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Review Roundup: World Premiere of ANASTASIA Opens at Hartford Stage

The world premiere musical ANASTASIA, inspired by the real life of Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov and the enduring mystery of her true identity, opened May 27 at Hartford Stage in Connecticut. The new musical runs through June 19, 2016.

ANASTASIA reunites Tony Award-winning writers of the Broadway classic Ragtime: book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Hartford Stage Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak, Tony Award-winner for Best Direction of a Musical for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, directs, and Peggy Hickey (A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder) choreographs.

Check out what the critics had to say below...

Frank Rizzo, Variety: In his first new musical since earning a Tony for "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder"...director Darko Tresnjak and librettist Terrence McNally have crafted a show that embraces the power of myth, celebrates the resilience of survivors and touches on the meaning of identity and home...Christy Altomare is captivating as Anya...Derek Klena is boyishly handsome, charming and strong-voiced as Dmitry...A splendid Mary Beth Piel gives imperial gravitas and human tenderness as the Dowager Empress...All the design elements earn admiring gasps...the missteps are minor as this show about identity tries, and largely succeeds, to find itself - and a happily-ever-after of its own.

Chris Peterson, Onstage: ...if you're walking into Hartford Stage assuming a direct adaptation of the 1997 animated film, with a few exceptions, you'd be wrong. But that's what also makes this production rather marvelous...The show abandons many of the more animated/supernatural elements in favor of a more adult-oriented story line...While the animated film glanced over the reality of the historical truth, this production addresses it throughout in poignant fashion...As Anya, Christy Altomare is a star in the making. With pitch-perfect vocals but with an even more grounded and affecting acting performance, Ms. Altomare is everything you would want in this role...With strong vocals Mr. Klena's voice is perfectly matched with many of the new songs from Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens, which are, in some cases, just as good or better than the work they did on the animated film...By now it should be clear that Darko Tresnjak is one of the most creative names when it comes to staging his productions...The entire production feels like a dance on the perfect tempo but slows down and speeds up when it needs to...Anastasia is sensational and given its expected move to Broadway next year, I'd say the future is looking bright for this fairy-tale musical...

Photo by Joan Marcus

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