Embark on a Journey to the Past in Anastasia the Musical
When the animated film Anastasia premiered almost two decades ago, critics called it “charming” and “entertaining,” albeit with many historical inaccuracies. In 2016, a musical stage play by the same name took Broadway by storm. Anastasia the musical brings a fantastic retelling of a legendary story that captured the minds and hearts of historians and ordinary people alike.
The Anastasia stage musical premiered in Hartford Stage in Connecticut under the award-winning director, Darko Tresnjak. Though largely based on the movie, the musical added characters and altered some plot lines.
From the Russian Empire, Anastasia the musical sweeps the audience into the euphoria of 1920s Paris where a courageous young woman seeks to solve the puzzle of her past. Anya is an orphan who has no recollection of her life before. She cannot remember anything about her childhood or her family. When a ruthless Soviet officer pursues and tries to silence her, she is helped by a dashing conman and an ex-aristocrat, who, unknown to Anya, wants to take advantage of her likeness to Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, Czar Nicholas II’s youngest daughter. Their treacherous journey involves death and a bold escape. In Paris, Anya has to confront her past, find her family, and come to terms with who she really is.
Anastasia the musical retains the score from the animated film, with songwriters Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens adapting their melodic film score to the stage. Their song (which is more like a popular anthem), “Journey to the Past,” takes the highlight. There are new numbers that appeal to emotions and add comic relief.
The notable cast of Anastasia musical includes Christy Altomare who plays Anya, John Bolton as the conman, and Mary Beth Peil as the dowager empress who embodies imperial gravitas and a grandmother’s heartbreak and joy.
The lavish settings and stunning costumes dazzle the audience. The soaring musical score does its wonders too. Its merit, however, heavily lies on Anastasia’s character who perfectly fits the Broadway role model every girl is searching for. Anastasia the musical also contains all the necessary elements to captivate a diverse audience—those looking for sentimentality, entertainment, or both. There is love and romance, a complex villain, comic characters, and an endearing supporting cast.
Anastasia the musical will be a treat to theatergoers and fans of the animated musical film. Have you watched it already? Let’s talk about it in the comments below. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Also, my book, Born to Create, is available in several online bookstores. You might want to check it out.
Rizo, Frank. 2017. “Broadway Review: ‘Anastasia,’ The Musical.” Variety, April 24. Accessed October 18, 2017. http://variety.com/2017/legit/reviews/anastasia-review-broadway-musical-1202393569/.
Anastasia Broadway. n.d. “Anastasia: Home at Last – On Broadway.” Accessed October 18, 2017. https://www.anastasiabroadway.com/.