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The Cleveland Play House Production Of The Diary Of Anne Frank is a Must-See Immersive Experience

Posted September 27, 2017 in Press Releases

CLEVELAND, OH (September 27, 2017) “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.These words will come alive again as Cleveland Play House produces The Diary of Anne Frank, providing an immersive experience for the audience in this adaptation never-before seen on the CPH stage.

Staged in CPH’s intimate Outcalt Theatre, this captivating adaptation brings audiences into the secret annex where 13-year-old Anne and seven other Jews evade Nazi deportation. For over two years, all that will stand between them and the concentration camps is their trust in one another and the bravery of those harboring them. Cleveland Play House has performed another version of The Diary of Anne Frank twice before throughout its 102 year season, but never this incarnation. Based on the adaptation of Wendy Kesselman, and authors Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, Anne’s compelling words come alive and urge us to stand up for one another in the face of intolerance, fear, and hate. Directed by CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley, The Diary of Anne Frank will run from Oct. 21st– Nov. 19th in the Outcalt Theatre at Playhouse Square.

“The inspiring courage and generosity of the Frank family and those helping them, shines through in this adaptation,” says CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley. “This production will make Anne feel real – beyond a symbol- and bring to life aspects of Jewish culture that were left out of the original adaptation.”


LISE BRUNEAU (Edith Frank) is pleased to be back in Cleveland! Lise previously appeared at CPH as Madge in Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot, she then returned to Cleveland in The Winter’s Tale and Imaginary Invalid at Great Lakes Theater. On Broadway, she just appeared in The Cherry Orchard with Diane Lane, and was in Cincinnati for The Revolutionists just last year. She is currently a denizen of DC, where her performing credits include This and Book Club Play at Round House; Othello at Shakespeare Theatre; Watch on the Rhine and Mother Courage (with Kathleen Turner) for Arena Stage; and Mikveh, (Helen Hayes nomination) Broken Glass, and Brighton Beach Memoirs for Theatre J. She appeared as Jenny in Threepenny Opera at the Clarence Brown and at the Denver Center, won a Henry Award for playing Hesione in Heartbreak House. Directing credits include 4,000 Miles; Savage in Limbo; Hamlet; and for DC's Taffety Punk Theatre Co, the 100% female Riot Grrrls' productions of Tempest, Titus Andronicus, and Julius Caesar; also Inheritance Canyon, Oxygen and Devil in His Own Words among others. She has performed in regional theatres nationwide, as well as many Shakespeare festivals. Lise trained at RADA, and is proud to be a Taffety Punk.

PAUL BUGALLO (First Man) was raised in Seattle where he discovered his passion for the performing arts. He attended Central Washington University where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatrical Performance. Paul has performed in many of Seattle's professional spaces, including the Seattle Repertory and Center House Theatres, as well as improvisational Theatres such as Unexpected Productions and Jet City Improv. Now residing in the proud city of Cleveland, Paul is absolutely ecstatic about finishing up his final year in the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program. You may have seen him over the last two years in CWRU/CPH’s productions of Clybourne Park and She Stoops to Conquer. Most recently he appeared as Lord Tilney in CPH's 102nd season opening show Shakespeare in Love.

SARAH CUNEO (Margot Frank) is overjoyed to be returning to the Cleveland Play House stage after making her CPH debut in Shakespeare in Love. A New Jersey native, Sarah graduated from Princeton University with a major in Psychology and certificates in Theater and Neuroscience. Sarah has previously appeared in the New Ground Theater Festival in The Good Peaches by Quiara Alegría Hudes; and in a staged reading of Little Row Boat or, Conjecture by Kirsten Greenidge. She has also appeared in CWRU/CPH productions of She Stoops to Conquer, Clybourne Park, and Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses. Other credits include Macbeth (Oberlin Summer Theater Festival), Red Noses (Lewis Center for the Arts), and The Real Inspector Hound (Princeton Summer Theater). Much love and appreciation to the entire CWRU/CPH family, and infinite thanks to her father for his unwavering support.

ANNIE FOX (Anne Frank) a recent graduate of NYU Grad Acting, where credits include: The Winters Tale (Clown), Buried Child (Halie), and The Cherry Orchard (Anya). Other credits include Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Theatreworks Silicon Valley, and The Kitchen.

AMY FRITSCHE (Miep Gies) previously appeared at Cleveland Play House in the world premiere of These Mortal Hosts and the reading of Little Row Boat or, Conjecture. She toured nationally with Annie and internationally in the world premiere of Best Intentions in London, England and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Regionally, she has performed with Phoenix Theater, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, CATCO Theatre, and Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles. Locally at Cleveland Public Theatre, Dobama Theatre, Porthouse Theatre, and Mamai Theatre. Favorite roles include, Arcadia (Hannah Jarvis), Superior Donuts(Officer Randy), As You Like It (Rosalind), A Little Night Music (Countess Charlotte), Annie (Grace Farrell), Chapter Two (Jenny) and Violet (Violet). She received the 2015 Cleveland Critics Circle Theater Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Violet. She is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Kent State University and is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA, AGVA, and AEA.

PETER HARGRAVE (Third Man) holds his BFA from Abilene Christian University and is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Tepper Semester. Peter most recently appeared as Lord Wessex in Cleveland Play House’s production of Shakespeare in Love. Other CPH credits include: The Good Peaches (world premiere) and The CPH Centennial Plays. New Ground Play Festival Reading: Titus in FEED by Eric Coble. CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program credits include: She Stoops to Conquer, Clybourne Park, Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Regional: Gateway Playhouse, Musical Theatre West, Texas Shakespeare Festival, and Disney Cruise Line.

YARON LOTAN (Peter van Daan) is excited to be making his Cleveland Play House debut. Recently, he was seen Off-Broadway in Dead Poets Society, directed by John Doyle. Other regional credits include Wondrous Strange (part of the Humana Festival) and A Christmas Carol at Actors Theatre of Louisville. He received training at Fordham University, The Moscow Art Theatre School, Interlochen Arts Academy, and the Professional Training Company at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

MEGAN MEDLEY (Understudy: Anne Frank, Miep Gies) is grateful to be a part of this team and this pertinent, cogent play. Most recently, she had a blast playing in Shakespeare in Love here at CPH. Since joining the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting program she has performed alongside her classmates in She Stoops to Conquer, Clybourne Park, Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, and The Good Peaches. She had the wondrous opportunity to perform in the world premiere of These Mortal Hosts at the New Ground Theatre Festival. Other credits include: Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Giselle (NoExit Performance); and Rapture, Blister, Burn (Theatre on the Square). She would like to thank her wonderfully supportive love Aurélien Bayo, her family, and her sweet kitties! Thank you for coming, and enjoy the show!

RANDY MERRILL (Second Man) is thrilled to be a part of The Diary of Anne Frank at Cleveland Play House in his final year of graduate school with the CWRU/CPH MFA acting program! Most recent credits include Shakespeare in Love (Robin, Understudy: Will), the regional premier of Really, Really (Jimmy), Clybourne Park (Jim/Tom), and She Stoops to Conquer (Charles Marlow). He has also recently appeared in La Cage Aux Folles (Jean Michele) at The Lake Dillon Theatre Co, and the original cast and International/Asia tour of Barbie Live! The Musical. He would like to thank his family and friends for their enduring love and support as well as the faculty and staff at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Play House!

LAURA PERROTTA (Mrs. van Daan) is a native New Yorker who has called Cleveland home for the last 21 years. She has appeared on television, Off Broadway, toured nationally, and worked regionally. She is deeply grateful to be a part of this production, and tickled to return again to A Christmas Story this Holiday season as Miss Shields.

RICK D. WASSERMAN (Otto Frank) recently appeared in Colorado in Arsenic and Old Lace, Talley’s Folly, and as Elyot and Victor in Private Lives. Rick made his Broadway debut in Disney’s The Lion King. In Los Angeles, he played the titular character in the world-premiere play Flim Flam: Houdini and the Hereafter and Jerry in Betrayal. Rick was nominated for a Barrymore award for his portrayal of Irving Berlin in The Tin Pan Alley Rag at Philadelphia’s Wilma Theatre. Favorite television performances include roles on 24, The District, House MD, Law & Order, and Without A Trace. Rick is perhaps best known as the 13-year signature voice of AMC Network and for voicing Thor and Hulk for Marvel animation. He can also be heard on popular video game series such as World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Diablo, Starcraft, and Batman Arkham.

LEE WILKOF (Mr. Dussel) has appeared in a number of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows including Kiss Me Kate (Tony nomination); The Iceman Cometh (The Goodman Theatre, BAM); The Odd Couple, She Loves Me, Sweet Charity (directed by Bob Fosse), and The Present Tense (Obie Award). He originated the roles of Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors and Sam Byck in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins (Drama Desk nomination). He played the Wizard in the first workshop and national tour of Wicked, and various other theatre credits include Yale Rep, Williamstown Theatre Festival. He has over 100 TV and film credits including High Maintenance, The West Wing, Alpha House, Law and Order, Ally McBeal (SAG Award), School of Rock, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, This Boy’s Life, and The Grey Zone. Lee directed the feature film No Pay, Nudity (starring Gabriel Byrne and Nathan Lane), which was released in 2016.

BRUCE WINANT (Mr. van Daan) CPH debut. Broadway: An American in Paris (M. Baurel), La Cage Aux Folles (Dindon), Ragtime (Tatah), The Phantom of the Opera (Firmin), Chicago (Amos), Fiddler on the Roof (Mordcha), Miss Saigon, My Favorite Year, as well as 3 companies of Les Miserables (Thenardier/Javert). Favorite regional roles: Jacques in As You Like It, Feste in Twelfth Night, Oberon in Midsummer Nights Dream, Argante in Scapin, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd. TV appearances: Law and Order (original and SVU), Blue Bloods, The Detour, Deadbeat, Person of Interest, Boardwalk Empire, The West Wing, Star Trek: TNG and others. Bruce will be heard as the voice of Beckett in the upcoming Netflix animated feature, The Guardian Brothers. Love to Kristin, Arden and Jayce. Dedicated to my family and those who suffered, fought and perished during that dark time in history.

TOM WOODWARD (Mr. Kraler) makes his Cleveland Play House debut with The Diary of Anne Frank. Regional credits include The Beauty Queen of Leenane (none too fragile theater), Eddie! (Theatre in the Circle), Three Sisters (Mamai Theatre Company), Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and Machinal (Kansas City Repertory Theatre), The Tempest (Heart of America Shakespeare Festival), Unexpected Tenderness (Lee Strasberg Institute in Hollywood), Iphigenia 2.0 (Cleveland Public Theater), and several productions with Cleveland's Dobama Theatre including Middletown, The Norwegians, The Seafarer, and A Bright New Boise, the latter bringing him a Best Actor nomination from the Cleveland Critics Circle. TV/Film: Cora Unashamed, Sunset Beach, and General Hospital.


LAURA KEPLEY (Director) became Artistic Director of Cleveland Play House in 2013 and has directed numerous CPH mainstage productions including Shakespeare in Love; The Crucible; Steel Magnolias; The Good Peaches (world premiere); Fairfield (world premiere); How I Learned to Drive (also at Syracuse Stage); The Little Foxes; Venus in Fur; Good People (also at Syracuse Stage); A Carol for Cleveland (world premiere); In the Next Room, or the vibrator play; My Name is Asher Lev and CPH readings of Roe Green Award-winning plays Soups, Stews and Casseroles: 1976; Marjorie Prime and Daphne’s Dive. She joined CPH in 2010, having arrived from Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island where she was Resident Director and Artistic Associate for four seasons and Interim Director of the Brown/Trinity Rep M.F.A. in Directing Program for one. She has also directed for The Alliance Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Contemporary American Theatre Festival, among others. A native Ohioan, Laura received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and her Master of Fine Arts from Brown University/Trinity Rep. She is a Drama League Fellow and a recipient of the 2009-2011 National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Program for Directors.

The Design Team for Diary of Anne Frank includes: ROBERT MARK MORGAN (Scenic Designer), DAVID KAY MICKELSEN (Costume Designer), MARY LOUISE GIEGER (Lighting Designer), DANIEL PERELSTEIN (Sound Designer), THOM JONES (Voice, Speech and Text Coach), CATHERINE MOORE (Fight Choreographer). The Stage Manager for this production is MARYANN MORRIS.

Ticket Information

The Diary of Anne Frank will take place in the Outcalt Theatre from October 21-November 19, 2017. Tickets range in price from $25-$105 each, $15 rush tickets for currently enrolled students under age 25 with valid student ID, and Young Professional discounts available with YP-CPH Membership. To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or visit Groups of 10+ save up to 40% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027.

Subscriptions: Subscribers save up to 17%. Full and flexible season packages range from $262 – $440. To purchase subscriptions or get more information, call 216-400-7096 or visit


CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE founded in 1915 and recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is America's first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates the beginning of its second century of service while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland.

Cleveland Play House is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.


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