The Diary Of Anne Frank

By Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett

Directed by Dustin Martin
March 13 to 29, 2015

Read the Reviews:
Waukesha Freeman, Lake Country Reporter

Click on a photo to see a larger image

Photos By Carroll Studios Of Photography

Volunteer of the Production

Kelly Vance

Sponsored In Part By

WCT projects are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin.


Paula Garcia

Mrs. Van Daan

Ralph Garcia

Mr. Van Daan

Andy Gratke

Mr. Kraler

Katie Katschke

Margot Frank

Katie Krueger


Tony Kolp

Peter Van Daan

Jim Mallmann

Mr. Dussel

Madison Penzkover

Anne Frank

Julie Rowley

Mrs. Frank

Kelly Vance

Mr. Frank

Production Staff 


Dustin Martin

Stage Manager

Katie Danner

Master Carpenter, Scenic Designer,
Set Decorator

Michael Talaska

Costume Designer

Dana Brzezinski

Properties Designer

Shawn Spellman

Lighting Designer

Scott Fudali

Sound Designer

Aaron Schmidt

Wig Master

Anthony Mackie

'Diary of Ann Frank' poses introspective questions

By JULIE McHALE - TimeOut Theater Critic
March 19, 2015

Imagine what it must have been like for a young girl of 13, teeming with energy and hopes, to be trapped in a very confined space with seven other people, four of whom she barely knew, for almost two years.

It is somewhat ironic that this perceptive little teen left her treasured diary behind when she was captured by the Nazis, the little book that provided for her an escape, some privacy and a testament of the kind of life many Jews experienced daily, living in fear and the hope of rescue and survival. It is ironic, too, that Mr. Frank, the only survivor of this band of eight, returned to the attic and found the book that Miep, one of their non-Jewish Samaritans, who earlier provided them with shelter and provisions, had the wisdom to save.

The set design (Michael Talaska) well captures the cramped conditions of their hideout. In an attic above a factory, they shared their lives, forced to silence from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and existing on meager provisions and using one toilet.

Though the story’s focal point is Anne, the other seven characters’ personalities are also revealed. We observe them but also hear them characterized in words from Anne’s diary.

Several scenes are particularly moving - the Hanakkuh celebration, the scene between Anne and her father, those between Anne and Peter, and the one when Mr. Frank returns to their former shelter. We can’t help wondering how we would react in a similar situation.

Standouts in a well-chosen cast are Kelly Vance as Mr. Frank, Julie Rowley as Mrs. Frank, and Madison Penzkover as Anne. The remaining cast includes Paula and Ralph Garcia as the Van Daans, Tony Kelp as Peter, Katie Katschke as Margot, Jim Mallmann as Mr. Dussel, Andy Gratke as Mr. Kraler, and Katie Krueger as Miep.

Directed by Dustin J. Martin, "The Diary of Anne Frank" runs through March 29 at the Waukesha Civic Theatre, 264 W. Main St. in Waukesha. Call 262-542-0708 or visit

Review Title

By Reviewer Name
Posted: Month 16, 2012

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WCT's 'Anne Frank' captures WWII family's story of hope

By Marilyn Jozwik
March 19, 2015

It is hard to imagine a 13-year-old girl confined to an attic for two years with seven other people — and the prospect of death camps hanging over her head — being cheery and optimistic. Yet, in "The Diary of Anne Frank," there is such sunshine.

But this is more than just the story of the Frank family and friends hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II as they round up Jews for deportation. It is the story of inherent hope that young people have, the story of how adults' true nature manifests during trying times, the story of how difficult growing up can be, even without the stresses of war.

For the role of Anne, a community theater group has to be spot-on with its selection in appearance, stage presence, and ability to convey a demeanor that is both childlike and on the cusp of womanhood. Waukesha Civic Theatre got it right when they chose Madison Penzkover. Your eyes gravitate to her even when she's not the central character in the scene, because she so completely inhabits her character.

The story opens with the Franks — Otto and Edith (Kelly Vance and Julie Rowley) and their children Margot (Katie Katschke) and Anne — and the Van Daans — Putti and Petronella (Ralph and Paula Garcia) and their son Peter (Tony Kolp) — getting settled in the attic of a business where Otto used to work, attempting to hide from the Nazis.

Later on a dentist named Dussel (Jim Mallmann) joins the families. The shop's owner, Mr. Kraler (Andy Gratke), and Miep (Katie Krueger) bring supplies to the families every evening, but during the day, when workers are in the shop, the inhabitants must stay quiet lest they give themselves away.

From the first day, Anne is told by her father, whom she adores, "I don't want you to ever go beyond that door." However, he adds optimistically, "(There are) no locks people can put on your mind."

And so Anne conjures up ways to keep herself amused, often to the annoyance of the other residents.

She talks constantly, prompting Peter to remind her of the nickname given her by schoolmates, "Mrs. Quack-Quack."

She mimics her housemates, especially Mr. Van Daan, as she skulks around behind him with his trademark scowl, and plays tricks. Penzkover is truly at her best as the playful Anne that always, momentarily, lifts the cloud from this downcast group.

Yet, her terrifying screams during nightmares make everyone feel her fear. Even then she finds a silver lining, remembering things that make her happy. "When I think of these good things, I'm not afraid anymore."

During the two years (1942-44) the family is hiding, Anne's diary reveals the personality traits that create great tension among the new family.

From the beginning, the Van Daans are materialistic and feel entitled. They argue incessantly, with each other and the others. Their son, Peter, is belittled by his father and coddled by his mother, leaving him shy and taciturn. Ralph and Paula Garcia infuse the narcissistic, bickering couple with lots of energy, emphasizing their unpleasant traits that can't hide in this small space.

After one of their battles, Anne looks wide-eyed at the couple, saying, "I thought only children quarreled."

Katschke as Anne's older sister, Margot, is quiet and dutiful, always doing what she is told, never calling attention to herself like Anne does. Which prompts the question by her mother and others to Anne, "Why can't you be more like your sister?"

As Otto Frank, Vance is the glue that keeps this tightly wound group from unraveling. His demeanor captures a man with quiet courage, strength and diplomacy. His opening and closing scenes are heart-wrenching.

I loved Julie Rowley as the mercurial wife in "Lend Me a Tenor," a far cry from her role as the staid Edith Frank. Yet she handles the latter role nicely, proving a talent for both comedy and drama.

As Dussel, who is not used to living with anybody, let alone six strangers, Mallmann shows constrained exasperation with the situation — until the point he begins to feel trapped.

There are so many wonderful things about this show.

Anne's readings from her diary are well-delivered by Penzkover, giving added emphasis to statements such as "I want to go on living even after my death."

The set, designed and built by Michael Talaska, created four easily viewed and easily navigated spaces, conveying the feeling of closeness and how it affected different characters.

Another nice touch was the actors staying in character throughout the intermission, as they played cards, read and knit on stage, providing the audience a glimpse of the quiet activities the characters engaged in during the day.

I would have liked to have seen the lighting in the Hanukkah scene more subdued to create a sense of reverence for the reading of the prayers and dramatize the lighting of the candles and the sense of tranquility that temporarily replaces the turmoil. It can often be a centerpiece in the show, but this scene lacked solemnity.

Yet, this is another fine effort by Waukesha Civic Theatre — and director Dustin Martin — that clearly sends the message of the power of the human spirit. As Anne says, "I still believe that people are good at heart."

Student rate is available for children and any patron with a current student ID. Senior rate applies to all patrons 60 years or older. Military rate is available for any active or reserve member of the military with a current military ID.

Military rate is available for any patron with a valid current Military ID.

For our "Pay What You Can" performances, patrons can buy tickets for that show on the day of the performance at whatever price their budget will allow.

Subscriber rate is available to any subscriber for unlimited additional tickets outside their package.

10 ticket minimum per performance required.

Educational Group Rate is only available for all educational groups and Boy and Girl Scout troops. 10 ticket minimum per performance required.

Volunteer of the Production - Kelly Vance

Kelly was considered by the entire cast and crew the "father" of the show, both onstage and off. Kelly was always looking for a way to give back and pitch in wherever needed; he helped move sets and brought in breakfast and other treats for the cast and crew. Kelly also had a wealth of knowledge that showed in his preparation and devotion to the work by bringing in facts, books, and stories about the Frank family. He is very kind and always had a positive word to say to his fellow cast members.