casting.

“Although the play is about the Holocaust and the uprising of Hitler and the Nazis, the Academic Theater and Dance Company felt it was important to have diverse minorities . . . cast to add more diversity and d inclusion,” Bethea said. “So we added a little twist and we have a Latina playing Anne Frank, a Haitian man playing Mr. Dussel and an African American playing Mr. Kraler. Asian American and I play Peter Van Daan.

The show is directed by LouJ Stalsworth and produced by Jody Gazenbeek-Person.

The cast includes Lawrenceville’s Sofia Ines Garcia as Anne Frank; Hamilton’s Shawn Simmons as Mr. Otto Frank; Chloe Asack of Lawrenceville as Mrs. Edith Frank; Lisbeth Burgos of Lawrence Township as Margot Frank; Trenton’s Kyle Bethea as Peter Van Daan; Hamilton’s Cole Chulamanis as Mr. Van Daan; Madeline Fox of Lawrenceville as Mrs. Van Daan; Jackson Jules of Trenton as Mr. Dussel; Hamilton’s Mackenzie Kohlmayer as Meip Gies; and Jabre Miner of Trenton as Mr. Kraler.

The team includes stage manager Moscetti, who also serves as sound designer; set/costume designer Kate Pinner; set builder John Maurer; historical and cultural coach Shelley Gail Weiss Lightman; lighting designer Kitty Getlik; lighting designer Eric Colins; assistant stage manager Matthew Ryan Glasberg; voice actors Rupert Hinton and Antón Gazenbeek; and props artist Madelyn Lichtman.

Performances will be Friday, April 22 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 24 at 2 p.m., as well as a special performance to benefit the County of Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Center. Mercer at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 23.

Tickets are $20, $18 for children, students and seniors. Admission to Saturday Benefits ranges from $25 to $102.

Tickets can be purchased online at kelseytheatre.org or by calling the box office at 609-570-3333. Tickets can also be ordered directly at ci.ovationtix.com/35232.

Masks are recommended but not required.

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