“Have you heard? There’s a rumor in St. Petersburg!” The Princess Anastasia is bringing music, dance, and romance to the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City. Nominated for 2 Tony Awards, Anastasia has quickly become one of the most anticipated musicals of the year.
Based on the 1997 cartoon movie, Anastasia takes you on a “journey to the past” to the time of Soviet Russia. The Romanov family is gone but the Princess Anastasia is possibly alive. Having no memories of who she is Anya teams up with a handsome, young con man named Dimitri and a disgraced ex-aristocrat named Vlad to help her unravel the past and be united with the only family she has left.
From the moment the overture begins you are reminded of the songs you fell in love with from the film. The nostalgia is instant as the curtain rises and a young Anastasia is singing a familiar dream-like lullaby with her grandmother. Yet, while much of the music is familiar, there is a fresh new spin on many of the songs that bring a new light to the show. Some original songs have also been added that give audience members a better understanding of what is really going on in the hearts of the characters. You see deeper into their lives as they sing about leaving their homeland, remembering their lost dreams, and finding hope in a future that is ostensibly grey. The tunes and lyrics of the added numbers help you to connect to the story more fully and relate to the characters on a personal level.
It is impossible not to notice the impeccable detail that has gone into the set of this fabulous production. The set, though seemingly simple, is complete with constantly moving and changing backdrops that can transport you to many different locations. You feel as if you are really traveling on a train across Europe as trees zoom across the scene unfolding before your eyes. It is easy to feel as if you are on an adventure of your own. The colors of each setting are vibrant and cause the stage to transform into a world you never want to leave.
The costumes, paired with such phenomenal music and scenery, complete the painting of the show. The captivating designs and colors fit perfectly into the culture and time period of this historical piece. Iconic dresses from the movie have been recreated to sparkle exquisitely under the stage lights. Each regal creation left the audience mesmerized and makes it impossible for you to look away. It is easy to see that there were no shortcuts taken in the making of this musical.
Most importantly, the actors of this show were absolutely incredible. The stage overflowed with talent as leads Christy Altomare and Derek Klena brought to life the characters of Anya and Dimitri. There was an authenticity about them that is hard to come by in many stage productions. They truly became their characters both with their voices and with their movements. The emotion behind each wonderfully sung lyric was almost tangible as their radiant voices rang throughout the theater. You would never know that they were acting; they both seemed to be exactly who they were portraying. Altomare and Klena became lost in their characters and the audience went right along with them.
Anastasia is an enchanting, delightful show that will take you on a journey to discover the past and steal your heart with music, mystery, adventure, and romance. It takes you places you never thought possible and leaves you wanting more. So, buy your ticket and start out on your own journey to discover the brilliance that is Anastasia!