By: Julia Keane
If you missed your chance to see the The Glenelg Theater Department’s spring musical, Anastasia, you’re in luck!
The musical, which opened Thursday, March 10 with incredible performances from the cast, crew, and pit, will be in action again on Saturday, March 19 at 2pm and 7pm following a weather-canceled show on March 12.
Director Kassidy Sharp and lead actors Peyton Kern, Sam Pippenger, Kyle Gonce, and Abby McDonough (among many others) have worked extremely hard to put together this production, and you definitely don’t want to miss it.
Anastasia is set in the early twentieth century in Russia and opens with a glimpse into young Grand Duchess Anastasia’s joyful life before everything takes place. However, things quickly begin to take a turn for the worst as the (now older) princess is shot at and captured during a royal ball.
After another time jump, we meet Gleb, a Bolshevik general who comes across a rumor that Anastasia may have survived their attack on Russia. A plan is drafted that involves finding a girl to pretend she is Anastasia in order to gain money from the Empress, who knew the princess when she was young.
Two men, Dmitry and Vlad, end up finding a girl named Anya who strikingly resembles Anastasia, but she tells them she has severe memory loss in regards to her past. The men begin the process of teaching Anya everything she needs to know in order to “become” Anastasia. Gleb warns Anya about the consequences of pretending to be the princess, but realizes she has Anastasia’s eyes and starts to believe the two could be the same person after all.
As the plot thickens, Anya’s lifelong desire to go to Paris is fulfilled when she boards a train with Dmitry and Vlad so they can all accomplish their goals in the city. Now in Paris, the characters attend a performance of Swan Lake, where Anya lays eyes on the Empress and they recognize each other from the past. Anya is overjoyed as she begins to recount memories from her past and also fall in love with Dmitry. She produces a music box to the Empress that she received when she was very young, one of the only things she has left from her past, and it is finally revealed that Anya is indeed Anastasia.
As we near the end of the story, Gleb informs Anya (Anastasia) that he must kill her in order to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he is overcome with emotion and is unable to do so. The play closes out with Anya and Dmitry leaving Paris and everyone else celebrating the life they will share together as a couple.
The musical features a number of songs, mainly from Anya, Dmitry, Vlad, and Gleb, including “A Rumor in St. Petersburg,” “Once Upon A December,” and “Paris Holds the Key (To Your Heart).”
After seeing the show opening night, I can definitively say that this is a performance worth seeing! The storyline is easy to follow and entertaining for all ages, and the solos from some of the characters are sure to wow you. The impressive set changes, beautiful costumes, and music from the pit are also part of what makes Anastasia such an enthralling play. I truly believe that this is one of the best musicals ever done here at GHS, and everybody involved hopes to see you there for the final shows this weekend!