The wistful Russian dreams of ’90s kids will soon be alive again, as a new musical inspired by 1997’s Anastasia comes to Broadway this spring. The new Anastasia is a more grown-up affair than the film. Rasputin and Bartok the talking albino bat are gone, and the show, which played in Hartford before moving to New York, focuses more intently on the Russian Revolution. Plus, the musical simply has more music. Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, who contributed the music for the animated film, added a slew of new songs to this production and reworked the plot with Ragtime’s Terrence McNally. The musical doesn’t begin previews until March 23, and it opens on April 24, but to hold you over, Vulture has an early look at some of the numbers added to the show.
First up: “In My Dreams,” performed by the show’s Anastasia, Christy Altomare (Mamma Mia!). It’s a classic “I Want” song, though of course Anya — as she’s known before she’s discovered to be a (potential) lost Romanov heir — is suffering from some heavy amnesia.
In Anastasia the film, Dmitry didn’t get a sound. The musical rightfully changes that. Derek Klena (Dogfight) plays the scoundrel, who falls for Anya even as he’s using her to run a long con on the Romanovs. In “My Petersburg,” he sings about his beloved Saint Petersburg, and not for nothing, rocks some floppy hair, truly crucial to the character.
Contributing to Anastasia’s greater focus on the Russian Revolution, Ramin Karimloo (Les Misérables) plays a new character, a devoted communist named Gleb who’s torn between his duty to his country and his burgeoning feelings for Anya, both of which are captured in the dark and stormy “Still.”
In the last of the new numbers previewed, “We’ll Go From There,” Anya, Dmitry, and Vlad (A Christmas Story’s John Bolton, filling the role played by Kelsey Grammer in the film) sing about their journey out of Russia to Paris, where they’ll try to pass her off as a real Romanov.
You won’t be getting a look at the full-scope production just yet, but Anastasia is coming to Broadway under Tony-winning A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder director Darko Tresnjak. Mary Beth Peil and Caroline O’Connor fill out the cast as the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and her confidante Lily, who both reside in Paris.
Those longing for the songs from the 1997 film can rest assured that the musical will tackle those too. To send us off, here’s Altomare performing the Oscar-nominated “Journey to the Past.”