22 Aug 1997
George Hearn, Sophie Hayden, Austin Pendleton and Harris Yulin have joined the previously announced Linda Lavin and Natalie Portman in the upcoming Broadway revival of The Diary of Anne Frank.
James Lapine (Sunday in the Park With George, Into the Woods) will direct the 1955 drama about a Dutch Jewish teenager hiding with her family from the Nazis during World War II. Portman will star in the title role.
The show is scheduled to start previews in a yet-unspecified Shubert Organization theatre Nov. 21 and open Dec. 4. Before Broadway, the production is scheduled to try out in October at Boston, MA's Colonial Theatre, Oct. 28-Nov. 16.
Hearn (La Cage Aux Folles), a two-time Tony winner , will play Anne's father, Otto Frank. Hayden (Tony nominee for The Most Happy Fella) plays Mrs. Frank. Pendleton (Fiddler on the Roof) will play Mr. Dussel; Yulin (The Visit) will play Mr. Van Daan.
The revival will use a revised script that "includes more frank material than the original, such as the young girl's sexual awakening," Variety reported. According to the Publicity Office, playwright Wendy Kesselman will adapt the Albert Hackett/Frances Goodrich drama with passages from the 1995 Doubleday volume, "The Diary Of A Young Girl: The Definitive Edition," which contains 30 percent more material than was originally published.
Portman pulled out of a Robert Redford film in order to star in the revival. She appeared in the recent films Mars Attacks! and Woody Allen's Everybody Says I Love You but withdrew from The Horse Whisperer, directed by Redford, in order to do the revival.
Portman, who had appeared previously in 1994's The Professional and 1996's Beautiful Girls, will be directed by longtime Sondheim collaborator Lapine (Sunday In The Park With George). Producers David Stone and Amy Nederlander-Case reportedly "expect to pair a top actor with Portman" in the role of her father, Otto Frank, but gave no name.
Lavin starred Off-Broadway in Cakewalk but is best known for starring in the TV sitcom, "Alice." Fifteen-year-old actress Natalie Frank, who died in a concentration camp after her family was discovered, lived on in her diaries, which were found by the family that hid her. Portman reportedly regards Frank as a personal hero.
Designers for the show include costumer Martin Pakledinaz (The Life), set designer Adrienne Lobel (Passion), lighting designer Brian MacDevitt (Master Class), and sound designer Dan Moses Schreier (Noise/Funk).
-- By Robert Viagas