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Arts and Culture

Anne Frank: The Musical

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Posted on Feb 22, 2008
Anne Frank musical
AP photo / Victor R. Caivano

Cuban actress Isabella Castillo takes on the auspicious role of Anne Frank in “Anne Frank: A Song to Life,” of which Frank’s only living relative is not a fan.

There’s an adage that cautions against making jokes about such categorically unfunny topics as the Holocaust ... but how about making musicals? This just in: The BBC brings word from Spain of the staging of a new musical, “Anne Frank: A Song to Life,” which at times features “Kitty,” a perhaps unwisely (and too literally) conceived character.


BBC:

My bet is that this show will be a huge box office draw in Spain.

The audience lapped up the eclectic mix of musical styles - from Latin rhythms to Jewish folk melodies and the guitar rock beloved of Spaniards in the 1980s.

[...] The diary, which went on to become a historical treasure and sell 40 million copies, was often referred to by Anne as “Kitty”. Here, Kitty is given a human face, in the form of an on-stage alter-ego played by Basque actress Patricia Arizmendi.

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By Greg Bacon, March 4, 2008 at 4:08 am Link to this comment

Hungarian Jews called to register for class action

Peter Wolz, who describes himself as an attorney for Jewish survivors of Auschwitz and their heirs, is appealing for Hungarian victims of the death camps and their heirs to contacts him over a possible class action.

Düsseldorf-based Wolz says he has already filed a class action for $40 billion against the US government at the Federal District court of Colombia, in Washington DC. The class action concerns the failure of the Allies to bomb the railway bridges between Hungary and Auschwitz during the Second World War. Wolz believes the bombing of the railway bridges could have saved more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews life during 1944. He put the number of Budapest Jews who escaped the Holocaust – people like financier George Soros and the late Congressman Tom Lantos – at about 120,000 only. 

“The responsible Federal judge drew a summons, which was delivered to President George W Bush,” Wolz told The Budapest Sun via email.
“In his reply the President declared, ‘The US accepts the well-pled allegations of the complaint as true,’” the attorney claimed.

Wolz’s call for Hungarian survivors and heirs to register with his IPAS (international project group Auschwitz Sammelklagen (class action)), organization, for either further punitive class actions at US Federal Courts, or for settlement out of court, follows Bush’s visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel this January.

Evil exists

Speaking at the site, the President was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “I wish as many people as possible would come to this place. It is a sobering reminder that evil exists, and a call that when evil exists. we must resist it.”

Wolz, who says the President also said “We should have bombed Auschwitz,” at the memorial, insists that the US Air Force, which controlled the European skies in 1944, could easily have bombed the railways and the bridges bringing Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz. But the camp and its supply lines were taken off the final list of target proposals and never were bombed.
“Auschwitz survivors and heirs of victims are called to register by post with I.P.A.S., Bahnstr 24, D-42781 Haan-Gruiten,” Wolz said.

http://www.budapestsun.com/print.php?id=27879

The “SHOAH” must go on… and on… and on… and on…

The Holocaust™ shakedown racket is the world’s premier extortion vehicle, harvesting millions and millions of dollars each year for an ever increasing amount of Holocaust™ survivors.

Fifty years from now, we’ll still be reading about Holocaust™ lawsuits.

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By republicanSScareme, March 1, 2008 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s no business like shoah business
Like no business I know!

Everything about it is repealing
It’s so deceiving, it’s such a scream!

There’s no business like shoal business
Like no business I know!

Everybody sing!

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By Maani, February 28, 2008 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

Lefty:

No, I’m an erudite, classy, tasteful, informed and historically knowledgeable sweetheart.  LOL.

Peace.

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By ALD, February 27, 2008 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sept. 11, 2006 (5th anniversary) we gave the world premiere of THE FALL ‘01 - a ballet (choreodrama to be more precise) - a 45 min. multi-media live stage work (now in festival circulation as a movie) on the Global War Of Terror — departing at 9/11 and arching into the Torture Gulag - severe dance theatre.

Some say it should be seen widely, some…that it’s too soon. Who know? It’s out there http://www.thefall01.info/ and the movie is available for screenings - http://bravenewtheaters.com/

What the world needs now is more polemic art - where the message really sinks in - http://www.a-laska.com/

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By Thomas Billis, February 27, 2008 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

Shecky Shicklegruber a comedic look at the antics of Adolf Hitler before he changed his name.
Benny Mussolini and the Brown Shirts a dance revue of the highlights of fascist Italy.
Stalin and the Gulags a love story of one man and his people.
Just some of the plays in store if this one about Anne Frank is succesful.

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By Maani, February 26, 2008 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

“Set in 1929-1930 Berlin on the eve of the Nazis’ rise to power, Cabaret focuses on nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and mostly revolves around the English 19-year-old cabaret performer Sally Bowles and her relationship with young American writer, Cliff Bradshaw. A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. Overseeing the action is the Emcee, who presides as master of ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub and serves as a constant metaphor for the current state of society in Weimar Germany throughout the show.”

I have not had an answer yet: do those of you who consider the Anne Frank musical in “poor taste” also believe that Cabaret was in “poor taste,” since it takes place at the same time, deals with some of the same subjects, particularly a reaction to Nazi Germany?

As I noted, singing and dancing (the latter of which there is actually none of in Anne Frank and very little of in Cabaret, most of the body movements being sexual in nature, sex being yet another act of “rebellion”) were among the last acts of rebellion left to German society, which is why underground “cabarets” and rathskellers were so popular, even when attending them could lead to arrest.

I find it hard to fathom the lack of historical understanding here, and the visceral overreaction to this concept.

Peace.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, February 26, 2008 at 5:20 am Link to this comment

We always seem to want to break into song, especially if there’s a market out there that will listen—and pay.

Indiana Jones said, “Snakes, why does it always have to be snakes?”

Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, says, “Music, why does it always have to be music?”

Are we that starved for entertainment? 

On a side note, if it is so essential that “we never forget,” why the hell do we continually forget, all over the world?  I think they’re empty words and a mantra of guilt.  Shouldn’t this be put to rest if it means nothing?

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By Maani, February 25, 2008 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

Lefty:

You apparently don’t read too well.  There is NO dancing.  Only singing.

Peace.

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By rage, February 25, 2008 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This crap is incredibly crass, insensitive, and in obscenely poor taste.

How can anyone with an ounce of human decency and a minutia of compassion and remorse for the victims and survivors of the Holocost set this historic atrocity to music, with dancing?

This is little more than these idiots’ dancing on the Frank Family’s graves. Every person connected to this atrocity ought to be ashamed of himself.

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By Less Lee Moore, February 25, 2008 at 10:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Show with Bob and David already covered this in its very first episode, as “Hitler Sings” when David Cross confuses Hitler with Anne Frank.

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By Maani, February 24, 2008 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

Lefty/Expat:

“Because it’s in extremely bad taste.”

Well, I simply disagree with that statement.  You are reacting viscerally instead of giving it any real thought at all.  In fact, by coming up with the kinds of titles you have, it is actually YOU who are doing something in bad taste.

I see nothing inherently “tasteless” about this idea.  True, a drama (without music) would be more appropriate, and such dramas already exist.  But the notion of adding music is not per se tasteless.  After all, in Nazi Germany, one of the last bastions of “rebellion” were the rathskellers and underground music halls, like the one seen in Cabaret.  (Indeed, you would consider Cabaret “tasteless,” since it is set in the same period, as the Holocaust was occurring?)  Singing was a form of rebellion against the authority of the Nazi party!  (As was dancing, though I can understand why the creators of this musical chose not to include any.)

You know, if either of you really stopped to think about it, you might not be so flip in equating it with the kinds of titles you have offered.

Peace.

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By Maani, February 24, 2008 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

Expat:

Please, enlighten me: what is it I’m supposed to “get?”

Peace.

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By Expat, February 24, 2008 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

^ me thinks you just don’t get it.  Please don’t respond, I think I could not bear it.

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By Maani, February 23, 2008 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

Lefty:

That depends entirely on how the musical was handled (i.e., written and unfolded).  After all, even a difficult topic can be made “tasteful” (as was Les Miserables).

Besides, who are you to speak for Anne Frank’s sister?

Peace.

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By Maani, February 23, 2008 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

Uh…I think you guys are overreacting just a tad…

Anne Frank’s story is not just compelling, but historically important.  It is filled with legitimate drama and conflict, as well as courage and love.

And why should a musical that touches on (but is not entirely about) the Holocaust be any different than, say, Les Miserables, which includes the viciousness of the French government, including heavy use of the guillotine?

To paraphrase Shakespeare, “Methinks thou dost protest too much.”

Peace.

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By jackpine savage, February 23, 2008 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

Excellent!

How about “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the Musical”
“Katrina, the musical”
“Hiroshima, the musical”
“Rwanda, the musical”

Or imagine the dance numbers in “Bataan Death March, the musical”

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By republicanSScareme, February 23, 2008 at 2:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is this musical anything like that fabulous extravaganza, “Springtime for Hitler”?

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By Anon, February 22, 2008 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, at least they didn’t call it - Anne!

Of course, it hasn’t made it to Broadway yet…

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