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What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

Spring 2021

Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre
Conrad Prebys Theatre Center

World premiere
By Nathan Englander
Directed by Barry Edelstein

Pulitzer Prize finalist Nathan Englander and director Barry Edelstein wowed Globe audiences with The Twenty-Seventh Man, and now they team up again for this world premiere of a modern-day comedy of friendship. What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank is Englander’s adaptation of his award-winning short story about two high school friends from suburban New York whose adult lives have taken them to opposite ends of the earth, and to wildly different experiences of culture, religion, and family. Reuniting for the first time in years, their love for each other is tested by the distance that has grown between them… and also by their husbands, who don’t exactly see eye to eye. Englander’s distinctive voice—by turns hilarious, outrageous, and emotional—makes this play a uniquely funny and smart exploration of how we see ourselves, and how our friends see us. Contains strong language.

Production Sponsors
Elaine and Dave Darwin
Sheila and Jeffrey Lipinsky
Jean and Gary Shekhter
Karen and Stuart Tanz
Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Fund

Artist Sponsors for Nathan Englander (playwright)
Sandra and Arthur Levinson

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank is the 2020 winner of The Blanche and Irving Laurie Theatre Visions Fund.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.



Publicity Photos

Nathan Englander
Nathan Englander. Photo courtesy of The Old Globe.
Barry Edelstein
Barry Edelstein. Photo by Jim Cox.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank will run May 28 – June 28, 2020 at The Old Globe. Artwork courtesy of The Old Globe.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank will run May 28 – June 28, 2020 at The Old Globe. Artwork courtesy of The Old Globe.

Cast and Creative


Nathan Englander (Playwright) premiered the theatrical adaptation of his short story The Twenty-Seventh Man at The Public Theater in New York in November 2012. The play had its West Coast premiere at The Old Globe in 2015. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a PEN/Malamud Award, a Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and a Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2013. Englander’s most recent book is the novel kaddish.com. He is also the author of the story collections For the Relief of Unbearable Urges,an international best seller, and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, as well as the novels The Ministry of Special Cases and Dinner at the Center of the Earth. He is Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University and lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and daughter.

Barry Edelstein (Director, Old Globe Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director) is a stage director, producer, author, and educator. He has directed nearly half of the Bard’s plays. His Globe directing credits include The Winter’s Tale, Othello, The Twenty-Seventh Man, the world premiere of Rain, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Hamlet, and the world premiere of The Wanderers, and the American premiere of Life After. He also directed All’s Well That Ends Well as the inaugural production of the Globe for All community tour. He recently oversaw the Globe’s inaugural Classical Directing Fellowship program and directed The Tempest with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall. As Director of the Shakespeare Initiative at The Public Theater (2008–2012), Edelstein oversaw all of the company’s Shakespearean productions as well as its educational, community outreach, and artist-training programs. At The Public, he staged the world premiere of The Twenty-Seventh Man, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, Timon of Athens, and Steve Martin’s WASP and Other Plays. He was also Associate Producer of The Public’s Broadway production of The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino. From 1998 to 2003 he was Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company. His book Thinking Shakespeare, which was rereleased in a second edition in June, is the standard text on American Shakespearean acting. He is also the author of Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions. He is a graduate of Tufts University and the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.