Looking for the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend with the whole family? Don’t miss Broadway in Portland’s Anastasia. This dazzling production is only in town for one week, so get your tickets before they’re gone!
There’s something special about dressing up in fancy clothes and taking your daughter to the theater, especially when the show is about a real life princess, in this case, Anastasia Nikolayevna, youngest daughter of the last Tzar of Russia. Based on the 1997 animated film of the same name (but without the villain Rasputin and his bat sidekick), Anastasia is a 20th century fairy tale told in old fashioned Broadway style, packed with swelling musical numbers and dazzling sets and costumes that are sure to delight you and your kids.
Though the story has a gruesome start, the assassination of the royal family is so highly stylized young audiences might not even realize what happened. The plot quickly advances 10 years and the legend of the Princess’s possible survival is the talk of the town (“A Rumor in St. Petersburg”). No one knows what happened to Anastasia, including the princess herself, who has amnesia and works as a poor street sweeper by the name of Anya. Two charismatic con men, Vlad (who once “hobnobbed with the royals”) and Dmitry (Anya’s eventual love interest) take Anya under their wing with the hopes of passing her off as the princess to the Dowager Empress, who lives in Paris and is offering a hefty reward to anyone who can find her granddaughter. As Anya studies to become the princess, pieces of her lost memories begin to surface and she starts to believe she might actually be Anastasia.
With a masterful use of digital screens, the production is a feast for the senses, taking us from the extravagant palaces of Imperial Russia to the gloomy streets of Leningrad to the riot of color in 1920s Paris. The cast is full of talented performers, and watching the ballerinas dance bits of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in “Quartet at the Ballet” was the highlight of the night for many of the little girls I interviewed on the way out of the theater. I have to admit, I loved that part, too.
Anastasia is recommended for kids 7 and up, and of all the musicals in the 2021-22 Broadway in Portland line-up, I think Anastasia is the one elementary-aged kids will most enjoy. As with many musicals, it’s helpful to go over the basic plot with your children before they see the show. If you can, listen to some of the soundtrack together, too.
If you buy orchestra level tickets, get seats at least as far back as row J, where the floor begins to slope up, so your kiddos will have a better chance at seeing over the people sitting in front of them. Booster seats are also available to rent for just a dollar.
Anastasia is playing in Portland now through February 13 at Keller Auditorium. Masks are still required and proof of vaccination or a negative covid test are checked at the door.
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