Good at Heart Awards: Open Stage celebrates 20 years of Anne Frank with gala

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While Harrisburg is ringing in St. Patrick’s Day, Open Stage will be hosting its own event … and boy, do they have reasons to celebrate.

On March 17, Open Stage hosts the “Good at Heart Celebration & Awards” at the Scottish Rite Cathedral commemorating 20 years of The Diary of Anne Frank at Open Stage.

The theatre has produced The Diary of Anne Frank annually for 20 years, an honor no other theatre company in the world has achieved. The production correlates with the local middle school curriculum, and the collaborative learning experience, now known as “The Anne Frank Project,” has been presented to nearly 35,000 Harrisburg-area students over the past 20 seasons. This year’s school-day matinee performances run from March 12-15, and the theatre anticipates nearly 4,000 students will see the production over the four-day schedule.

In addition to celebrating the theatre’s milestone, the gala also includes an awards ceremony honoring several community members. Five awards will be given to Marianne Fischer (Open Stage Founder), Nicholas Hughes (Open Stage Board Emeritus), Rabbi Peter Kessler (Temple A Sholom), and The Edward S. Finkelstein Harrisburg Jewish Film Festival.

The most celebrated award of the night will honor and celebrate Holocaust Survivor Hilda Mantelmacher, who has supported the theatre’s “The Anne Frank Project” since its opening in 1999. Mantelmacher has shared her story of survival with students in post-performance presentations and Q&A sessions. She shares her story with students again after this year’s matinee performances.

“This story was written 70 years ago, but its core message still rings true today. You had a girl who went through terrible things, but yet she still believed that there was good in the world”, says Open Stage’s Marketing Manager Rachel Landon. “We’re not only honored to present such a powerful project to new generations but to honor those that truly exemplify the spirit of Anne Frank, especially the incredible Hilda Mantelmacher.”

The Good at Heart Celebration and Awards start at 6 p.m. on March 17 with a reception featuring hors d’oeuvres, wine, and music. The Award ceremony is at 7 p.m. and features a retrospective of the 20 years of Open Stage’s The Diary of Anne Frank productions, live entertainment, and celebrations of the honorees.

Guests can also enjoy “Let Me Be Myself – the Life Story of Anne Frank,” a new exhibit from the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, which will be displayed throughout the week and during the celebration.

Tickets to The Good at Heart Celebration & Awards are available at or by calling Open Stage’s box office at 717-232-6736.

Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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