The first time I saw Anastasia The Musical I didn’t really understand why people were so obsessed with it. I thought it was good, fine, had some good songs and a terrifically talented cast that were better than their material.
After last night though, I understand what it’s all about. For some reason, it clicked so much more with me last night than it did the first time. Maybe it was the fact that I wasn’t standing with the top half of the stage cut off, maybe it was just because I had more of an idea of what to expect.
Something about the story fell into place last night and I don’t know why. There were moments such as The Opening, Once Upon a December, Journey To The Past and more that really struck a chord with me. I think I understand the notion of desperately trying to re-connect with and accept your past in order to move forward in the world — but for a purpose. The familial aspects of loss and reconnection several years later adds an emotional side to the already epic plot. I am so happy I went to see it again, because I intend on going back.
The show is beautiful visually, I think maybe one of the most beautiful shows I have ever seen. The projections mixed with the computer screens, the physical set pieces and costumes makes the whole thing so visually captivating, and then there’s the story, which features three very likable characters as it’s center, played by phenomenal talents.
Christy Altomare truly blew me away this time in the title role. Everything she does is executed with so much intent and heart. Her voice is beautiful, she’s a very wide-eyed and sweet Anastasia, but not unempowered, especially as she begins to accept who she is. Derek Klena is so charming, not to mention a rock solid vocalist, and is so believable and likable as Dmitry. The character starts off a little bit of a scoundrel but quickly grows a heart, but one that he never really lacked. His transformation is touching and beautiful. Max Von Essen is, in almost every way, better than Ramin Karimloo as Gleb. More layered, less black and white, and a more emotional vocalist. I liked his journey through the show a lot. And of course John Bolton and Caroline O’ Connor steal the second act, with very large but not overdone or unnecessary comedy. I do feel that Mary Beth Peil’s talents as the Dowager Emperess were a little bit wasted. She’s got a beautiful voice and her grief was tangible.
I am so happy to have seen this again and look forward to next time.