Anne Frank, the musical


It’s true: A musical version of

The Diary of Anne Frank
will hit the

in Madrid

next month. And that is a first. Although the story of the

Jewish girl who hid with her family from the Nazi occupation in Amsterdam

has been depicted in theater and in film, it’s never been told in song.

I’ll give them one thing:

Isabella Castillo, the 13-year-old Cuban-born girl who will play

Anne Frank, is absolutely adorable. And she has spoken of the moving

experience of visiting Anne Frank’s house and the Anne Frank Foundation.

Here she is in front of the Anne Frank tree.

And it is impressive that the

musical’s producers even have the blessings of The Anne Frank Foundation.

Those are the same people who once rejected Steven Spielberg.

So I’ve been trying to convince

myself that this musical isn’t a horrendous idea. It’s a little

difficult, because I grew up on the film adaptations of Rodgers and Hammerstein

(and occasionally Gilbert and Sullivan) musicals. The Sound

of Music
and just about anything starring Julie Andrews were probably

the most frequently played in my house, resulting in arguably poor taste

in musical theater but also a lifelong crush on Julie Andrews.

Though, come to think of it, Victor/Victoria was conspicuously

abesnt from the family collection.

It’s possible this has warped my perspective

a touch. Even if I can buy a story line about murderous convicts in a social satire like Chicago, I can also sympathize

with my mother, who was a little appalled by numbers like "Cell

Block Tango.” It’s just not “My Favorite Things.”

Then again, I’m waiting impatiently

to see Sweeney Todd, which will be released in Australia next week.

And yes, I do know that razor is not just for shaving.

But somehow, a musical about a little

girl who lives a lonely and isolated life, only to end up dying in a

concentration camp, seems an even worse idea than “Springtime for


I think it’s because her story is a true one. Imagine her diary

entries and internal monologues reduced to a soundtrack. But at

the same time, hers is a story worth telling. And the Anne Frank

Foundation promises, "This production respects the message of tolerance,

within the tragedy, that we want to keep alive.” Fair enough.

I’ll be interested to hear the reviews for this one.

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