Broadway adaptation of Anastasia makes opening debut

Anastasia 1.jpg

By Lauren Medeiros, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Opening for its first night on April 24, the new musical Anastasia arrived on Broadway after making waves at the Hartford Stage in Connecticut.

Returning to the stage from its original run, Christy Altomare and Derek Klena will reprise their roles as the lead characters Anya and Dmitri respectively.

The show is an updated stage adaptation of 20th Century Fox’s 1997 animated film of the same name. Much to the delight of fans, a majority of the original film’s score has made a return in the live adaptation, albeit with some notable changes.

Rasputin, the film’s main antagonist (based off of the historical advisor to the Romanov royal family), has been cut from the production to improve the show’s reach for accuracy.

Although the show is fictional in nature, the play’s producers and writers removed the villain in order to streamline the plot and make it possible to perform the show live.

Set in post-revolutionary St. Petersburg, the Russian Czar and his family have been executed and the country is in despair after the end of the war. Anastasia follows the story of the young Anya who dreams of a better future for herself while desperately trying to recall her forgotten past.

She meets con men Dmitri and Vlad, who are looking for a young girl to play the part of Princess Anastasia, in order to collect the reward put up by the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, Anastasia’s grandmother.

The story makes a grand entrance onto the stage, as it is both visually stunning and emotionally compelling. Set designers incorporated moving panels into the floor to aid in ballroom dance scenes and a digital screen behind set pieces that provides a dynamic, easily changeable backdrop.

Aside from the initial nostalgic draw to the film, each cast member breathes new life into their characters, creating a fresh and distinctly memorable experience for theatre goers interested in seeing it.

I myself was lucky enough to see the last showing of Anastasia’s Hartford premier, and it left me wanting more after the final curtain closed.

One of the original songs from the show, “In a Crowd of Thousands,” left much of the audience humming as we left the theatre. With much of the original cast intact, I have high hopes for the eventual release of its Broadway soundtrack.

After months of practice and careful changes, the Broadway show is sure to have hammered out any of the minor kinks in the show’s initial run, from costumes to minute choreography details.

New teasers of the performance have been circulating around the internet, and YouTube has been plugging ads for the release for the past few months. Admittedly, I haven’t been able to skip them despite seeing them far too many times, but the show’s musical performances have only improved since its May-June run in 2016.

Currently the show is booked through January 2018, and the first few months have already sold out online. Seats are priced anywhere from the $69 mezzanine seating to the $359 premium seating options.

Anastasia is a show that is sure to please anyone who goes to see it. Fans familiar with the original movie will be happy to see a mix of new and old music, as well as the enthusiastic on-stage portrayals of the well-loved animated versions of the characters.

Those unfamiliar with the show will be in for a treat as well, as the live adaptation is artfully done and masterfully executed.

Tickets for the show are selling quickly, and I would advise anyone who is interested to get seats as soon as possible.

The show is simply breathtaking, and it is an investment well worth making.

Photo Courtesy: Hartford Stage

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