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Rialto Chatter Exclusive: Ahrens & Flaherty's ANASTASIA Headed to the Stage?; Lansbury, Lazar & More to Star in Reading has learned that casting is now under way for a 29-hour reading of ANASTASIA - A New Musical, 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.

Currently set for the still-being-cast late July reading are Angela Lansbury (reprising her role from the film) and Aaron Lazar with other offers outstanding. Joining the creative team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty will be bookwriter Terrence McNally and Music Director Ben Cohn.

There is currently no official timeline for the project, which is in its Early Stages of development.

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 first premiered in the United States on November 21, 1997. The film 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.

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.


Photo Credit: Monica Simoes

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