As promised, this week’s Theater Thursday is all about the film that is always mistaken for a Disney Princess movie, now turned future musical, Anastasia. The very, very, fictional telling of the lost princess of Russia, Anastasia (though historically inaccurate) has some of the most beautiful music to grace the animation world, and now we are on a mission: we must find who can act and sing these roles/songs to perfection! Let’s go on another Dream Casting adventure!
Alert: This Dream Casting is more based on vocals and performance than who is a look-a-like to the character.
Anya (Anastasia) played by Samantha Hill
If you’ve been in attendance for either Phantom of the Opera or Les Mis in the past two years, you might know of Samantha Hill. She’s a newcomer, with a stunning set of pipes and lots of personality to match. Since most of her previous roles have been of the more wide-eyed, innocent variety, I’d love to see her play a more spunky, charisma-driven role like Anya. Also, not gonna lie, Sam would look killer in those yellow princess gowns. And can you imagine hearing “Once Upon A December” performed with this voice leading the way? I sure can, and if I ever got to hear that live, it’d be a dream come true.
Dimitri played by Erich Bergen
Ever since I saw the Jersey Boys movie, I can’t get Erich Bergen out of my mind. Sure, that movie was not a favorite of mine by a long shot, but Eric was definitely one of the few glowing aspects that it featured. He’s got a ton of charm, a bit of cockiness in his facial expressions, and a lot of confidence. And all those qualities perfectly describe the character of Dimitri. I can especially see Erich pulling off those more emotional scenes, when Dimitri has to let go of Anya as she figures out her true identity, and hopefully he’ll have a song to convey all those feels. Perfect fit? Definitely.
Vlad played by Anthony Warlow
Let me just get this out there, if I could I would cast Anthony Warlow in every production of everything. His voice is just enchanting, and has this lovely classic quality to it that never gets old. He also has a charming sort of fatherly way about him, that reminds me a lot of Vlad. I’d love to hear his rendition of “Learn to Do It (Waltz Reprise),” because I have a feeling it would be the most flawless version of that song to ever be performed (sorry, Kelsey!).
Rasputin played by Cliff Saunders
Ever since I saw Cliff in Les Mis, I was intrigued by how entertaining he was, and also by how much I wanted to see him play a real, bad to the core, villain. And what a perfect way to make that fan dream come true then to see him play Rasputin, a comedic but spooky baddie that has all the theatrical flair that would show Cliff’s dynamite acting skills. He would sing the heck out of “In The Dark of the Night” and would totally own at making those emotional shifts that the character goes through funny and still terrifying.
Sophie played by Kate Baldwin
Cousin Sophie is considered by many to be one of the best parts of the movie, and thus I can’t imagine a more flawless, sassy, and beautiful lady to play the electric part than Kate Baldwin. Yeah, sure, she doesn’t look like Sophie (spoiler alert: neither would Bernadette, people) but vocally and acting wise, I could totally see Kate in this part. She can do the flirty, cute aspects in her sleep, and perfectly convey all the energy needed for the “Paris Holds The Key (To Your Heart)” number, which will probably be the showstopper of the production (or one of them, at least).
Dowager Empress Marie played by Betty Buckley
Yeah, this is a dream cast post, and heck I am gonna dream big for this one. Of course, I would love if Angela Lansbury returned for this iconic role, but the woman is 89 and I don’t know if she’d be interested in playing this part on the stage. Heck, probably neither would Betty, but since she is my Broadway queen, I find it appropriate for her to play the Dowager Empress. It’ll never happen, but if it did, I’d cry big nerdy, musical theater tears.
So who would you cast in the Anastasia musical? Would you cast the animal characters too? Are you excited for the production to premiere next year? Comment below with your dreams, big or small, and everything in between.
Anastasia The Musical is set to make its world premiere at Hartford Stage from May 12th to June 12th of 2016.