The local acting troupe is bringing back one of the most famous stories in the world for an encore performance in Havre.
Montana Actors’ Theatre is producing “The Diary of Anne Frank” starting Thursday at 8 p.m., with plans to take it on another tour to other Montana communities.
“It’s the right kind of show for that,” said MAT president Jay Pyette, who is co-directing and acting in the play. “It’s got such great appeal. It’s got name recognition.”
MAT produced the play, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett and adapted by Wendy Kessellman, in Havre and Great Falls earlier this year. Pyette said the Havre troupe also will produce it in Missoula and is working on finding a venue to host it in Billings.
The troupe’s plan had been to produce the play in Havre first this fall, but the schedule was rearranged for its production in June due to a high level of interest in the community.
The play is based on the world-famous diary of Anne Frank, a German Jew who hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam with her family for 25 months before being betrayed. She died of typhus in a Nazi concentration camp nine months later, at the age of 15.
Her diary, which has been translated into 67 languages, is one of the most widely read books in the world.
Jessa Pyette, who has acted in several MAT and MAT-Havre High School coproductions, stars as Anne Frank.
Jay Pyette plays her father, along with co-directing the production with his wife, Dana Pyette.
Other cast members include Andi Daniel, Kristi Zuelke, Chad Zuelke, Matt Twedt, Martin Holt, Darcy Zook, Mike Zook, Carson Pollington, Angela Pratt and William Chambers.
The play was the first planned for production in all three locations of Montana Actors’ Theatre, which started in Havre in the 1990s. It now has troupes in Missoula and Great Falls, as well.
Pyette said an organizational change made over the summer is up and running. Each community now has a three-person artistic council with a production administrator. Previously, each troupe was headed by an artistic director.
“It’s going well,” he said about the changes. “It’s taking a little time to smooth things out and run efficiently, but it’s working well.”
The goal of the change was to increase efficiency of the productions and the overall operation of MAT, including increasing tours of shows from town to town. Pyette said that has been a long-term goal of the company since its creation.
The Havre production of Anne Frank will run Thursday through Saturday this week, then take a week off in honor of Havre High School’s homecoming.
It will run again Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 7-9.
Productions start at the Little Theatre in Cowan Hall on the Montana State University-Northern campus at 8 each night.
Doors and the backstage lounge will open at 7:30 each night.