Broadway in Louisville presents ‘Anastasia’ with memorable songs

Kyla Stone (Anya) and Sam McLellan (Dmitry) in the North American Tour of ANASTASIA.

Inspired by the beloved film, the romantic and adventure-filled musical “Anastasia” opened Tuesday at the Kentucky Center and was every bit as magical, endearing and hopeful as advertised.

With its opulent settings, dazzling costumes, and a soaring score including the song favorites from the hit animated film, “Journey to the Past” and “Once Upon a December,” this captivating musical is a visual treat for the eyes. Described as “one of the most gorgeous shows in years” by the New York Observer, the Broadway musical is a sweeping adventure, romance and historical epic from the Tony Award-winning creators of the Broadway classic “Ragtime.”

Louisville audiences were taken from the Russian Empire’s darkest days to the joy of Paris in 1920s Paris as a young woman set out to uncover the truth about her past. Anya (Anastasia), is pursued by a brutal Soviet officer who wants to silence her. Anya (Sam McClellan) recruits the help of Dimitry, a charismatic conman played well by Sam McClellan, and Vlad, a charming ex-aristocrat played by Bryan Seastrom. They embark together on an epic adventure to help her love, find home and family.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, “Anastasia” delivers a beautiful score and memorable songs that evoke pre-revolutionary Russia and the jazz age of Paris, all with a modern flair.

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Kyla Stone (Anya) and Sam McLellan (Dmitry) in the North American Tour of ANASTASIA.

Victoria Madden, an understudy to Anya, led the cast of the touring production “Anastasia.” On Tuesday, Madden gave a flawless performance that was just as charming, heartwarming, and funny as the character we all know from the animated film. Madden was full joie de vivreEven before her character ever steps foot into Paris,

Seastrom, McLellan, Madden are perfectly matched, and they travel from St. Petersburg together. ErrLeningrad to Paris is filled with heartwarming moments as well as humorous quips. They “Learn to Do it” and bond, while the audience receives a fast-fire history lesson about Russian Aristocracy. Madden is able to see the truth in their dreams and wonders if it will return one day.

McLellan’s vocals are exemplary in “A Rumor of St. Petersburg” as well as “My Petersburg,” where you can feel his genuineness. You could almost believe that he was a street urchin trying hard to get rich while also expressing a deep affection for the country he grew up in.

Sam McLellan as Dmitry and Kyla Stone as Anya tn the North American Tour of "Anastasia."

Gleb, played brilliantly by Ben Endquist, is the perfect villain for a fairytale about a “regular girl” who is really a “secret princess”. Endquist embodies the idea of the revolution as a military man who feels it’s his duty to find ― and kill ― the last living Romanov. He quickly becomes enchanted with Anya, and even though “The Rumors Never End” may not be true to who she might really be, Gleb allows her to slip through his fingers.

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