The Greek origins of the name “Anastasia” mean “Resurrection”, which is extremely appropriate not only for the musical itself but also for the story behind the story, the road to Broadway and worldwide fame. Based on a real-life rumor that circulated in Russia, about a family that succumbed to an execution led by the Bolshevik secret police with only young daughter Anastasia escaping, this story about family and the bonds that we share with our loved ones is one that will make you wonder, believe and unite with them. Follow along for the synopsis, the road that the production took to reach Broadway and of course, tips on where to find the best tickets for “Anastasia – The Musical” that you can ever find online.
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Based on the original films from 1956 and 1997, the story is told from the point of view of young Anya, an orphan that loses her family and is searching for any sort of roots that she could find, in order to reveal the faith of her lost ones. Anya is selected by con men Dimitry and Vlad after an audition inside an old theater in Saint Petersburg, where the two almost had given up in finding a girl that could impose Anastasia and therefore make the rumors that the young girl escaped the secret police attacks believable.
Back in the capital, Gleb Vaganov, the man promising peace and prosperity after the end of the attacks sort through the rumors and when he gets to hear about Anya and her two con men, he refuses to take them seriously. In the meantime, Dimitry and Vlad prepare Anya to become a veritable Anastasia through dancing and history lessons for when she is poised to meet with the Dowager Empress.
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Anya gets arrested on the streets and is presented to Gleb, who as soon as he meets her has a strange sense that the poor orphan might, in fact, be the real deal. The story follows the road that Anya and her two con men take in order to find the truth, with twists and turns and with enough action to keep you in your seat until the very end.
Past, Present, Future
The very first origins of the story lie in the play written by talented French writer Marcelle Maurette, which was inspired by the true story of Anna Anderson, one of the most famous impostors who pretended to be Anastasia and ask for her inheritance at the time. Her play was turned into a drama movie in 1952, directed by Anatole Litvak, with production locations in Paris, London and Copenhagen. The original movie was followed by a 1997 animation directed by Walt Disney’s Don Bluth.
The movie dealt with a lot of criticism by some historians, because of its superimposed retelling of the life lived by the Grand Duchess, although a lot of positive reviews also surfaced about it. The animated movie received a nomination at the 70th edition of the Oscars. Following the success of the movie, the industry went all in and released video games, books, other movies and adaptations and a stage musical in 2016.
The first reading of the new play was held in 2012, followed by a workshop in 2015 in New York City with Elena Shaddow playing Anya. The very first stage production of the play premiered at the “Hartford Stage” Theater in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 13, 2016. The original cast included Christy Altomare as Anya, Derek Klena, Dmitry, John Bolton as Vlad and Mary Beth Peil as Dowager Empress. The play was directed by Darko Tresnjak, with choreography by Peggy Hickey.
On April 24, 2017, the musical officially opened on Broadway, at the gorgeous Broadhurst Theater on 44th Street. Most of the original cast is still featured in the play today. Although the musical suffered from the harsh reviews of theater critics since its conception, it still is one of the most appreciated performances in the industry today, with thousands of patrons flocking to see it every week.
For the European debut of the play, a Spanish production is set to open its gates starting fall of 2018. The musical will play at the “Coliseum Theater” in Madrid, Spain.
About the director
Born in Zemun, a small suburbia of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, Darko Tresnjak has won a Tony Award in 2014 for “Best Direction of a Musical” with the play “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”, which he directed on Broadway from 2013 until 2016. Darko is famous for his directing plays like “Romeo and Juliet”, “Macbeth”, “Hamlet”, “Private Lives” and dozens of others, most of which were produced at the “Hartford Stage Theater” in Connecticut. Darko lives a minimalist life in Manchester, with his husband, costume designer Josh Pearson and their French bulldog, Hector.
If you want to get your hands on the best tickets to “Anastasia – The Musical”, all you have to do is check up the official website at anastasiabroadway.com, where you can find the full schedule and prices list. Ticket prices start at 69$ for the Mezzanine and $89 for the Orchestra and can go up to $250 and above for a premium seat.
The musical is in production twice per day every single Wednesday and Saturday, at 2:00 PM and 7:30/8:00 PM and once per day every other day of the week, except Mondays, from 7:00 PM. For the detailed schedule, please visit the official website. Make sure you also go ahead and check places like SeatGeek and StubHub for price comparison.
Facts about “Anastasia – The Musical”
- The play consists of 16 musical numbers in both Act 1 and 2, for a total of 32, 8 of which are found in the original 1997 animated film;
- The original animated movie from 1997 had a budget of $50 million, but grossed almost $140 million worldwide, earning the title of the “most profitable animated movie” from Don Bluth and Fox Animation Studios to date.