A Journey to the Past: Reviewing “Anastasia” the New Musical

Review

This summer has been an absolute whirlwind! More so than usual considering Andy and I’s engagement, wedding planning and our full-fledged, all-consuming focus on getting our house ready for sale. In this whirlwind, I’ve been delayed in sharing with you my thoughts on my first Broadway experience and one of the famed street’s newest shows: “Anastasia.”

Having signed up to chaperone a high school trip down to the city, I was especially excited to learn that we would be seeing this show. Aside from seeing “Wicked” off-Broadway this March, I had never before seen a show on-Broadway and was ecstatic to learn that my first show would be one featuring its original cast.

Needless to say, I had an incredible time and was thoroughly impressed by the storyline, the actors’ performance and the special effects. Truly, it was magical. My overall positive review being said, here were my favorite pieces of the show:

25ANASTASIAJP-master675SPECIAL EFFECTS:¬†Typically, my textile artist eye is drawn immediately to costuming. And while this show does in fact boast magnificent costumes (that blue dress!), it’s this show’s special effects that really draw you in. I won’t spoil the show for those who haven’t seen it, but for those who have, you know I’m talking about that train scene! (And of course all of the beautiful winter scenery).

 

STORY:¬†This is a beautiful story of love and the journey to finding one’s identity with inspiration drawn from history. If you love historical fiction, then you will love this show. That being said, the musical’s plot does inevitably vary from the original 1997 cartoon produced by Fox Animation Studios. While this is a point of dissatisfaction among ¬†some die-hards, I personally thought the adaptation worked quite well and allowed the show to take on a more mature tone.Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 3.35.54 PM.png

MUSIC:¬†It goes without saying that a Broadway musical should have spectacular music. “Anastasia” held true to this reputation and delivered an array of numbers that are as beautiful as they are catchy. Let’s just say I had “Once Upon a December” stuck in my head for quite some time. I loved that the producers included songs from the film while also adding quite a few original numbers. Again, more music for a further developed, more mature story.

THE BLUE DRESS: You can’t talk about “Anastasia” without talking about that dress. However, I’ll let this costume speak for itself:

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Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor. Seriously, so beautiful. I’m convinced there wasn’t a single girl in the audience who didn’t wish they owned their own version of this gown.

Case and point – next time you find yourself in the big apple and are looking for something to do, I would certainly recommend this show. Whether you’ve seen the original movie or not, this story will draw you in and make you a fan for life.

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“Wicked” (Touring) – Nothing Short of Spellbinding

Pop Culture, Review

We’re not in Syracuse anymore!¬†

This weekend I had the immense pleasure of attending my first off-Broadway show: “Wicked,” touring at the Landmark Theater in Syracuse, NY.

Although I had read the book, I was unsure of what to expect from the musical. Obviously I had heard it was good, and considering my¬†predisposed love for “The Wizard of Oz,” I was eager to see what the hype was all about.

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One of the many Scarecrow-inspired paintings I created during my undergraduate studies.

If you read the title to this post, ¬†you probably have a pretty good idea as to what I’m going to say. That being, this musical was FANTASTIC, or should I say WONDERFUL.¬†

Everything about this production was spot-on, magical and completely bewitching. I kid you not when I say I sat at the edge of my seat during the entire show. That’s a full 150 minutes¬†of sitting up as far as I possibly could on my child-sized, 1920s-constructed balcony seat, eager to witness, listen and experience every sound and dance move¬†being performed onstage.

Feeling a little bit #wicked!!! ūüíö

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Whether you’re a Central New Yorker currently debating whether or not to buy tickets for the show, or someone considering seeing it on Broadway in the future, here are three reasons why you absolutely, positively should:

MUSIC

I’ll preface this subsection by first saying that I love music and I love musicals, BUT sometimes, just sometimes, there are musicals that start to lose me¬†in the second act, whether it be through an over-played dramatic number or a rhythm that just doesn’t catch. The great thing about “Wicked?” All of the songs are great! Catchy with character, all of the musical numbers directly contribute to moving the story forward, while also conveying an impact and overall experience that acting alone would fall short of. Some of my favorites included “Defying Gravity,” “One Short Day” and “The Wizard and I.”

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SPECIAL EFFECTS

I don’t care who you are – special effects are fun. Especially when those special effects are portraying a young girl’s transition from bookish outcast to the Wicked Witch of the West. No joke, the end of Act 1 gave me goosebumps. There’s also a lot to be said of watching Glinda fly in on a steampunk inspired bubble.

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STORY

Finally, I’m always one for a strong story – it’s what drives effective communication and makes for the most memorable¬†entertainment. Whether you are a fan of “The Wizard of Oz” or not (though admittedly, it helps) this musical supplies audience members with a strong story, as magical as it is relatable. Themes of¬†love, friendship and the search for identity make this show accessible to all ages. And truthfully, aren’t you just a little bit curious about how the Wicked Witch comes to be? No? How about the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion then?

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Outside of my top three, there are also countless other elements that make this show amazing, including but not limited to costumes, lighting design and the immense talent of the entire cast.¬†All of which goes into my saying that I couldn’t have been happier with my “Wicked” experience – the show was everything I’d hoped it would be and more.

If you ever have the opportunity to see it, I highly recommend you¬†do so. After all, it’s not every day you get to defy gravity.

*Respecting the request of the theater and production, the author refrained from photography during the show. Photographs of the show featured in this article were retrieved from Google Images.