What a joy to see musical theater back in person! And especially great fun for me, as I headed down to my seat at the Merriam Theatre telling every ticket checker and usher who interacted with me that I was the mysterious princess from Russia. And it’s true, my ID cards back it up – my full name is Anastasia and I was born in Moscow. I grew up in America, after our immigration, for years of my life hearing the joke of friendly people I would meet ask me if I was the long-lost Princess. And now, I finally could deal the joke back on to the world. There was a lot of laughter all around.
I sat giddy in my seat, feeling the immense joy of the musical theater goers, who surrounded me, about resuming the arts in person. To every side, audiences were abuzz with excitement at the chance to finally see the beloved production of ANASTASIA live after such a long theatrical hiatus. And the show did not disappoint.
The singing was harmonious and lovely, the actors sincere and happy to perform again, and the costumes were terrific. Kyla Stone, Sam McLellan and Bryan Seastrom made quite the believable trio that everyone wanted to succeed. The whole group was great, as well. The interactions of the cast were very nice and the choreographic moments filled the stage with the joy, fear and impact, when appropriate. But the most impressive aspect for me was the drop-dead gorgeous technological “set” of the show – the projection. Snowflakes, a long winding road, the dreaded enormity of Soviet “personal matter” offices, and forestry. Long gone are the days of dull, static-only props of the days of your mother’s musicals. The new technology absolutely TRANSPORTED the viewers to the world created. Vibrant, deep and starkly realistic, the seamless transitions of the background screens brought the magic to the stage, accentuated by the actors.
But you have to move quick if you don’t want to miss this tour of Anastasia. Drop everything and get your tickets, catch it through November 28 at the MERRIAM THEATRE, 250 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA. (Note, a vaccination card and your matching ID will get you in the door.)
Meanwhile, I bet there is still a wonderful older lady somewhere in Philadelphia from the seat next to me who is still wondering about whether she really met Russian royalty….