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Eric Blake (Otto Frank, Assistant Director) – Eric is currently employed as the Director of Operations for Shrivers Oxygen and Home Medical. He has had a love of the theatre for many years and he enjoys directing as well as being on stage. It was instilled in him at an early age the importance of working behind the scenes as well as acting. Eric currently serves on the Board of Directors at Zanesville Community Theatre. Eric’s directing credits include: Spring Awakening, August, Osage County, Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, RENT, Doubt, J.B., Steel Magnolias, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and The Lion In Winter. On stage, Eric has recently appeared in The Crucible, Sweeney Todd, Death of A Salesman and Next Fall; just to name a few.This is a beloved and deeply admired monument to the indestructible nature of the human spirit, the spirit that may crack but never break. Eric is honored to bring to life the role of Otto Frank and work with this dedicated and passionate cast and crew. Remember, never forget how to dance!
Eric hopes that you enjoy the show and thanks you for supporting Zanesville Community Theatre as they continue to strive for excellence against a backdrop of tradition.
Denise Harper (Mrs. Van Daan) – This is Denise’s first acting experience at ZCT. She has done nine other shows at Licking County Players, and has also been on the board of directors there. Some of her favorite shows include Anything Goes, The girls in 509, Cinderella, and State Fair. Although Denise participated in theater in high school, it had been many years between that time and when she got involved in theater again. Community theater has given her the opportunity to use her creative talents as well as the chance to be around other creative and fun people.This production of The Diary of Anne Frank has been a very special journey for several reasons. First, I had the honor of having my son Matthew direct me in this performance. He has been without a doubt, the best director that I have had the pleasure of being associated with; his dedication to this show has been outstanding and his vision and enthusiasm with this play has been contagious. I have also had the incredible opportunity to act beside my son Anthony as well as my daughter Bethany. It is always special to be in the same production with my children (it has happened 6 other times). It has also been an amazing experience to be a part of a show that has such a wonderful group of talented and dedicated cast members. I am so fortunate to have had this opportunity. I want to give a special thanks to my mother who has always been so supportive and has made my life so full of happiness.
He has been overjoyed being able to be a part of The Diary of Anne Frank and being a part of the ZCT family and cannot wait to be a part of shows in the future years. He has also enjoyed be able to work with not just great actors, but fantastic people! Blake would like to thank his teachers, friends and family who have supported him throughout his life and hopes you enjoy the performance.
David J Kerr (Mr. Kraler) – In a normal biography, we the actors get the opportunity to talk about ourselves and how much we’ve enjoyed this show. This show is a heart breaker so there is no joy. But it is an honor to portray a man with as much courage as Victor Kugler. That’s Mr. Kraler’s real name. Instead of talking about myself, I’d like to talk about and honor him. Victor Kugler was born June 5th, 1900 and served in the Austro-Hungarian Navy during WWI. He was discharged in 1918 after being injured. He moved to Holland in 1920 and became Otto Frank’s deputy at Opekta in 1924. In 1940, to avoid Nazi confiscation, he accepted directorship of the business from Otto Frank. From July 1942 to August 1944 he aided in the concealment of the eight people portrayed by our cast.
On August 4th, 1944, he was arrested, held as a political prisoner, and forced into hard labor. In March, 1945, while on a forced march to Germany, he was able to escape during a bombing raid. He made his way back to his home, where he remained in hiding until the liberation of Holland on May 5th, 1945. His wife, Laura passed away in 1952 and he remarried in 1955 and moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he stayed for the remainder of his life. Victor Kugler died on December 6th, 1981 at the age of 81.
God Bless Victor Kugler and people like him who are brave enough to risk their own lives in an effort to save another.
When I decided to direct the Diary of Anne Frank I knew I wanted it to be as accurate as possible. Through research and bringing a Holocaust survivor in to speak about his experiences, I have made every effort to ensure the cast had the necessary tools to bring this poignant piece to life.
I elected to use original music written specifically for our show. We are performing the updated script from 1997, which was nominated for two Tony Awards. This version incorporates a slightly different ending.
Because the “secret annex” was such a tight, intimate space, I chose to place the entrance through the audience, effectively putting you into hiding with them.
Whether you’ve seen this show before, read the diary, or learned about Anne Frank in school, (or maybe you just know someone involved with the show) I thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing this story to be retold and keeping Anne’s spirit of hope alive.
“Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.”