Admirers of the work of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty will be able to hear the songwriters' latest collaboration when the animated film Anastasia opens Nov. 21 nationally. It opened Nov. 14 in N.Y.
Atlantic Records released the soundtrack recording in October.
The 20th Century Fox feature marks Ahrens and Flaherty's entry into the high-stakes field of musical animated films. The songwriting duo are currently red-hot as anticipation builds for the December 26 arrival of their previous effort, Ragtime, on Broadway. The production has already had success in its productions in Toronto and Los Angeles.
Reprising the tried-and-true formula perfected by industry titan Disney, the 17-track Anastasia recording features a mixture of theatrical songs, orchestral background score, and radio-friendly pop incarnations of selected songs. Both the movie and soundtrack feature the singing voices of Liz Callaway (singing for Meg Ryan), Kelsey Grammer, Bernadette Peters, and Angela Lansbury.
The film tells the story of the young woman who may have been the last surviving princess of Russia after revolutionaries killed the last Czar and Czarina, Nicholas and Alexandra. The three pop songs included on the soundtrack will be "At the Beginning" (sung by Richard Marx and Donna Lewis), "Journey to the Past" (Aliyah), and "Once Upon a December " (Deanna Carter). The soundtrack one-ups the Disney formula by including a Spanish-language version of one of the score's songs -- "Journey," sung by Thalia.
Ahrens and Flaherty have penned only the songs to Anastasia; David Newman composed the movie's background score. The division of labor is reminiscent of the movie version of Disney's The Lion King, for which Elton John and Tim Rice wrote the songs while Hans Zimmer handled orchestral score.