The Masquers theater troupe of Armstrong Atlantic State University is presenting a touching, poignant tale in "Dreams of Anne Frank."
"The story differs from the original 'Diary of a Young Girl' in the sense that it's a bit of children's theater and musical theater," says director Gabriel Michael. "It's told through a lot of song and dance."
The original production was given the 1993 Time Out Award for Best Children's Production during its London premiere.
It features book and lyrics by Bernard Kops and music by David Burman.
The play retells the famous story of a young Jewish girl and the diary she kept while in hiding from Nazis in 1942.
"It shows her escaping into a dream world to escape what is happening around her," Michael says.
The production provides a different approach to Anne Frank's story than others.
"It demystifies and humanizes her more," he says. "She was an adolescent at the time, so she was rambunctious."
A junior theater major, Michael is from Atlanta.
"After graduation, I wanted to move into the city," he says. "Shakespeare is what I love to do. I love any play that has ornate language. If I could be in a traveling Shakespeare troupe, I would be happy."
In directing "Dreams of Anne Frank," Michael found the music was a challenge.
"When I cast people, I told them singing and dancing were not requirements," he says. "When I had the cast, I decided who had these types of talents. I blocked the musical numbers around them."
The production is being presented in the Black Box Theater at Jenkins Hall. The Masquers are part of the AASU Department of Art, Music & Theatre.
The show is not as dark as many other productions about Anne Frank.
"Because it is more of a children's version, in Anne's world, the way she deals with the issues is through her dreams, making it more whimsical and lighthearted," says Jessica Stowers, who is playing Anne.
"I do believe we will have something special," he says. "It's been a fun ride."
The play carries an important message, he says.
"It's about family," Michael says. "The original diary is a remembrance of Anne.
"Even though she's at the forefront of the story, it is mostly about family and what you do with the time you have left," he says. "The way we've chosen to stage certain things, particularly the end, makes you cherish your loved ones."