Anne Frank Theater Mixes Tragic Tale With Glitz and Fine Dining

Show Pays Tribute to Diarist — and Cash In on Global Brand


By Cnaan Liphshiz

Published March 18, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

The two organizations have long had a contentious relationship. Though Leopold says the Anne Frank House would never associate with commercial initiatives, it was accused two decades ago by Anne Frank Fonds of commercializing Anne after balloons and T-shirts were sold at traveling exhibitions of the Dutch group’s artifacts. The Anne Frank House said local organizers were responsible for the sales.

The fight was the first of several clashes between the organizations, which once shared exhibits and collaborated extensively. Last year, a Dutch court ordered the Amsterdam museum to return a cache of 25,000 documents lent by the Swiss organization. Both sides accused each other of blocking a more amicable resolution to the conflict.

For decades, the Anne Frank House has thrived as the leading authority in its field in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Leopold says he believes the new theater, housed in a three-story building less than two miles from the museum, will actually drive more traffic to the Anne Frank House, which he says offers a more authentic portal into the Frank story.

“You go to see ‘ANNE’ in a place which had had nothing to do with Anne Frank,” Leopold said. “It’s backdrop, a show with actors, and it is a radically different experience than historical immersion in the place where it happened, where the diary was.”

Kugelmann says he doesn’t see the theater as competition for the museum. The decision to locate the theater in Amsterdam was made because the city is so central to the story. Leon de Winter, the best-selling Dutch Jewish novelist who wrote the script for “ANNE” with his wife, Jessica Durlacher, calls the conflicts between the two groups an unwelcome distraction.

“I didn’t and still don’t care about this conflict,” de Winter said. “I only cared about materials which I have been privileged to access, but which filled me with uncontrollable anger at what has been done to a family of Jews and a writer who, at the age of 15, already had the talent, experience and clarity of a full-fledged author.”

The play is being produced by Imagine Nation founders Kees Abrahams and Robin de Levita, a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer who worked on hits such as “Chicago” and “Les Miserables.”

Audiences will arrive at the 1,100-seat theater by special ferry from Amsterdam’s Central Station. Tickets will cost between $50 and $100. “It’s important that people feel at home, that they have a good time,” Abrahams told journalists at a sneak preview last week of the still-unfinished theater. “So we made a large, lounge-like restaurant with 150 seats.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.