It is easy to stay a step removed from the magnitude of the horror of the Holocaust by falling back on the anonymity of statistics. But it is by telling their stories that we reconnect to the humanity of those who experienced it.
It is that humanity the Arvada Center aims to celebrate with its first production of 2019 — “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
“This is a story about people living in a crazy situation and the humanity they held on to,” said Darrow Klein, who plays Anne in the production. “It’s a show people will go home and keep thinking about.”
“The Diary of Anne Frank” runs at the Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., through May 17. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays, 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Based on Wendy Kesselman’s 1997 adaptation of the 1955 Hollywood script, the show details 13-year-old Anne’s experiences hiding from the Nazis for two years in an attic with her family in occupied Amsterdam. All of which she wrote about in her diary, which is one of the most important documents in human history.
“People shouldn’t come expecting it to be a lecture or all about the message. What’s important is that these people could be any of us,” said Larry Cahn, who plays Anne’s father, Otto Frank. “There’s a universality to this story and it’s an honor to play these people. It’s one I want to get exactly right.”
The actors and crew did research through books and documentaries and even spoke to a survivor, all to understand the times and people in the story. But all the preparation and rehearsals left out one crucial element — the audience.
“The show is an immersive experience that you get to share with other people,” said Emily Paton Davies, who plays Anne’s mother, Edith Frank. “With the stage set up, the audience is right there — you can actually see each other’s reactions to what’s happening. Which helps to foster the positive human connection this show is really about.”
This story is the kind that demands thought and conversation. As such, there will be numerous performances with pre-show chats or post-show talk backs with members of the casts. There will also be many student matinees so the next generation can learn the Frank story.
“I’m trying to bring to the stage some of Anne’s personality and how much of a light she was,” Klein said. “I can’t imagine missing an opportunity to connect to history like this.”
For more information and tickets, call 720-898-7200 or visit www.arvadacenter.org/the-diary-of-anne-frank.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Anderson .Paak at the Fillmore Auditorium
You ever hear a musician for the first time and know that you’re hearing someone who is going to be a big deal? That’s how I felt when I first heard Anderson .Paak in 2015, and in the ensuing few years the world has caught up to what a rare talent he is.
As a musician and producer, .Paak blends West Coast hip-hop with classic soul and funk sounds. His music is a groovy ray of light that is practically scientifically designed to be played in a car with the windows down. He is so good at what he does genuine masters like Nile Rodgers, Dr. Dre and Kendrick Lamar are among his biggest fans.
In support of last year’s “Oxnard,” his third solo album, .Paak will be performing at the Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 N. Clarkson St., at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
For tickets to what is sure to be a needed dose of summertime in winter, visit www.livenation.com.
They’re here ... at the Sie FilmCenter
As any horror film fan can attest to, director Tobe Hooper has hits. He changed the game in 1974 with his most well-known work, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” but continued churning out entertaining genre flicks.
Hooper’s films have been honored as part of the Denver Film Society’s Scream Screen series, under the colorful title of “Welcome to The Funhouse: A Birthday Slash-ebration of Tobe Hooper.” And on Friday, Feb. 15, the society will be screening 1982’s “Poltergeist” at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 E. Colfax Ave.
Based on a story and script by Steven Spielberg (as well as Michael Grais and Mark Victor), Hooper made a classic full of iconic scenes and plot twists that still can be felt in modern films.
Get your tickets for the screening, hosted by Theresa Mercado, at www.denverfilm.org.
A Parson family reunion to celebrate Lakewood arts
If you pay attention to the metro area arts scene, then you’re bound to have encountered the name Parson a time or two. Charles, Collin and Devon Parson are all members of a Lakewood-based family that has made major artistic contributions to Denver’s art world.
In celebration of the family, and as part of Lakewood’s 50th anniversary exhibition series, the city presents “Three Views: Contemporary work by two generations of Lakewood artists with Charles Parson, Collin Parson and Devon Parson.” The exhibit is on display at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, and Civic Center, 480 S. Allison Parkway through March 28.
The exhibition examines the similarities and differences between the family members and artists, who have lived in the city since 1987.
There will be a free artist talk on 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. For more information, call 303-987-7844 or visit Lakewood.org/Exhibitions.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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