Anastasia Whisks Audience Away With Dazzling Performance At The Orpheum Theatre

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

The past few nights spent at metal shows have been amazing. The energy, the thrill– it was seriously exactly what I needed to bring me back down to earth after living in what seems like a daydream for the past week or so but I was ready to get lost in dreamland again and what better way to do that than to go to a musical. Okay, if you don’t know me, I know this is coming from left field but I absolutely adore musicals. Everything from the old classics to the new hits, I just love the theatre and will take any chance I can get to go experience a new performance. The performance came in the form of Anastasia on Wednesday night.

The beautiful Orpheum Theatre was full of excitement as I got through the door. People of all ages were shedding their many layers of coats as they made their way to their seats. Regardless of where they were situated in the theatre, there was a smile on their face and I feel like you could see everyone take a deep breath as they took their seat as if they were just so relieved to have Broadway musicals back in Minneapolis. They weren’t alone. I felt almost giddy as I took my seat and waited for the show to start. Just seeing the stage and the word ‘Anastasia’ on the screen that concealed the stage had me so excited for what my night was about to turn into and the fantasy journey the amazing cast of this musical was going to take me on.

Anastasia came out back in 1997 and, while most of my other friends were watching Disney princess movies, I found myself completely entranced by the story of Anastasia. From the music to the danger to the mystery and every in between- the story of Anastasia really stuck with me for some reason. I mean, I guess the fact that she was a redhead also had something to do with my love of her but it was definitely a bit deeper than that. It has been years since I’ve actually sat down to watch the movie but as soon as the curtain went up and the performance started on Tuesday night, I found the entire movie coming back to my mind as vividly as if I had just watched it. I’m not going to sit here and give you a rundown of the entire plot but basically– missing heir to the Romanov fortune, the girl with amnesia is found, two con-men find the girl who is now going by Anya, they train her to be Anastasia and get her to Paris in order to get the reward money offered by her grandmother. Okay, now that I spell that all out, I realize how confusing it sounds but what I’m trying to say is just go to the dang musical. Trust me.

I found the acting and talent on stage in this musical to be top-notch through and through but it was Kyla Stone’s performance as Anastasia that had me at the edge of my seat. Although my playbill states that this is Kyla’s national tour debut, I find that hard to believe. The way she was able to captivate the audience and truly whisk us away to a whole other world was absolutely enchanting. With dazzling vocals and a stunning way of convincing us all that she was Anastasia… Just an absolutely stunning performance. Again, although Kyla is the one that seemed to truly have me convinced that I was far away from The Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, the entire cast of this production had a sense of a personality that shined when they took the stage. From the funny quirks presented by Bryan Seastrom performing as Vlad to the incredible vocal range of Madeline Raube who played Countess Lily, there are just far too many stand-out moments throughout this musical for me to sit here and list for you.

Beyond the brilliant acting and vocals, the stage setup and the way this production utilized a screen more than props was truly amazing to me. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been able to see as many musicals lately as I would like (although I’m hoping to change that) so maybe this is just the way they are now but I thought the use of the giant screen was brilliant. It added a sense of depth to the stage and even though we weren’t in a grand hall or at a train station, the use of the screen plus the placement of the actors made it feel as if we were. Although there were moments that were realistic, there were also a bit more abstract-looking parts that were enhanced by this screen. From the traveling done that had old maps of Russia playing in the background as the characters trekked across the stage to the use of red lighting as the Romanov empire crumbled in front of our eyes– I would truly be remiss if I didn’t give a huge shout-out to the production team for how they pulled this all off.

There were definitely a few things I would have changed about this production including not omitting my favorite characters Rasputin and his albino bat minion, Bartok, and the overall length of the performance (this is a lengthy one at just shit of three-hours long) but, overall, I was absolutely enchanted and lost in the world of Anastasia throughout the performance.

Anastasia will be at The Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis through December 19th and I highly suggest you check it out!