Anastasia the Musical

A Transportation to an Alternate Reality

West Albany held its final showing of the musical “Anastasia” during the weekend on April 23 in the Albany Performing Arts Center. Spectators were transported to an alternate historical reality through its beautifully staged set and technical aspects.

Loosely inspired by the rumor of the Grand Duchess Anastasia having escaped the execution of her family, the musical follows the story of an amnesiac young Anya who has no recollection of her early years. On her journey of self discovery, she find herself standing in front of two troublesome Russians, Vlad and Dmitry, who are holding auditions to “create” a phony Anastasia look a like in hopes to claim the large sum of money the Dowager Empress Maria has offered in return for her long lost granddaughter.

The lead role of the carefree spirit of Anya was brought to life by junior Kaylee Jo Robinson, who captivated the audience together with senior Cadence Schuerger, who took on the role of Dmitri. Through their character choices they not only embodied the character and put their own unique twist to their role, but made the development of their character’s romance a convincing act being displayed early on in the streets of St. Petersburg (“My Petersburg”) all the way through their emotional embrace in the Finale. Each collectively also brought an engrossing duet “In a Crowd of Thousands” that further enhanced their already strong chemistry.

While Dmitri and Anya kept the audience engaged with their blossoming romance, senior Andy Craig as Vlad, delivered humorous moments that eased the hearts of the people. His character’s interaction with every cast member was always without fail met with humor and clumsiness as seen with the dynamic he had with Dmitri that was present with every interaction together. Although, the most descriptive adjective to describe Vlad is “humorous” it is important to mention that despite his easy going nature he was still able to remain grounded regardless of the circumstances.

One of the most alluring performances from Act II was undoubtedly “Land of Yesterday” with the lead performer being junior Amelie Crowe as Lily. The countess, Lily, makes her way to a party at Neva Club, a hangout place for aristocratic Russian exiles, adorned with a red glittering dress. The exiles reminisce about the good old days of Russian, before the Bolsheviks took control of Russia and overthrew the monarchy. The performance was seamlessly enhanced by several technical aspects such as the bright yellow light contrasted against a dark drop to indicate the time of day. One of the most useful props used in the act was the piano Lily mounts on that upgrades her performance and the spotlight shun on that makes her red dress. The intoxicating performance was followed by Glebs, played by David Nicholas, arrival in Paris (“Land of Yesterday” reprise) that left spectators anxious. He later goes on to create one of the most startling suspenseful moments of the musical when he holds a gun to Anya’s head determined to cause her an untimely death.