Review: ANASTASIA THE MUSICAL at Keystone Theatrics at The Playhouse at Allenberry

A beautiful and engaging production.

By: Jun. 23, 2024
Review: ANASTASIA THE MUSICAL at Keystone Theatrics at The Playhouse at Allenberry
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The mystery surrounding the possible survival of Anastasia Romanov after the assassination of the Romanov family in 1918 has captured the imaginations of many, inspiring several retellings of the story of the Bolshevik revolution, Anastasia’s unknown fate, and that of the women who attempted to claim to be Anastasia. The musical by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty, and Lynn Ahrens made its Broadway debut in 2017. Audiences can experience Anastasia the Musical presented by Keystone Theatrics under the direction of Eric S. Mansilla with vocal director Kayla Capone Kasper, music director Coleman A. Lidle, and choreographer Dena McKell through June 30th.

This production is visually stunning, with tremendous set design and painting by Dave Olmstead with Jason Nedrow (set construction), Kelley Heinlen (props); beautiful costumes and wigs by The Costumer, Elizabeth Angelozzi, and Sherry Boyles; and wonderful lighting design by Tristan Stasiulis with lighting provided by Eslinger Lighting and run by operator Marshall Storm. The orchestra, under the direction of Coleman A. Lidle, features Jordan Woodward (Keyboard 1), Madison Felix (Keyboard 2), Megan Carraher (Reed 1), Ben Carraher (Reed 2), Will Morris (Reed 3), James Beverly (Trumpet), Kyra Lancaster (Trombone), Christina Colonna (Horn), Galen Work (Drums/Percussion), Andrew Jackson (Bass), Mogan Hackett (Violin), Elise Rinehart (Violin/Viola), and Isaac Se Young Um (Cello). The music in this show ranges from slow and beautiful to playful to dramatic, and the orchestra plays each piece with great finesse and feeling.

The cast includes Caleb Adman (Ensemble), Adrienne Connaghan (Tsarina Alexandra/Ensemble), Madison Eppley (Dunya/Ensemble), Alexandria Fazzolari (Marfa/Ensemble), Ethan Goss (Von Rothbart in Swan Lake/Ensemble), Lydia Kramer (Swan/Ensemble), Bernie Labuskes (Count Ipolitov/Ensemble), Kate Murray (Swan/Ensemble), Reagan Newbury (Paulina/Ensemble), Julianna Osburn (Romanov Daughter/Swan/Ensemble), Kaitlin Riley (Romanov Daughter, Swan/Ensemble), Caitlin Shorey (Young Anastasia/Ensemble), Daniel Signore (Gorlinsky/Count Leopold/Ensemble), Evan Tinsman (Sergei/Ensemble), Isaac Walker (Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake/Ensemble), Margaret White (Romanov Daughter/Odette in Swan Lake/Ensemble), Grace Wellmon (Dance Captain), Daniel Malinich (Tsar Nicholas II), Audrie Kirkman (Little Anastasia/Alexei Romanov), Martha Traverse (Dowager Empress), Maria Albani (Countess Lily), Timothy Lupia (Gleb), TJ Creedon (Vlad), Patrick Connaghan (Dmitry), and Carly Lafferty (Anya).

The entire cast is incredible—bringing the story to life with their commitment to their characters, their energy, and their vocal talent. Dena McKell’s choreography is beautiful and excellently executed by the cast. The Swan Lake dance is particularly mesmerizing. To mention all of the wonderful elements of this production would take too much time and space, so here are a few highlights. Albani’s performance as Countess Lily is delightful—infusing humor into some otherwise intense scenes. Her interactions with Creedon’s Vlad and Traverse’s Dowager Empress are witty and refreshing. Traverse is larger than life in her role as the Dowager Empress. Her performance of this emotionally challenging role tugs at the audience’s heartstrings and makes them feel the depths of the Dowager Empress’s hope and despair. Timothy Lupia is wonderfully cast as Gleb, the Bolshevik general who feels enormous pressure to squash any inkling that a Romanov might still be alive and in Russia. Lupia’s full, rich, resonant vocals are perfect for the role. Patrick Connaghan, Creedon, and Lafferty are fantastic as the leading trio of Dmitry, Vlad, and Anya. They immediately pull the audience in and increase the electric energy of the show, and their vocal performances are lovely, especially in their harmonies.

Anastasia the Musical is an emotional roller coaster, from the heartwarming performance of “My Petersburg” by Patrick Connaghan and Lafferty to the chilling scene at the train station in act 1 with Labuskes’s gorgeous solo on “Stay, I Pray You”, to the lighthearted “The Countess and the Common Man” performed by Creedon and Albani, to the tumultuous and intense scene at the theatre in act 2 during “Quartet at the Ballet”, to the beautiful final scene between the Dowager Empress and Anya in which Traverse and Lafferty bring the audience to tears with “Once Upon a December (Reprise)”. With its superb acting and lovely harmonies, this is a production that will capture the hearts of the audience. Don’t miss out on your chance to catch Anastasia the Musical. Visit before it’s too late!

Photo Credit: Marc Faubel (HSGuy)


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