St. Louis native MAURA KIDWELL (Clayton HS ’00) is drawing raves for her turn as Miep Gies in The Rep’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank, which runs through March 7. Kidwell plays the Dutch woman who served as Anne Frank’s protector from the Nazis during World War II. “While she did play a big role in helping the Franks, she didn’t see herself as anything extraordinary,” Kidwell says. “Knowing that about her takes the pressure off me as it relates to my role in the show.” The real Gies passed away in early January, one week before Kidwell began rehearsals for Anne Frank. “She was the one who actually preserved the diary—and she never even looked at it for all those years!” The Chicago-based Kidwell is a member of Redtwist Theatre and also counts commercials and industrial and feature films among her credits. Her parents are MARY and TIM KIDWELL of Clayton.

    It’s time to CELEBRATE FITNESS once again! The annual fitness event to benefit the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Program at Siteman Cancer Center takes place March 6 at the Washington University Athletic Complex. The 90-minute fitness workshop for men and women features aerobics, yoga, boot camp, and a 5k run/walk. Pre-registration is $30; $35 at the door. Visit for more information. Ladue News co-sponsors the event.

    Play time! The City of Clayton has been awarded a $75,000 grant for a new playground in Shaw Park. The money from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will build a facility that addresses the needs of children with disabilities and will meet all accessibility requirements.

    Webster University debate coach GINA JENSEN is the latest in a string of fashion victims to appear on TLC’s hit show, ‘What Not to Wear.’ Last week’s episode showed how the style-challenged professor was secretly videotaped for two weeks last fall and ambushed by hosts STACY LONDON and CLINTON KELLY, who confronted her about her fashion miscues, including her penchant for acid-washed, high-waist, tapered Mom jeans and high-top sneakers. For playing along, Jensen was rewarded with a trip to New York to consult with renowned stylists and a $5,000 shopping spree.

    Further along the dial…Students at LADUE HORTON WATKINS HIGH SCHOOL were treated to a first-person account of what it’s like to work for cable TV’s hottest shows. Earlier this month, St. Louisan ANDY COHEN, who was in town to host a benefit for Doorways of St. Louis, visited the school to talk to students about his job as Bravo’s senior VP of programming and development. Cohen oversees hit shows like ‘Top Chef,’ ‘The Real Housewives of Orange County,’ ‘Shear Genius,’ and ‘The Millionaire Matchmaker.’ He’s also host of ‘Watch What Happens Live,’ the network’s late-night talk show.

    Artist ANNE CARMACK is returning to her native University City for her first hometown exhibition. Carmack, a ’94 Nerinx Hall grad, is a mixed media artist based in Los Angeles. Her show, ‘Who We Used to Be,’ is a collection of recent works inspired by the idea of growing up and leaving home in search of independent adulthood. The exhibit runs March 2 through 31 at University City Public Library.

    Our town’s CIRCUS FLORA has announced its 24th season production, ‘Ingenioso.’ Inspired by Don Quixote’s ‘impossible dream,’ the show features plenty of Spanish flair and galloping conquistadors, classic equestrian ballet and breathtaking aerial acts. The show premieres at Grand Center June 3 and runs through June 27. Tickets go on sale March 15 through MetroTix.

    Some 200 rare photographs are featured in the new book, Historic Photos of Missouri. Written by ALAN GOFORTH and featuring images culled from the Library of Congress and the Missouri State Archives, the book explores the settlement of the Show-Me-State from the founding of the frontier to the growth of St. Louis and Kansas City. 

    RABBI ELIZABETH HERSH is the new Jewish community chaplain for Jewish Family & Child ren’s Service. She previously served as rabbi at United Hebrew Congre gation in St. Louis and was most recently rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Sydney, Australia.