Inspired by the beloved films, the romantic and adventure-filled new musical Anastasia comes to Broadway.
From the Tony Award®-winning creators of the Broadway musical Ragtime, this dazzling show transports us from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920’s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past.
Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing con man and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love and family.
As Anastasia piles discovery upon discovery, the happiest surprise is how consistently good the musical turns out to be. Smartly adapted by Terrence McNally from the 1997 animated film and the 1956 Ingrid Bergman movie—with Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens impressively expanding their score from the former—Anastasia is a sweeping adventure, romance and historical epic whose fine craftsmanship will satisfy musical-theater fans beyond the show’s ideal audience of teenage girls. (When I saw it, a second-act kiss was greeted with deafening shrieks of approval.)
Young women and girls in search of a new Broadway role model need look no further than the title character in “Anastasia,” the sumptuous fairy tale of a musical that should please the kids, satisfy the sentimental and comfort those who thought the old templates for musical comedy were passé. The broad strokes of the familiar — a romantic young couple, a villain in hot pursuit, comic supporting characters, an endearing family member — can still be irresistible when combined with taste, craftsmanship and a willing suspension of disbelief.
There are moments during the new musical Anastasia when the squeals of the tween girls packing the audience approach Beatlemania levels of hysteria. Some seem mildly perplexing, such as a handsomely staged ballet interlude from Swan Lake. But hey, girls love a tutu. Others are more understandable, like the long-anticipated first kiss of the title character — who may be the amnesiac Grand Duchess, last surviving child of the Russian Royal Family of Tsar Nicholas II — and her hot commoner sweetheart Dmitry. Even more ear-splitting are the screams that greet the curtain calls of the lead actors playing those characters, by which time the Fanastasia contingent's princess-fantasy lust has been thoroughly stoked.