Linz. Time stands still when the legend of Tsar Anastasia’s lost daughter comes back to life in musical theatre. The next two and a half hours fly by and leave the audience with a big smile. The audience at the premiere of the successful Austrian show celebrated with cheers and a warm welcome. A carefree start to the new state theater season. (by Karen Seringer and Nora Hendel)
Many are familiar with the 1997 animated film Anastasia (Twentieth-Century-Fox), whose ragtime cast Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens adapted it for stage and made it a Broadway hit. After the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks assassinated the family of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II. According to legend, the only survivor is the youngest daughter Anastasia.
The Tsar’s mother embarks on a passionate search for her granddaughter Anastasia, who is believed to be dead. With the reward and therefore their freedom from the clutches of the shattered Leningrad in mind, the lovable con duo Dmitriy and Vlad set out in search of the perfect version – and found it in the street sweeper Anja. The beautiful and brave young woman with no memory searches for her past and gets involved in the fraud she believes. Until the orchestrated trio realize that Anja could be the Tsar’s daughter they thought had been lost. Together – and yet each with his own dream in mind, they make an arduous journey to Paris – for there they must impress the Tsar’s mother…
Anyone who knows the cartoon will wonder where Rasputin is. On the other hand, the musical follows a more historically realistic path: after the revolution, which brutally cost the life of the tsar’s family, the new Leningrad dominates. This is where the musical version brings the Bolshevik son Gleb (Nikolai Alexander Brucker) into play and tackles the theme of escape and persecution – albeit only subtly – as director Matthias Davids (recently “Wie im Himmel” and “Fanny und Alexander”) refrains About hinting at current events.
Lenz once again shows what he can do
Linz’s band shines on all levels, seemingly creating fast-paced scenes with dancing and singing. Whether it’s the successful actor Hanna Kaster as Anja, Lukas Sandmann as Dimitri and Karsten Kenzel as Wlad, the actress Daniela Deet as the Kaiser’s mother, or Judith Jandel as Countess Lily, which also causes many smiles to interact with As a guest or Nicholas Alexander Brooker as Gleb the Ripper.
The band’s performance, as usual from the Linz Musical Theatre, is top notch in terms of singing, and dancing the best, from polka to swan lake. Kim Doody is responsible for the fast-paced choreography. Theater design (Andrew. D. Edwards) proves that less is often more and the revolving staircase is enough to playfully immerse yourself from cold Russia to sparkling Paris. The use of light provides for special moments.
Fans of the film will not be disappointed either: many well-known songs should not be missing and supplemented with new, catchy numbers in the musical version. Tom Peterlich once again brilliantly conducted the “Newa Club Orchestra”.
Conclusion: Anastasia is for adults, but also for the whole family. Linz’s harmonious and fast-paced productions ensure an entertaining and warm evening with humor and wit, where no one or two tears are forbidden. Cheers already after the opening number, always a big tentative applause and cheers. “Anastasia” may not be in-depth entertainment, but it’s a bit more light-hearted – but so can musicals.
“Anastasia” at Musiktheater Linz, until January 7, 2023. All dates and tickets: www.landestheater-linz.at
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