broadway · first impressions · musical theater

First Impressions: Anastasia the Musical

Happy Friday, y’all! Hope you’ve had a good week – this one seemed to go by quite fast which is both exciting and worrisome because that means the semester is almost over!…but I still have final projects to complete O_O.

I LOVE musical theatre, but I’m not going to offend any musical theatre-junkies by saying that I’m a crazy huge fan because I’ve only seen like 3 live performances and I can’t name every musical ever or tell you who won which Tony what year, etc.

But I do love and admire everything about musical theatre – the music, the acting, the staging, etc. Some days I’ll just spend hours in bed watching previous Tony performances on Youtube. I perform too and have always wanted to do more musical theatre, but my life has always been more focused on solo voice and choral performance. But performance is performance, and musical theatre is just another amazing form of it!

I’m not totally incompetent when it comes to MT, though! I know some of the big names, major shows, and most beloved numbers. I’m a bit biased, but I usually prefer more of the classic musicals such as West Side Story, The Music Man, and ANYTHING by Rodgers and Hammerstein! I love The King and I, The Sound of Music, and Carousel (I sang If I Loved You as my encore at my senior voice recital).

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But I do love contemporary musicals as well like Wicked, Hamilton, and Disney film-to-musical adaptations. Speaking of film-to-musical adaptations (like my segue??), Anastasia the Musical officially premiered on Broadway this past Monday, April 24th! If you’ve never seen the original animated film, Anastasia (1997) is a fictional re-imagining of the life of the youngest daughter Nicholas II, Russia’s last Tsar, after his forced abdication. Do yourself a favor and go watch it because it is HILARIOUS and the music is amazing – definitely meant to be made into a musical! Anastasia is often mistaken for being a Disney Princess because she’s just that awesome (and also, its directors, Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, were former Disney animators!). I wouldn’t call it a cult-classic, but it does have a huge following and many of its fans, like myself, grew up watching and loving this movie, calling Anya our favorite Honorary Disney Princess.

Yesterday on my bookstagram, I had my weekly #SingPrettyDay (click to see), and the song I sang was Once Upon a December from the movie! (Go ahead, swipe left, and give it a listen…but you know…you don’t have to LOL).

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Just based on the youtube preview clips, this musical really does LOOK amazing! I love the simple set and the whole Romantic night in Paris palette of the staging (because she does eventually end up Paris, in the show, if you don’t know that of course). The costumes are fantastic and they really tried to stay true to the film in that area!

I think Christy Altomore has a big, beautiful voice – very belty and contemporary. As mentioned earlier, I’m more of a classic MT kind of person, and I was hoping that Anya wouldn’t be so…showy.  This is definitely an unfortunate change in my opinion. She doesn’t have that sass  that she should have (especially with Dmitry!). She always has a hilarious comeback for everything Dmitry has to say, which she says quiet enough to be snarky, but loud enough for him to hear it.

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Honestly, I could have a whole post just dedicated to the beauty that is Derek Klena, who plays love-interest and con-artist Dmitry! LOOK AT HIM! According to this article, they even try to maintain Dmitry’s flippy/flowy hair from the movie!! Something about this boy’s hair is just sooo sexy, haha!

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As is expected, there are quite a number of changes from the animated film (visit the show’s wiki to see a full list). Some notable changes include the fact that Anya is more serious and her relationship with Dmitry is not as sarcastic as Anastasia fans might expect. But one of the biggest changes is that the film’s main antagonist, Rasputin, and his sidekick Bat, Bartok, were cut! Gleb Vaganov, played by Ramin Karimloo, is a General of the Bolsheviks who now control Russia and is sort of an antagonist…but not really. Yes…he definitely wants to kill her at some point…but he also ends up falling in love with her…alright, so now there’s a love triangle? *Sigh* definitely not what I was hoping for.

I didn’t mean for this post to be so long! But I will say that I’m pretty excited about the grandma…when I saw her in the preview clips she was about as sophisticated and graceful as her animated counterpart!

Overall, I’m not entirely pleased with all the changes they made. While I’m sure it’s still a stunning show altogether and the performances by the cast are stellar, I fear it doesn’t do the film any justice which is what led this production to be created. Being me, I’m not sure if I’ll get to see this show because I don’t have the funds to see shows as often as I’d like. But if it does come to Philly in the future, I would probably still go see it!

Let me know in the comments below if you’re a huge Anastasia fan too and what you think about the stage production!

Speaking of Philly, Aladdin is FINALLY scheduled to come to Kimmel next summer (2018)!!! I’m waiting for the announcement about tickets because I plan on dropping MAD money to see it and get really amazing seats. Saving up for Aladdin tix starrrrrrts NOW!

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4 thoughts on “First Impressions: Anastasia the Musical

  1. Ahhh! Anastasia is my 2nd fave animated movie of all time (the first being Mulan, of course) and I’m dying to see the musical but I’m way too broke and far away to, haha. I’m glad I saw this post to give me an update on how it’s going, though! ♡

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG THE BLUE DRESS. I’m really excited for this show, though I don’t know when I’ll ever actually see it, lol. The biggest thing I’m worried about is the new villain. All the other changes I’m ok with and even excited about because I like seeing different interpretations of material. But Rasputin is just such a great villain, and I’m not a fan of yet another love triangle. I’m sure the show will be great, though. Awesome post! Live seeing other MT fans on the blogosphere!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YASSS! Isn’t the dress amazing!! All of the costume designing is just beautiful and ASLDKAJSDLK!! I agree – I think Rasputin and Bartok are AMAZING and “In the Dark of the Night” was one of my favorite songs from the movie!! (aka, all the songs are my favorites LOL). I think the show will still be great too 🙂 And thanks for stopping by! I’m glad to meet other musical geeks here too!

      Liked by 1 person

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