Last night I got to see the touring production of "Anastasia" at the Dr. Phillips Center here in Orlando...
Full disclosure: I was a huge fan of this show on Broadway having seen it several times! Absolutely in my list of "all-time favorite shows!" I went into the touring production knowing that the staging had changed, the song "Crossing a Bridge" was cut, and none of the original Broadway leads would be part of the cast. That being said...
The touring production was FANTASTIC!!!
While I do miss Christy, John, Ramin, Derek, etc in those lead roles, and IMO the Broadway cast of Anastasia was one of the most "perfect casts" I've ever seen, the talent on stage for this tour was absoultely wonderful, and songs written specifically for the show like "In My Dreams", "The Countess and the Common Man", and "In a Crowd of Thousands" were perfect! As were the numbers imported from the animated film to be included in the Broadway musical.
One thing to note - While much of this show is based on the animated movie, this is NOT a "re-telling" of that story. The Broadway musical removed much of the more "kiddy" stuff, in my opinion, and converted that into a more mature and a more "grounded in reality" storyline that appeals a bit more to an older Broadway musical demographic. I am super happy they went this direction! I much prefer the more serious re-telling of the story with things that are relatable rather than include a lot of "magical stuff" that makes no sense in the real world. In fact, the original version of the show that had it's pre-Broadway run in Hartford, included a much more campy and corny "animated movie" version of "Paris Holds the Key (To Your Heart)" and I was very happy to see this changed into a more traditional Broadway number when the show opened in New York.
To touch on some of the differences between the Broadway production and the tour - The show in New York and its pre-Broadway stop in Hartford utilized three rotating platforms (turntables) to move set pieces on and off the stage and added a bit more kinetic energy to the show. While those are missing from the tour (I'm sure because they were very complex) the touring version of the show is not really impacted by their removal. (And yes, the train does still rotate during "We'll Go From There.") Also the removal of "Crossing a Bridge" was not impactful either. Anya still has the moment where she's on the bridge, talks about the importance of it, but then sings a short reprise of "Paris Holds The Key (To Your Heart)" and then moves on to the next segment. Honestly, I thought this worked EXTREMELY WELL! (And yes, I was a bit worried!)
The rest of the very high-tech and impressive set design is all still there, including a giant LCD screen and two additional screens that display some of the most impressive and high-quality visuals I've ever seen on stage!
I walked away from this show feeling very good about it and happy that the audience members for the first time are getting as close to the Broadway experience as they possibly could, and that is wonderful!
This has been such a wonderful season at the Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando. Such big-ticket shows this season: Hamilton, Hello Dolly, Anastasia, Come From Away, Fiddler on the Roof, Jersey Boys, etc... WOW!!! And the recent announcement of for next season is bringing some of my all-time FAVORITE shows back to Orlando! Miss Saigon and Les Miserables, which I've recently seen the updated productions are FANTASTIC NOT TO BE MISSED! Along with some of my recent favorite Broadway shows Mean Girls, Aladdin, and other classic My Fair Lady, 2019/2020 is going to be another stellar year for Broadway in Orlando!
If you are a local to Orlando we highly recommend getting season tickets, or if you are in town for the theme parks, be sure to check their schedule and add a Broadway show to your vacation plans! https://www.drphillipscenter.org/
Last edited by robbalvey on Wed May 15, 2019 8:56 am.
Just announced. https://www.broadwayrecords.com/ is again releasing a compilation of all (true!) of the musicals from this past Broadway Season ('18-'19). Including two songs on one track, honoring Marin Mazzie, a wonderful musicals actress, who passed away last Sept.from cancer. She is also being honored with a posthumous TONY Award, on Sunday, June 9th's Tony Awards (on CBS, check local times).
~ And, a special four song set cd featuring Laura Benanti who is currently starring in My Fair Lady (which will be closing July 7th).
*Both cds are to be released mid-June.
Starting with Head Over Heels, and ending with Beetlejuice.
A great look at all the nominees in Plays and Musicals.
And just because...here's all the musicals I performed in, back in the 1970's at Theatre In The Park...or TUTS as it's now known by (Theatre Under The Stars). Go Musicals! Everybody in casts, write their parts up on walls, downstairs under The Malkin Bowl. (o; 1977 as Riff in West Side Story, was my last show there. <sad>
Nrthwnd wrote:...and By The Way....before the TONYs actually get started later on....go watch this great little special about what's coming up...you get some new quotes from all the actors interviewed for it...
Well, to be honest, by the time "Hadestown" won it's 7th TONY award, I was ready for "The Prom" to be the spoiler for Best Musical, LOL! Not to be. The musical underworld took The Big One at the end of the broadcast. Total of 8 wins, out of 14 nominations.
Glad Stephanie J. Block won for being Cher, and Santino Fontana won for being Dorothy/Tootsie. A perfect pairing of musical winners.
The play "The Ferryman" got a several TONYs including Best Play. And all the writers were onstage separately, to explain their creations in "less than a minute", which made for interesting off-script commentary. Which was great to me. Hope they do that again next year.
I still don't have all the cast cds to compare what I hear. Sadly, I think "Beetlejuice" and "The Prom" got shut out totally. They can join "Pretty Woman," because PW:TM never had a chance to win, as it was already shut out, in all the nominations. Go figure, hmm?
We enjoyed the night. Certainly more fun than what we're seen on any other awards show.
And yes - as pointed out in the brilliant opening # by James Corden - it was ALL LIVE!
Can't wait to get this! And Oklahoma! And Tootsie! Eventually!
Last edited by Nrthwnd on Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:54 pm.
Every once in a while there is a show that I have missed seeing on Broadway for whatever reason, and I end up seeing it on tour and it becomes one of my favorite shows! Last year it was School of Rock, and this year it was Come From Away!
Thanks to our amazing tour schedule here in Orlando at the Dr. Phillips Center, I'm able to get caught up on shows I've missed and see many of my favorites yet again!
Come From Away is seriously one of the best shows I've ever seen! Many people think it's a show about 9/11 and it's really not. It's a show about something that happened BECAUSE of 9/11 that went under radar as the world was so focused on the event in that moment.
To make a long story short, it's about the planes that were diverted on 9/11 to a very small town in Canada in which 7,000 people were stranded for days before the FAA allowed the planes to fly again. And when you realize that the town only has a population of 9,000 normally, it was a pretty huge event when all of a sudden, out of the blue, the population of one small town is about to double, with people who are stranded, scared, frustrated, and anxious to get back home.
This is their story.
Not only is the story they are telling absoultely heartwarming, but the way in which they do it is mind-boggling. It is only a small cast of about 12-14 members, and each of them play several different roles. Some of those characters switches happen instantly right in front of you, but done in such a way that you immediately know which character they are playing and at no point does it ever feel distracting or bizarre. It is amazing to watch. It's almost like watching some sort of weird magic show. And it is, because the entire show is pure magic!
Oh, yeah, did I mention that the music is good? No wait, the music is FANTASTIC! The songs are upbeat, fun, and not exactly what you would expect! And funny! Yes! The show is actually very VERY funny! Remember, this is not a show "about 9/11" this is a show telling the story of these stranded people and the town that dropped everything to help. It's a glimpse of "decent humanity" which is something we need as much as possible of right now.
I'm not exactly sure how much longer Come From Away will tour, but I highly recommend it if it makes it to your town. As far as the Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center goes in Orlando, it was the final show of this season and WOW, what a way to go out! Next season also looks fantastic! Mean Girls, Aladdin, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, My fair Lady, seriously STOP!!! lol I can't handle this many amazing shows in one season!
If you are an Orlando local or just in town for the theme parks, be sure to check out the Dr. Phillips website for ticket availability and season pass options: https://www.drphillipscenter.org/
ps. The show features quite possibly the largest amount of "chairs" I've ever seen on stage!
Last edited by robbalvey on Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:58 pm.
^ It looks like the same wonderful cast we saw of CFA that toured here, several months ago.
It was really a phenomenal show, considering it wasn't a high end epic musical. But so epic in other ways. Writing was brilliant, the songs moved in and out of the story so easily, and by the end of it, we were just bursting to get out of our seats and give them a Standing O. Really a great show we will see again, should it pass by our way again.
And I got the tour t-shirt too. Had to! And the souvenir program is really great, showcasing all the history of The Event and how the musical came to be. Really inspiring production.
Something I love to do, after the TONYS are over, is look over the performance parts of it, thru Youtube. "Tootsie" was especially enjoyable, but I have to say, just before Michael exited and then gets turned into Dorothy, he sings this....
"Like the thrust of a hummingbird's tongue ~ Like a beer keg that's blown out it's bung ~ Like a hippo protecting her young - Unstoppable!"
Strangest three lines I have ever heard, strung together, LOL.
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