Review: ANASTASIA at Schuster Center For The Performing Arts

Presented by Dayton Live through Sunday March 26

Fortune Feimster Comes to the Schuster Center

If you are looking for a musical fairy tale to finish out your week, then look no further than the Dayton Live Broadway Series production of ANASTASIA, playing through the weekend at the Schuster Center for Performing Arts.

ANASTASIA, developed from the 1997 movie of the same name, is based on the story of the Romanov Russian royal family, all of whom were executed in 1918 by revolutionists. However, the bodies were not all identified with DNA until 2007, which left room for speculation that the Grand Duchess Anastasia may have survived the execution. This rumor gained some steam in the 1920s with the appearance of the mysterious Anna Anderson, who claimed to be Anastasia. She spent most of her life trying to prove this was true but her suit was finally dismissed. Later, it was revealed through DNA that she was, in fact, not the Grand Duchess. I was fascinated with this story as a child so I was eager to see the musical. I found it odd to see the romanticization of something so unbelievably tragic but with a little suspension of disbelief, it was an enjoyable evening.

Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, also composers of RAGTIME and ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, collaborated with Terrence McNally, author of the book, to take you back in time to the early 20th century on a journey from 1906 in St. Petersburg to 1927 in Paris. Linda Cho's costumes were particularly stunning as were Alexander Dodge's scenic backdrops. Bill Burn's choreography was beautiful. It isn't often that you see a musical theatre production with dancers in their pointe shoes.

Veronica Stern as the titular character was lovely with a performance that continued to build as the show progressed, even though she was on stage the majority of the time. Willem Butler's Dmitri was a wonderful counterpart to Ms Stern and their chemistry brought the characters to life. Bryan Seastrom as Vlad and Madeline Raube as Countess Lily provided the comic relief of the evening, performing seamlessly. They were a joy to watch. My favorite performance of the evening belonged to Christian McQueen as the villainous Gleb, because who doesn't love a handsome bad boy with a heart. His number STILL was one of my favorites of the evening but I loved everything he did.

Tickets are available for the remaining performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday. You can purchase tickets through the box office at 937-228-3630 or online at Click Here. Student rush tickets are also available for 50% off the A, B or C tier tickets and can be purchased in person at the box office. For more information, visit the website.

Photo Credit: Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade


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