Bridges of Madison County and Les Miserables Stars Took Part in Workshop of Ahrens and Flaherty's Anastasia

News   Bridges of Madison County and Les Miserables Stars Took Part in Workshop of Ahrens and Flaherty's Anastasia
Prior to its world premiere at Hartford Stage next spring, the stage adaptation of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's animated feature "Anastasia" was presented June 12 in a staged New York City workshop.

Poster art for the original film.
Poster art for the original film.

The musical, which incorporates characters not seen in the film, is based on the 1997 animated musical film. It incorporates a mix of songs from the film and new numbers. The film songs have been extensively revised and rewritten for the stage.

The recent workshop featured the talents of Elena Shaddow, The Bridges of Madison County actress who will play Cinderella in the St. Louis Muny's upcoming production of Into the Woods as Anna, and Les Miserables Tony nominee Ramin Karimloo as Gleb Vaganov, a new role created for the stage production. has also learned that the workshop cast included Mark Evans as Dmitri, Douglas Sills as Vladimir "Vlad" Vanya Voinitsky Vasilovich, Mary Beth Peil as the Dowager Empress Marie, Joanna Glushak as Lilly (renamed from Sophie in the film) and Benjamin Eakeley as the Tsar. Among the ensemble were Cameron Adams, Sarah Meahl, Emma Pfaeffle, Max Clayton and Ryan Worsing.

Although casting has not been announced for the upcoming production, it will premiere May 12-June 12, 2016, at Hartford Stage, where Tony Award winner Darko Tresnjak (A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder) is artistic director. Tresnjak has been developing the stage production along with the writing team for the past two years.

The stage production has a book by Tony Award winner Terrence McNally (The VisitRagtime, Mothers and Sons). Stage Entertainment is shepherding the stage musical from the songwriting team behind Ragtime and Once On This Island. The organization also brought Ahrens and Flaherty's Rocky to Broadway last season.

While no plans for Anastasia have been announced beyond the Hartford run, the Tony-winning musical Gent's Guide also premiered at Hartford as part of its pre-Broadway regional development. 

According to Hartford Stage, "Anastasia is the romantic and rousing story of one brave young woman attempting to discover the mystery of her past while finding a place for herself in the rapidly changing world of a new century. With a rich and sweeping musical score that evokes the opulence of Russian aristocracy and the energy of Paris street life, Anastasia is the ultimate journey of a woman caught between the pull of the past and the promise of the future."

The film adaptation featured Meg Ryan voicing Anastasia when she wasn't singing, and Broadway's Liz Callaway (Baby, Miss Saigon) sang the songs. "Journey to the Past" was Oscar-nominated for Best Original Song. The song was also Golden Globe Award-nominated, as was "Once Upon a December."

In addition to the Best Song Academy Award nomination, the picture was Oscar-nommed for Best Music — Original Musical or Comedy Score (naming Ahrens, Flaherty and David Newman).

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