Exclusive: Crawford, Barrett, Halston, Page Join Tveit, Lansbury, Lazar in ANASTASIA Reading!

By: Jul. 28, 2012
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As first reported exclusively by BroadwayWorld, ANASTASIA - A New Musical is being brought to the stage in a 29-hour reading, which entered rehearsals last week, based on the hit 1997 animated motion picture from Fox Animation Studios. The musical, which is in its Early Stages of development, will feature the five songs from the film along with fifteen new songs written for the stage. Joining the creative team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty will be bookwriter Terrence McNally and music director Ben Cohn.

Joining the previously announced cast is Kelli Barrett in the title role of Anya (Anastasia). Patrick Page once again dons the role of the villain, Vladimir. Angela Lansbury will reprise her role from the film as the Empress Maria, and Aaron Tveit will play Dimitri.

The reading will also feature Maria May as Young Anastasia, Aaron Lazar as Gleb and Julie Halston as Lily, as well as Mark Aldrich, Bertilla Baker, Ben Crawford, Joy Hermalyn, Lisa Karlin, Joseph Mahowald, Barbara Marineau and Benjamin Schrader in the ensemble.

The reading is being produced by Stage Entertainment, and there is currently no word on when the show might hit the stage, and of course the cast of a reading is often not indicative of future productions.

The story is inspired by an urban legend which claimed that Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia, in fact survived the execution of her family. In addition to Lansbury, the film featured the voices of Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Lloyd, Hank Azaria, and Bernadette Peters. The film first premiered in the United States on November 21, 1997, and was nominated for two Oscars for Best Original Song ("Journey to the Past") and Best Original Musical or Comedy Score.

Angela Lansbury's career has spanned eight decades and earned an unsurpassed number of performance Tony Awards (tied with Julie Harris and Audra McDonald), with five wins. On Broadway, she has appeared in Blithe Spirit (Tony winner), Sweeney Todd (Tony winner), Gypsy (Tony Winner), Dear World (Tony Winner), Mame (Tony winner), in addition to A Little Night Music, Deuce, The King and I, Anyone Can Whistle and more. She is currently starring in Gor Vidal's The Best Man on Broadway. In addition to her five Tony Awards, Lansbury has won six Golden Globes, and has been nominated for numerous other industry awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress on three occasions, and nineteen Emmy Awards.

Kelli Barrett has been seen on Broadway in Baby It's You! and The Royal Family, as well as Rock of Ages Off-Broadway and in the regional productions Ace and Bright Lights, Big City.

Patrick Page just finished his run as The Green Goblin in Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and will appear in Roundabout's upcoming production of Cyrano de Bergerac. He has also appeared on Broadway in A Man For All Seasons, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Julius Caesar, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and The Kentucky Cycle, plus Off-Broadway's The Tragedy of Richard II and more.

Aaron Lazar has starred on Broadway in A Little Night Music, A Light in the Piazza, Les Miserables, Oklahoma, The Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia! and more. Films include Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar, The Notorious Bettie Page, and One Man's Castle.

Aaron Tveit's Broadway credits include Next to Normal and Catch Me If You Can. He will be seen as Enjolras in the highly anticipated Les Misérables film this December.

Julie Halston was last seen on Broadway in Anything Goes, as well as Twentieth Century, Gypsy, Hairspray, The Women and The Man Who Came to Dinner. Her Off-Broadway theatre credits include Olive and the Bitter Herbs, The Divine Sister, Love, Loss and What I Wore, Chasing Manet, White Chocolate, Princesses, The Butter and Egg Man, Saved or Destroyed, The Vagina Monologues, The Boys from Syracuse, You Should Be So Lucky, Red Scare on Sunset, Money Talks, The Lady in Question, Times Square Angel and more.

Ben Crawford has appeared on Broadway in Shrek the Musical and Les Misérables, as well as the Encores! production of Merrily We Roll Along and more.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.