What Is Hidden in the Set of Anastasia on Broadway?

Opening Night   What Is Hidden in the Set of Anastasia on Broadway? On the opening-night red carpet of the new musical from Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, and Terrence McNally, Ahrens confides the secret homage to the 1997 film hidden in the set of the Broadway adaptation.
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Terrence McNally, Lynn Ahrens, and Stephen Flaherty Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The long-awaited stage musical adaptation of the 1997 animated film Anastasia opened on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre April 25. Playbill met the principal cast and creative team on the opening-night red carpet to celebrate the arrival of the Princess Anastasia on the Great White Way. There has been much talk of Terrence McNally’s new book, infused with much more Russian history.

Read More: HOW BROADWAY’S ANASTASIA IS A VERY DIFFERENT STORY THAN THE ANIMATED MUSICAL

McNally, along with his collaborators, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, spoke about their desire to deepen the story and expand the characters, while still giving fans of the movie the story they love.

Speaking of fans of the film, Ahrens revealed that although the characters of Rasputin and Bartok (who appeared as the villain and his sidekick in 1997) are not characters in this iteration, they are not forgotten. “There’s a scene in a black market where people are selling things and they sell the music box,” said Ahrens. “There’s a sign on a billboard with letters that is facing upstage, they’re Cyrillic letters, Russian letters... it says Bartok.” And, that’s not the only secret unearthed on the live stream: Choreographer Peggy Hickey explained how she and the show’s projection designer got the ghosts to dance all around the theatre during the climactic “Once Upon a December.”

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Star Derek Klena grew up with the movie as well, and joined us on the live stream to talk about bringing Dmitry to life. Playbill also caught up with Tony nominee Ramin Karimloo, who plays the new character Gleb; John Bolton, who plays Vlad; Caroline O’Connor, who plays Lily; Mary Beth Peil, who plays the Dowager Countess; and, of course, Broadway’s Anastasia, Christy Altomare.

This show marks Altomare’s first time originating a role on Broadway, and she shared the story of the day she found out she had booked the job. Watch the video for the story!

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