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Best Children's Theater 

Hana's Suitcase

If it's escapism you seek, you don't have to look far. Wherever we turn, hucksters are only too eager to take our money and help us forget the world's ills, when sometimes what we need most is to remember them. The U.S. premiere of Hana's Suitcase, a stage adaptation of the popular children's book by Karen Levine, was billed as children's theater. But this fact-based account of the unearthing of the life (and death) of a young girl who perished in Auschwitz during World War II was children's theater in the same way that Bambi is a children's movie — which is to say, in name only. The exquisite production, directed by Carol North and imaginatively designed by Dunsi Dai, provided a haunting dreamscape of a nightmarish past. During Hana's brief run, St. Louis was a better place simply because this play was happening here.

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