Journeying to the Past: “Anastasia” National Tour

Review by Ariel Mary Ann 

Cincinnati journeys to the past with the gorgeous national tour of Anastasia, which opened at the Aronoff this Tuesday. Based on the hit 1997 20th Century Fox animated film, this musical adaption follows Anastasia as she longs to remember who she once was. Aided by two con men, Dmitry, and Vlad, the three make their way from Leningrad previously known as St. Petersburg to Paris.

Veronica Stern (Anya) in the North American Tour of ANASTASIA – Photo by Evan Zimmerman for Murphy Made

Featuring direction by Sarah Hartmann and choreography by Bill Burns, the ensemble moves effortlessly on stage with ease. Leading the show as Anastasia is recent Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music graduate, Veronica Stern. Stern explores each note and melody with a softness to her voice–a great choice for a character who’s searching for her truth. 

Those familiar with the animated film may remember the supernatural villain, Rasputin. For the stage adaptation, this character has been replaced with Gleb (played by understudy, William Aaron Bishop during the opening night performance). The character of Gleb provides another layer to the story of Anastasia and the Russian royal family. Bishop’s performance does not disappoint. 

Well known playwright, Terrance McNally penned the book with music and lyrics written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty respectively. Flaherty and Ahrens are a phenomenal writing duo whose work does not miss. The big Act II number, “Land of Yesterday” paired with the pit orchestra feels like an homage to the golden age of musical theatre. The additional songs added for the stage adaptation help to provide another aspect of Anastasia not seen in the original animated movie. 

Willem Butler (Dmitri), Veronica Stern (Anya) and Bryan Seastrom (Vlad) in the North American Tour of ANASTASIA – Photo by Evan Zimmerman.

Costumes are simply gorgeous and breathtaking. It’s clear that the designer, Linda Cho, paid close attention to even the smallest of details.

Ticket Information
Overall, if you have small humans or find yourself to be a fan of the classic movie then this is the show for you. Anastasia is part of the Broadway in Cincinnati Series and runs January 3rd through the 15th. Tickets can be found here

Veronica Stern as ANASTASIA.
Veronica Stern as ANASTASIA in the North American Tour of ANASTASIA – Photo by Evan Zimmerman.