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MAT brings ‘Anne Frank’ to the Havre stage


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Montana Actors' Theatre is bringing one of the most well-known stories in the world to life in Havre this week, with its production of "The Diary of Anne Frank" opening tonight at 8 p.m. MAT founder and President Jay Pyette, who is acting in the production as well as directing it with his wife, Dana Pyette, said the production is a rearrangement of the show's schedule. The company of actors had planned to produce the show in Havre this fall, including productions in local schools.

Pyette said the community showed enough interest to lead to the scheduling change.

"We had so many people asking about it it seemed like the right thing to do," he said.

The play is based on the diary of Anne Frank, a German Jew who hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam with her family for 25 months before being betrayed. Frank 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.

Jessica Pyette, who has acted in several MAT and MAT-Havre High School coproductions, stars as Anne Frank.

The cast includes a list of veteran actors along with Jessica and Jay Pyette. Also appearing in the play are Andi Daniel, Kristi Zuelke, Chad Zuelke, Matt Twedt, Martin Holt, Darcy Zook, Mike Zook, Carson Pollington, Angela Pratt and William Chambers.

The play is the first scheduled to see productions in all three locations of Montana Actors' Theatre, which Jay Pyette founded in Havre in the 1990s.

The play already has run in the newly formed Great Falls location of MAT and was planned to be produced in the Missoula location, now in its second full season, before coming to Havre.

Pyette said the order has been reversed, and now the Havre MAT company plans to run its Missoula production in the fall.

He said the Broadway-running version of the play, written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett and adapted by Wendy Kessellman, is very new.

"For those people who have seen "The Diary of Anne Frank," it's not the same," he said. "It's true to the diary, but some other information is included that gives the audience a bet ter understanding of what happens." Tonight's performance includes a chance for audience members who wish to stay to talk to the actors and directors about the production once it is over.

The doors to the theater, in Cowan Hall on the Montana State University- Northern campus, open at 7:30 p.m., as does the backstage lounge.

Productions also will start at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with special matinée productions at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors, with Northern students with a valid identification card admitted at no charge.


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