Anne Frank Actress Jaclyn Holtzman on Playing the Iconic Role

March 26, 2014 § 1 Comment

Anne’s story isn’t shared to make us feel miserable, and it’s not shared to make us feel fortunate or lucky or to make our trials and tribulations seem insignificant. Every struggle is real, and every struggle is relative. As she herself says, “What’s the point of thinking of misery when you’re already miserable? That’s stupid.” It is important to not misunderstand the purpose of spreading this amazing account. I am not portraying Anne so that teenagers today see how lucky they have it. Metropolis, my castmates, Kevin, and I are sharing her story to teach a lesson, to illustrate the danger of groupthink, to prevent anything similar from happening again. We are telling her story to make certain that history does not repeat itself.

We lost so much by letting evil win. Imagine what Anne’s brilliance, intuitiveness, passion, and optimism could have done for the world. Imagine where we might be if her life wasn’t cut short, if she had grown to her full potential and had unleashed her virtuosity on society.

Evil may have temporarily won, but it did not permanently prevail. Thanks to a miracle, Anne was still able to “go on living even after [her] death.” She still made her mark. The Nazis may have ended her life, but they didn’t end her spirit. It lives on through her writing and through actors like me, who are awarded the amazing opportunity to play her.

As you can imagine, this is a tall order. On one hand, Anne Frank is the easiest role an actor can play: never is an actor delivered a character’s inner thoughts on a silver platter. On the other hand, I have never been so petrified in my life. I need to do Anne justice. I need to convey how seriously frightening her life became in an instant. I need to tell her story in a way that will spur action, or more importantly reaction.

Herein lies the real challenge: effectively conveying the constant anxiety, the crippling fear, the severe loneliness, the intensifying frustration, and the courageous hope with which Anne lived every day. It is so easy to distance ourselves from the horrors that occurred 70 years ago. It is simple to pretend it will never happen again, to block our minds and our hearts from really feeling, really understanding that this actually happened. To real people. People with feelings. People with normal lives like ours. Innocent people. I have read thousands upon thousands of pages about Anne Frank, the 1940s, WWII, the Nazis, and Amsterdam. I ingested this information as facts, separated myself from it. It was not until I started watching videos that I began to feel. It is one thing to think and another to feel. This show consumes audience members and makes them feel. They will meet Anne, relate to her, and feel for her. They will realize that she was a normal teenager with normal hopes, desires, qualms, and dreams. That what happened to her could happen to them. This show will take Anne’s story from a tale to a reality. And that is why it needs to be done.


Director Kevin Wiczer’s Journey with Anne Frank’s Story

March 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

When I was in middle school, I remember being assigned “A Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank”. Being a 13 year old boy, I didn’t come to appreciate it as I do now. Recently, I read the Definitive Version of the diary which included thirty percent more diary entries than the version most people have read. I hadn’t realized how much of her daily struggles with her family and her thoughts on sexuality had been removed from the original manuscript. Understandably, it wasn’t proper to discuss sexuality or to talk badly of your parents when it was first published. However, when I read this version, a lot of that was in there which really opened my eyes to who Anne really was. It made her more of a real person. I remember reading the original and thinking that this was a girl who was perfect and could do no wrong, when in reality, she was a very normal teenager who dealt with normal teenager issues and happened to express those issues in her diary.
I can’t even imagine what it was like not being able to leave the Annex. To have to be around the same people every single day and night. The thought that if you have an argument with someone, you can’t get away from them, and there’s really no place for you to be alone. No privacy. And at the same time living in constant fear, and any noise you hear outside creates instant paranoia. How incredibly brave these people were.
During our Table Read of the play, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, a question came up that really made people think. Miep was a woman who helped them all with bringing food and other necessities along with several other people. They risked their lives for Anne and the rest of them on a regular basis. The question that was brought up was: If you were in that situation, where you had to decide if you would risk your life to help others, would you? All of us said that we would hope we would, but we really dont know for sure. When actually faced with that danger, would we find the courage to help and put others before ourselves? It’s a question we continue to ponder. They didn’t consider themselves heroes; they were doing what they felt was right. And doing what you feel is right, could help others in return.
-Kevin Wiczer, Director


Executive Director Charlie Beck on Half and Half

March 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

     ‘Tracy and Hepburn, Russel and Grant, Streep and Hoffman. When a great actor and actress come together amazing things can happen.
     This was going through my mind as I watched one of the last dress rehearsals for our next production ‘Half & Half’. Andrew Pond and Julie Partyka are the pair that brought those images to mind. At times so comic as they play against one another. At times poignant and oh so painfully truthful that it took my breath away. They are ably supported by Katie Hunter who plays their daughter rounding out a fine cast that I am sure will be enjoyed by all.
     The story is intriguing as well, looking at a family beginning in the early 70′s and then jumping ahead to modern life. Drawing out the challenges of marital and family life that spans the decades of time. How we seem to relive the same issues in our society, in our relationships over and over. Set in Chicago it is also fun to watch to catch the local references.
     ‘Half & Half’ stands out in my mind as one of the most well written plays we have produced this season. Crisp dialogue that explores the foibles of married life, and as delivered by Andrew and Julie will have you reflecting on your own relationships.
     It’s another production that we are proud to present here at Metropolis, from cast to crew to the able Direction of a Metropolis favorite David Belew, ‘Half & Half’ will make you laugh and make you cry but will provide just the tonic we need to bring us out of this prolonged winter into the warmth of spring.
We do amazing things at Metropolis. This is a great example of just that.
Running March 13 – April 13 Call 847-577-2121 to purchase tickets

Why I Support Metropolis: Board Member Denise Beihoffer

January 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

My husband Tom and I have been season subscribers at Metropolis since the theater opened in 2000. At that time, we had a 3-year-old and were looking for opportunities for pre-scheduled “date nights.” Metropolis provided a great option for us to enjoy quality live theater in an intimate setting, while also supporting the local community. As we live only 8 blocks from the theater, an added bonus was our ability to walk to and from the theater and the surrounding downtown restaurants when the weather was nice. 

Metropolis Summer Camp_20100709_6885colorAs she grew, our daughter Kristina performed in several Curtains Up! productions over the years, including her favorite role of Tinkerbell in the 2010 production of Peter Pan. As a parent, there is nothing more fun than seeing your child perform on stage with the many friends she made each summer!

Over the years, we have enjoyed many a show and concert at Metropolis, and when it converted to not-for-profit status, we were happy to sign on as financial supporters as well. Over time, we steadily increased our support and I became actively involved in planning various fundraising events for Metropolis, including my personal favorite, the annual Sunday Soiree. In December of 2011, I was privileged to join the Board of Directors for the organization.

My family loves living in Arlington Heights and we especially love its strong sense of community. We are very committed to supporting local business and supporting Metropolis furthers that commitment. Metropolis adds terrific value to the Arlington Heights community and I am happy to play a small role in its success. If you have not had an opportunity to visit the theater for your very own “date night,” I encourage you to do so soon! 

Click here to learn how you can support Metropolis.

Why I Support Metropolis: Board Vice President Tom O’Rourke

January 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

Genuine respect for the global community is the root of peace, and this is exponentially becoming more and more a reality. The performing arts have always played a paramount role in the appreciation of others – their strengths, their cultures, their humor, their fears and their needs. We are fortunate to have Metropolis at our fingertips. I embrace the Metropolis as a center of learning, engagement and of peace.

Click here to learn how you can support Metropolis.

A Word On Greater Tuna from Executive Director Charlie Beck

January 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

I had the good fortune of sitting through last evenings dress rehearsal.

If you want to see a master’s class in character acting you need to see this show. The two stars have developed and created an array of characters that bring the script to life in a way that is most entertaining and funny. 
The supporting crew of designers and our director have given them terrific space to play in and created the right environment via lighting, sound, set and costumes that makes this show a delight and another fine example of the tremendous talent that we are blessed with here at Metropolis.
Kudos to Production Manager Bill Franz for leading us to another great show.
And, you have to see Andrew Pond and Matthias Austin in action. Matthias is a newcomer and is impressive in his debut performance at Metropolis and I have had the privilege of knowing Andrew for the past few years. Knowing Andrew’s work well I must say he gives one of the finest performances that I have seen on our stage.

Why I Support Metropolis: Board Member Frank Lee

January 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

I support Metropolis because I believe that participation in the arts is an important component of our quality of life, not only our personal life but also the life of our community. We are fortunate to live in a community that has a place like Metropolis Performing Arts Centre and my hope is that it will continue to be part of our community for a long, long time.

Click here to learn how you can support Metropolis.


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