Playbill Mixtape: Anastasia’s Derek Klena and John Bolton Share Their Pre-Show Playlist | Playbill

Playbill Playlist Playbill Mixtape: Anastasia’s Derek Klena and John Bolton Share Their Pre-Show Playlist Klena and Bolton play onstage pals Dmitry and Vlad, but they are also real-life buddies who share a pre-show ritual.
Derek Klena and I are as ready as we’ll ever be. Blasting Foreigner and The Doobie Brothers helps. John Bolton

As the con artist duo Vlad and Dmitry in Broadway’s Anastasia, John Bolton and Derek Klena need to operate in sync. As luck would have it, the actors discovered their shared taste in music and now can be found blasting tunes from their dressing rooms (“We have actually considered knocking down the wall between them,” Bolton jokes) into the hallway before every performance of the Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical. In fact, Bolton calls their ritual “one of the best parts of our job.”

“It started early in the run when Derek started playing Elton John’s Greatest Hits (Volume 1 for those who know the discography),” Bolton shares. “This was the first album I actually bought with money I had saved from selling lemonade on the 13th hole of the golf course right behind our house in LeRoy, New York. To this day it is a ‘desert island disc’ for me. That whole era was awesome: Boston, Foreigner, Kansas, Queen, ELO, Styx, and on and on. The fact that Derek not only loves this music as much as I do but also knows all the lyrics better than I ever will instantly let me know we were going to be great friends.”


Bolton and Klena agree that the classic rock tunes provide the perfect pre-show soundtrack. “There’s nothing like classic rock from your youth to pump up your heart rate, relax your mind and put a smile on your face at the same time,” says Bolton. “My love for some of these classic tunes is hereditary,” says Klena. “My dad used to blast Oingo Boingo, Journey, ELO, Queen, and Styx in his car when I was growing up and they became some of my favorites as well. They never fail to get your blood pumpin’ and spirits up before taking the stage. John and I are actually thinking of taking our Backstage Classic Rock Mixtape Concert on the road! Just kidding! Kind of…”

For all of your ear candy needs and playlists by Broadway stars, follow Playbill on Spotify.

Learn to do their pre-show listening ritual with their Playbill Mixtape.


Ruthie Fierberg is the Senior Features Editor of Playbill covering all things theatre and co-hosting the Opening Night Red Carpet livestreams on Playbill's Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @RuthiesATrain, on Instagram @ruthiefierceberg, or via her website.

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