We waltzed like no one was watching to “Once Upon a December,” we swooned every time Dimitri smirked or pushed back his perfectly animated hair, and we read all the biographies pertaining to the lost Russian princess which subsequently smashed the animated fairy tale into a million pieces. Stupid reality. But who cares? We all still loved Don Bluth’s non-Disney animated feature Anastasia anyway, historical inaccuracies and all. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s going to be a new stage musical version coming next year!
Yes, you read correctly. The animated re-telling of Russia’s last princess of the Romanov Empire will premiere as a live-action stage musical next year at Hartford Stage with some Broadway talent already working it.
Lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty, who wrote the songs for 1997’s Anastasia, pen the score for the new musical. Terrence McNally is writing the book. Arenas, Flaherty, and McNally worked together on several shows including Ragtime and A Man of No Importance. Darko Tresnjak (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) is directing.
The musical is inspired by the 1956 film starring Ingrid Bergman, Helen Hayes and Yul Brynner as well as the animated film, both of which are by 20th Century Fox. There will be six songs from the 1997 version, including Oscar-nominated “Journey to the Past,” along with new material from Ahrens and Flaherty. Anastasia, the musical, premieres sometime in May 2016.