Broadway in Chicago ANASTASIA Review – Russian Princess Found

Like many musicals nowadays, we're finding more and more inspiration from historical figures (Alexander Hamilton anyone?). So who wouldn't be charmed by the story of a real life princess searching for her own fairy tale. In ANASTASIA, fact and fiction are blended to create this Russian princess longing to find out who she really is.

Broadway in Chicago's Princess Moment

Many 90s babies might feel the nostalgia with ANASTASIA as the original 1997 animated flick was a favorite among this generation of princess enthusiasts. Similar to the movie, a young woman named Anya, with no memory of her past, tries to leave communist Russia in order to find out who she is. With nothing except for a vague association with Paris, she’s determined to make her way there.

She connects with scheming partners Dimitry and Vlad who will get her exit papers to Paris if she will play the part of the missing royal - the Grand Duchess Anastasia. They travel far and are met with countless obstacles, but could it be worth it in the end? Will Dimitry and Vlad get their reward money? And will Anya find out the truth about her past?

Broadway in Chicago ANASTASIA
Edward Staudenmayer, Lila Coogan, and Stephan Brower Photo: Courtesy of Broadway in Chicago


Broadway in Chicago ANASTASIA
Edward Staudenmayer, Tari Kelly, and company Photo: Courtesy of Broadway in Chicago

Music Also Sparks Familiar Notes

Most of the music here will be recognizable as ANASTASIA keeps the classic songs from the movie. You’ll be dancing with ghosts of the past in Once Upon a December and feel your heart beating with anticipation in Journey to the Past. Alongside these numbers, ANASTASIA creates more backstories for the characters with more solos and keeps things interesting with fun dance numbers.

In addition to new songs, the story also feels new as its story it is rooted in historical events. Instead of Rasputin rising from the dead to act as our villain, Anya is chased by a Bolshevik officer determined not to have a member of the Romanov dynasty still alive. This more “realistic” version of Anastasia’s story might be appealing for those who want a grown up version of the beloved story.

Sparkling Tiaras and Dynamic Scenery

The set design of ANASTASIA is mostly digital which makes it easy to move from place to place and creates gorgeous scenery.

We move from the cold, frozen streets of St. Petersburg to the bright, blooming streets of Paris in a blink of an eye.

And the dazzling costumes from Russian tiaras and long train ball gowns to beaded flapper dresses capture our eye as well.

ANASTASIA would be a great fit for those who have an affinity for the original movie, any history buffs out there, and anyone who likes a good, old fashioned fairy tale.


Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.


Lila Coogan
Stephen Brower
Jason Michael Evans
Joy Franz
Tari Kelly
Edward Staudenmayer
Brianna Abruzzo
Victoria Bingham
Ronnie S. Bowman, Jr.
Ashlee Dupre
Alison Ewing
Peter Garza
Jeremiah Ginn
Brett-Marco Glauser
Lucy Horton
Mary Illes
Fred Inkley
Kourtney Keitt
Beth Stafford Laird
Mark MacKillop
Kenneth Michael Murray
Taylor Quick
Michael McCorry Rose
Matt Rosell
Sareen Tchekmedyian
Addison Mackynzie Valentino


Terrence McNally
Stephen Flaherty
Lynn Ahrens
Darko Tresnjak
Peggy Hickey
Alexander Dodge
Linda Cho
Donald Holder
Peter Hylenski
Aaron Rhyne
Charles G. Lapointe
Joe Dulude II
Tom Murray
Doug Besterman
Michael Keller & Michael Aarons
David Chase
Adam Cates


Now through April 7, 2019
Tuesdays at 7:30PM
Wednesdays at 2:00PM & 7:30PM (no matinee performance on Wednesday, March 27)
Thursdays at 7:30PM
Fridays at 7:30PM
Saturdays at 2:00PM & 8PM
Sundays at 2:00PM & 7:30PM (no evening performance on Sunday, April 7)


James M. Nederlander Theatre
4 W Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601


Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Broadway in Chicago website


Courtesy of Broadway in Chicago

Note: Excerpts of Picture this Post reviews appear in Theatre in Chicago.

Alexis Bugajski Photo: Liz Lin

About the Author

Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.

Editor's Note:  Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski

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