Friday, February 23, 2018

Anastasia (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (on CD)

Anastasia (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
music by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty

In 1997, Fox Animation and 20th Century Fox released an animated film entitled Anastasia, a fictionalized adventure about the legendary missing Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna from the Romanov family of Russia, who disappeared during the events of the Russian Revolution that overthrew the Russian monarchy and aristocracy, as the rest of her family was executed in 1918. The film, featuring the voices of Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer and Christopher Lloyd (among many others), was a musical and a spectacle, designed to compete with the animated films being produced on an almost annual basis by the Walt Disney Studio.

As a musical, the film featured 17 songs by lyricist Lynn Ahrens, including two highly memorable works, “Once Upon a December” and “Journey to the Past”. The story of the film supposes that Anastasia survived the deaths of the rest of her family, and has lived on the street as an amnesiac, Anya. She gets caught up in a con artist’s plot to have her impersonate the missing Anastasia to collect a potential reward from Anastasia’s grandmother if Anastasia was to return. An unlikely love story is wrapped around the discovery that Anya truly is Anastasia.

in 2017, the beloved animated film was adapted into a stage musical on Broadway, with Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty taking some of the songs from the film, and adding many more new musical numbers for the stage, including “In a Crowd of Thousands”. Some of the more fantastical elements of the film are rendered more realistic for the stage show — eliminating some mysticism and the popular animal character of Bartok the Bat — and the musical Anastasia becomes a true historical epic.

The CD of the soundtrack for the Broadway musical includes 25 tracks, ranging from powerful and emotional, to humorous and wistful. Christy Altomare plays Anya/Anastasia, and Derek Klema plays Dmitri. Both have excellent, beautiful voices and their songs are the most powerful on the album. I hope Anastasia has a long and healthy life as a Broadway hit, but I also hope it tours the U.S. and makes it to Lincoln and/or Omaha, as I would love to see this show!

[Sadly, the libraries do not own the animated film Anastasia, however we do have the soundtrack to that film available on CD!]

[ official Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty web site (creators of the music) ] | [ official Anastasia: The New Broadway Musical web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you listened to this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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