THE PUBLIC THEATER SCHEDULES TWO ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES OF RINNE GROFF'S NEW PLAY
BY HENRY EDWARDS
The Public Theater's world premiere production of Rinne Groff's “Compulsion,” plays two additional performances on Fri. Mar. 4 and Sat. Mar. 5 at 8 PM.
Groff’s play stars Emmy- and Tony Award-winner Mandy Patinkin in his first dramatic stage role in ten years.
No stranger to The Public Theater, Patinkin was at one time a mainstay of the New York Shakespeare Festival. Not only did he made his first significant appearance in a musical at The Public, but he also launched his solo concert career at the venue. Patinkin last appeared on Broadway in The Public Theater’s 2000 production of “The Wild Party."
“Compulsion” is directed by Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis.
Playwright Groff characterizes her play as a work of fiction based on one chapter in Meyer Levin’s life.
“It wasn’t the only chapter in his life, but it was a doozy,” she says.
In 1951, Levin, a war correspondent and film maker, discovered “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,” which had just been published in France. Convinced that the diary was the essential story of the Holocaust, the writer passionately campaigned to have the work published in English, after most New York publishers had originally rejected it. He then wrote a front-page rave review of the book for The New York Times which turned the diary into a best seller.
Levin asked for only one thing in return: permission from Anne’s father Otto Frank to adapt the diary into a play. However, when Levin’s version was subsequently rejected, and a successful adaptation by Hollywood writers Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett opened on Broadway in 1955, the writer, consumed by paranoia and rage, devoted the rest of his life to engaging in a futile battle to redress what he considered to be a great wrong.
Levin knew he was destroying his life, but he was a man obsessed, and his obsession was a doozy.
“Compulsion” gave its first preview on Feb. 1, prior to an official opening on Feb. 17. The limited engagement closes on Mar. 13.