‘Anastasia’ Musical Heads to the Stage Next Year

Anastasia musical Ahrens Flaherty
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

A new stage musical version of “Anastasia,” the story of the youngest daughter of the last emperor of Russia, will premiere next year at Hartford Stage with a team of Broadway talent attached.

Lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty, who wrote the songs for the 1997 animated movie, pen the score for the new musical with a book by Terrence McNally, who reunites with the songwriters after collaborating on shows including “Ragtime” and “A Man of No Importance.” Darko Tresnjak, who staged last season’s Tony champ “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” will direct.

Premiering in May 2016, “Anastasia” is “inspired” by the 1956 film starring Ingrid Bergman, Helen Hayes and Yul Brynner as well as the animated film, both by 20th Century Fox. Six songs from the 1997 version, including Oscar-nominated “Journey to the Past,” will be used in the stage musical alongside new material from Ahrens and Flaherty.

There was also a 1954 Broadway play of the same name by Marcelle Naurette, and a 1967 TV movie starred Julie Harris and Lynn Fontanne.

A workshop of the musical was held last summer in New York, and another two-week private session is planned for the first two weeks of June. Stage Entertainment USA is on board as the show’s commercial partner.

“Anastasia” is the first new musical for Hartford Stage, where Tresnjak is artistic director, since it developed and premiered “Gentleman’s Guide.” Also on Tresnjak’s plate is a revival of “Kiss Me Kate” that opens at the theater next month, as well as the Chicago launch of the national tour of “Gentleman’s Guide” and the Hartford premiere of the stage adaptation of “Rear Window.”

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