On Tuesday, December 6, I had the privilege of watching the opening night of “Anastasia“ at the Fox Theatre. Set in the 1920’s, the spectacular musical shows the epic journey of a young Russian woman and the gradual discovery of herself. “Anastasia: A New Broadway Musical” was written by Terrence McNally and it was adapted from the 1997 animated film “Anastasia.” The musical has fantastic music by American composer Stephen Flaherty & American lyricist Lynn Ahrens. It has the perfect balance of drama, romance, and humor, which makes it enjoyable for any teen.
The musical starts off with the tragic burning of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II’s family. Although the family was said to be dead, there were rumors that the Tsar’s youngest daughter, Anastasia, might have survived. Both the musical and film are based on the legend of Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova. While Anastasia is a real person, whether she survived remained uncertain for years.
In 1990 however, this uncertainty was debunked. DNA testing of the family’s remains seemed to show that all the prior claims of her survival were a hoax. Nevertheless, the legend of Anastasia continues to capture the attention of many. In “Anastasia: A New Broadway Musical,” not only can teens learn about the tale of Anastasia, but they can also learn important life lessons like having hope and discovering yourself.
While many gave into the thoughts that Anastasia was dead, there was one person who kept believing that Anastasia was still out there. In the musical, Anastasia’s grandmother remained hopeful that one day her Anastasia would be found.
In addition to this, the main character, Anya (Veronica Stern), holds onto hope throughout the entire musical. She dreams of leaving the Russian Empire and going to Paris, but she does not have the means to get there. That is, until she meets a dashing conman named Dmitri (Willem Butler) and a loveable ex-aristocrat named Vlad (Bryan Seastrom).
With these instances of hope, there are also instances of self-discovery in the show. Anya (Veronica Stern), in the beginning of the musical, is unsure of her past due to amnesia. Throughout the musical, however, Anya starts to piece the puzzle of her life back together. She slowly discovers who she is and with that, she understands who she is meant to be.
After watching “Anastasia,” I feel as though hope and self-discovery are the two biggest themes that teens can walk away with. The entire musical is inspirational because the characters never give up. Instead, they continue to push forward against obstacles and adversity. Lessons like these are important for teens to grasp and what better way to do than by watching “Anastasia: A New Broadway Musical.”
VOX ATL is grateful to our community partners at Most Valuable Kids of Greater Atlanta, Broadway in Atlanta and Brave PR for providing these opening night tickets for our teen reviewers.