Typically, successful Broadway shows will embark on a U.S. national tour, and then maybe a London production or an international tour, but historically few titles have gone on to sit-down international productions. Anastasia is about to set a new precedent.
“We’ve learned over time that Anastasia is the people’s princess,” says lead producer Tom Kirdahy. “The show has an international appeal that people were coming from all over the world. We thought, ‘Why follow a traditional path? Let’s let this happen in a way that really comes from the demand of the audience.”
While 20 countries raised their hands to be among the first to present the beloved story, the Anastasia team will begin with international productions in Spain and Germany, while simultaneously launching a U.S. tour and continuing its Broadway run. The Madrid production marks the European premiere and begins performances October 3; the national tour kicks off in Schenectady, New York, October 9; and the show launches in Stuttgart, Germany, November 15.
Aside from choosing locales across the globe, the team had to find three more Anyas—in addition to Broadway’s Christy Altomare. “The character has to be very vulnerable at the top of Act 1 yet she has to come into a sense of her own. She has wit and comedy along the way, and it’s a big sing,” says composer Stephen Flaherty. Just as the Grand Duchess searches for her granddaughter, the lost Romanov princess, Flaherty and the team scoured for talent and found Lila Coogan for the tour, Jana Gómez for Spain, and Judith Caspari for Germany.
Ahrens has been working on translating her lyrics for the German and Spanish productions, as well. “I had the experience of doing it on Rocky,” she says. “They give you a literal translation of the Spanish or German or whatever the language is so I can read that and say, ‘Well, what I wrote was this and what you wrote is that and they’re nothing alike and you have to fix that’ or ‘They’re really similar and that’s great!’ It’s a line-by-line process.”
Whatever the language, Ahrens and Flahery and book writer Terrence McNally intend to ensure that the story of Anastasia carries the same heart that captured movie audiences 20 years ago.
And the four women now playing Anya all feel childhood ties to her.
The quartet gathered at the Broadhurst Theatre to film a music video of “In My Dreams”—written for the stage adaptation of the 1997 animated movie—and the Oscar-nominated “Journey to the Past,” each lending a different sensibility to the songs.
“We were just so lucky we found these extraordinary women along the way,” Flaherty says. Hear from each of the women and their journey to being cast in the video above.
And watch the full music video here!