Anastasia: The New Broadway Musical opened in the Sherrill Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, March 23. Based on the mystery surrounding Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, NRCA’s spring production features a large, talented cast and crew. Their first performance ended with a standing ovation.
“Opening night was very strong. The cast, the crew, and the technicians were all in great form. And we had an excellent audience for an opening night—fantastic, very full, and very excited,” said NRCA Fine Arts Director Zachary Roberts, who directs the musical.
The stage production places a heavy emphasis on the history underlying the story of Anya/Anastasia as intrigue and love follow her from St. Petersburg to Paris. The historical aspect is one of Roberts’ favorite parts of this musical. “I love history. My mom’s a history teacher. She taught math and history for a long time. And I love the historical background of the play. It takes you through Russia and through Europe and all the way to Paris. It’s such a beautiful and wonderful historical journey,” Roberts said.
The cast of Anastasia features young principal actors who gave strong performances on opening night. “Ella Grace Laurel plays the role of Anya, or Anastasia, as she becomes known by the end of the play. She’s a freshman, and she’s a fantastic singer. She’s doing a fantastic job with all the elements. We also have another freshman, Joshua Brown, who is playing the role of Dmitry, and he’s doing a fantastic job. It’s just wonderful to watch him grow and mature. We have a sophomore, Bailey Baker, who is playing Vlad, and he has great comic timing. It’s a lot of fun to watch him and hear him. And then we have senior Parker Chapin playing Gleb, and he is doing a fantastic job. Gleb is a very complicated and nuanced antagonist, so it’s fun to have [Chapin’s] take on that role,” Roberts said.
Tickets for the remaining performances are available on the NRCA website. “You can secure your own seats so you can choose where you want to sit. But do it quickly because we’re starting to see tickets fly off the shelves, which is great,” Roberts said. “You’re going to see a fantastic quality production that I think is going to be moving and heartfelt, and you’ll get to see some of the best talent that NRCA has. I’m excited to share that with our audience.”