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FreshBaked Theatre Company Performs Goodbye, Marianne

actress reading letter

Marianne, played by Carolyn Lodge, reads a letter from her mother as she prepares for a new life in Canada.

Widener University's FreshBaked Theatre Company will present "Goodbye, Marianne" on two consecutive Sundays, March 16 and March 23, at 2 p.m. in Alumni Auditorium, located on Widener's Main Campus in Chester, Pa. The play is based on the true story of a young Jewish girl at the start of World War II. It is for children ages 9 and up and families. Running time is 50 minutes.

The FreshBaked Theatre Company will also host special matinee performances for local schools and homeschooling families by reservation only. Contact Director Lisa Eckley Cocchiarale at for more information.

Admission to all performances of "Goodbye, Marianne" is by free will cash donation, with all funds benefiting community aid organizations in Chester. Suggested donation is $1-2 per person.

Set in Berlin in the days immediately following Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass;" November 9, 1938), "Goodbye Marianne" is a true story of hope in a time of terror. Based on author Irene Kirstein Watts' childhood experiences in Nazi Germany, this moving play explores how friendship and love help us to survive even the darkest of days.

In the play, young Marianne Kohn arrives at school one morning to find that Jewish students are no longer permitted to attend. On her way home, she makes an unexpected friend, Ernst. When Ernst discovers Marianne is Jewish—and she finds that he belongs to the Hitler Youth—they quarrel bitterly, leaving Marianne with little hope for the friendship. Before Marianne's escape to Canada, however, Ernst gives her a gift that renews her hope for the future and helps her see that all people are not the same.

For those who are familiar with the beloved "Diary of Anne Frank," "Goodbye, Marianne" expands the stories of Holocaust-era children. Because Marianne's story has a very different ending, it is a gentle introduction to the Holocaust for young audience members.

"Goodbye, Marianne" is produced by special arrangement with Dramatic Publishing Company. The cast features Widener University students Luis Aguilar of Chester; Autumn Heisler of Allentown, Pa.; Carolyn Lodge of Downingtown, Pa.; Kirk Reichart of Larksville, Pa.; Erika Sprague of West Deptford, N.J.; Kim Vogel of Camden, Del.; and Morgan Wieziolowski of Horseheads, N.Y., as well as Robert Reutter, senior lecturer of English. It is directed by Cocchiarale, with technical direction by Daniel Castagna.

Since 2001, Widener's FreshBaked Theatre Company has produced quality drama for children and families in the greater Chester area. The ensemble seeks to enhance Widener University's commitment to civic engagement by sharing the magic of live performing arts. "Our mission is to present inventive drama for young minds and the people who nurture them," said Cocchiarale.

For more information, please e-mail Cocchiarale at

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,300 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free campus. Visit the university website,