Yale Rep Play Tells Tale of Driven Author and His ‘Compulsion’

The diary of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl whose family hid from the Nazis in Holland for two harrowing years, fuels one man’s mission in “Compulsion,” the next play at the Yale Repertory Theatre.

The world premiere of the play by Rinne Groff will be directed by Oskar Eustis, and is co-produced by The Public Theater and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. It will run Jan. 29-Feb. 28 at the Yale Rep, 1120 Chapel St. (at York Street.)

“Compulsion” focuses on Sid Silver (played by Tony- and Emmy-award winning actor Mandy Patinkin), who wants nothing more than to bring Anne Frank’s story to an American audience, believing he’s the right man to translate the young girl’s diary and adapt it for the stage. But his passion spirals into a lifelong obsession when a New York publishing house reveals its own plans for what would become one of the most powerful and enduring documents of the 20th century.

The play is based on the real-life story of American novelist Meyer Levin, one of the first people to recognize the literary and dramatic potential of Frank’s diary.

“Compulsion” marks the Yale Rep debuts of both Groff, whose plays have been praised for their “kaleidoscope style,” and Eustis, the artistic director of The Public Theater.

In addition to Patinkin, who won a Tony Award for his Broadway debut in “Evita” and an Emmy Award for his role on the television drama “Chicago Hope,” the cast for “Compulsion” includes Hannah Cabell (Miss Merman, Mrs. Silver), Stephen Barker Turner (Mr. Thomas, Mr. Harris, Mr. Ferris, Mr. Matzliach, Mr. Williams) and puppeteers Emily DeCola, Liam Hurley and Eric Wright.

The play features sets by Eugene Lee, costumes by Lisa Loen, lighting by Marie Yokoyama, sound by Darron West, puppets by Matt Acheson, dramaturgy by Amy Boratko, vocal and dialect coaching by Thom Jones and stage management by Jessica Barker.

“Compulsion” will be staged 8 p.m. nightly, except for Sunday, Jan. 31, when the play will begin at 7 p.m.; there will be no performances on, Feb. 6; Feb. 8-15; and Feb. 27. There will be 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays, Feb. 7, 17, 21 and 28. Special events include: “Opening Night,” Feb. 4; “Senior Reception,” Feb. 17 (before the 2 p.m. show); “Grad Night,” Feb. 20 (before the 8 p.m. show); “Talk Back” discussions with cast and crew, Feb. 7, 18 and 20 (after the 2 p.m. show); open captioning at the Feb. 20 matinee; and audio description at the Feb. 28 matinee.

Tickets for “Compulsion” range from $35 to $82 and are available online at www.yalerep.org, by phone at 203-432-1234, and in person at the Yale Rep box office. Student, senior and group rates are also available. In addition, all tickets for the Monday, Feb. 1, performance are $10.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345