Hello everyone! Today I wanted to share my review of Anastasia the musical.
I’d wanted to see this musical for since I heard it was a thing! When I saw the tour was going to stop in Chicago, I knew I had to go see it. I loved the movie as a child and the music was always one of my favorite parts so I was so excited when I finally bought tickets!
I ended up getting tickets in the lodge because I bought them pretty last minute. I was going with my sister and one of her college friends so the only places to get three close together that weren’t premium seats were in the lodge or way back on the orchestra floor. My sister and her friend sat in the second row of the lodge in front and I was two rows behind them. They were really good prices too I thought as theirs were resale and usually those are hiked up in price. It must have been someone who bought them and then couldn’t go but wanted to at least breakeven with the sale of the tickets as they were only a little under the price for my regular ticket. I like thinking that I helped them relax and not stress about the tickets potentially going to waste.
The show was at the James M. Nederlander Theatre which used to be the Oriental Theatre. It was recently renamed so it was cool to finally see a show in the newly renamed theatre! The theatre itself is the same, just the marquee had the new name. The floor in front of the theatre still says Oriental and it’s not very safe as I and about three other people tripped over sections that were uneven so I’m guessing they’re going to have to fix/update that soon.
So onto the musical! Now, a lot of the big songs are still in the musical, Journey to the Past, Learn to Do It, Once Upon a December, and a few others. They had a ton of new songs though. I loved My Petersburg, Stay, I Pray You, Close the Door, In a Crowd of Thousands, Quartet at the Ballet and so, so many more. The music, both the familiar songs and the new ones, were just amazing and I loved how they were put together. I especially loved how the music from the ballet Swan Lake was woven in as well.
The set was simple enough. The backgrounds were mostly projected onto portions of the stage that were screens and I really loved how they did that. For example, when Anya and her companions were on the train the projections were a great countryside, with elaborate maps and the rails aligned with the train car. There was also a part where Anya and Dmitry were singing about St. Petersburg from their past and the screen changed to show that they were talking about their memories.
The costumes were amazing! They resembled the costumes in the movie but were so elaborate and beautiful. The costumes for the Romanov family were absolutely stunning! Anya’s costumes were all very nice as well, hers and the Dowager Empress’ were the most shiny of them besides the family’s. Dmitry was quite simple and Vlad’s made me laugh with the patterns that he mixed. I thought the soldier’s costumes could have been better as they were really simple and I didn’t think it conveyed their positions as well as they should have. They weren’t bad, but just felt simple. Oh, I loved the Neva club outfits too, which was all the Russian aristocrats that had escaped after the revolution. On top of that the ballet portion was really well done as the costumes looked great!
The singing, dancing, and acting was all great as well. The actors really did a great job portraying their characters! I loved how Anya changed to be so much more confident after becoming the grand duchess and she really reminded me of Peggy Carter so much. Dmitry was pretty great as well and I loved the Dowager Empress. Little Anastasia was so fun to watch and actually also is Alexei. A lot of the swings were really fun to watch too as they would play so many characters. Their voices were all great too although there were a few parts where there was room for improvement. Very small portions though and only two or so times where the mics didn’t work quite right for a line or a portion of a line.
I really enjoyed the ballet portion as well since I’m a fan of Swan Lake. The portion did make me laugh as it was portions of the ballet all mashed together so you had Odette dancing Odile portions for example. But it was great and lots of fun. The dancing overall was fun, but simple. There were parts that were obviously inspired by traditional Russian dances but this is where I wish my knowledge of dance was a little better. I did notice a bit of overlap with Fiddler on the Roof which makes sense as that is also set in Russia.
So, I actually do know a ton about the Romanov family since I loved the movie and continued to learn about the actual history that inspired the story. There were so many references back to the real events that happened which I loved to notice. My sister and our friend got a free mini history lesson during intermission actually! So for example I asked them if they had noticed at the start when Alexei was dancing with the family and he fell. Our friend said yes and said she had thought that was so over dramatic and I explained that in real life Alexei had hemophilia, a disease where blood doesn’t clot normally. So when he fell the family worried he’d start bleeding as they normally protected him a lot to try to stop it from happening, especially since at times it didn’t seem likely he would survive. I also pointed out that before he fell I’d been watching the Tsarina who was clearly torn between wanting to stop him to make sure he wouldn’t be hurt and wanting him to have a fun childhood moment. There was also others but they’re kind of spoiler-y so I’m going to leave those for you to find yourself if you know the history and see the musical.
The story was lovely. They did remove the parts from the movie that were more supernatural but changed it and added more realistic dangers such as the soldiers who chased Anya. The story was a lot more “adult” than I expected since the movie was for kids but there was quite a bit of aggressive making out and such. Looking back, I hadn’t expected those changes but then again I hadn’t expected it to be like the movie either somehow. I loved the changes they made and I feel that it really made the story so much better!
Either way, watching Anya’s journey and following along with her was absolutely enchanting. I really loved watching it and it was exactly what I needed. The musical just transported me to Anya’s world and I barely noticed anything besides what was on stage. I loved this musical and would highly, highly recommend you see it if you have the chance.
So that’s my review of Anastasia the musical! I really did enjoy it and I’m so, so happy I was able to get some tickets. I was so afraid it’d be completely sold out. Thank goodness it wasn’t! Are you planning to see Anastasia if you get the chance?
Thanks for reading!
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