Drama Club Presents: Anastasia


The cast of Anastasia hard at work blocking their movements for the press conference scene at a Saturday rehearsal. A group of reporters circle around senior Connor Farrington (center left) and sophomore Echo Picone (center right). (Photo courtesy of Sofia Schiano)

This year’s spring musical, Anastasia, is perfect for fans of action, romance and most of all, incredible music. 

Anastasia is a fictional take on the legend of the Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov, who was found to have been murdered with the rest of her royal family, but this story entertains the idea many had held onto for a long time: what if she had lived? 

Anastasia is a 1997 cartoon film which was later adapted into a Broadway musical. It follows the story of Anya, a Russian girl who remembers nothing of her past, following new friends Dmitry and Vlad to Paris to convince the Dowager Empress – Anastasia’s grandmother – that Anya is the real lost princess, but along the way, the trio realize that she may be the real Anastasia after all.

“On the outside, Anya is stubborn; she comes across as tough. But I think she’s also your typical princess – she puts love and family first. Her determination gets her through the hardships she faces in the show,” said senior Abigail Lamour, who plays Anya.

Senior Ian Higgins plays Dmitry and senior Connor Farrington plays Vlad; they carry their friendship onto the stage for their roles.

“They’re just like Ian and me in real life,” Farrington said.  “They have a strong connection, they make jokes, they mess around; they’re your classic best friends.”

During the trio’s escape to France from Russia, antagonist Gleb, played by junior Tyrik Iman-Washington, is on a mission to stop Anya from revealing herself as Anastasia.

“Gleb is misunderstood and complex,” said Iman-Washington. “He has to live up to his father’s expectations and he believes Russia should go in a certain direction that he can lead them to. People will have to come see the show if they want to know what direction that is. ”

Along with the diverse group of characters, the cast shares some similarities in diversity. Compared to only two freshmen cast members in last year’s Mamma Mia, there are eight freshmen in the cast this year. 

Freshman Payton Silpoch weighed in on his experience.

         “It’s comforting to come in as a freshman,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of great connections through Drama Club and made so many friends.”

In addition to the eight freshmen, there are a plethora of new cast members from all grades, including two students from the middle school who play young children in this production.

As a first-year student in the musical, junior Jessica Berger said, “I feel like the people are very open. It doesn’t feel like I’m ‘new’. There’s so much respect here; everyone has a place.”

Everyone involved in this production, including the crew and  pit band, has been hard at work. 

“We have a larger pit band this year, so we’re going to sound better. People should come see the show,” said pit band member junior Nico Giovannetti. “We’ve got a lot of good songs to play – I really like ‘Once Upon a December.’ ‘Last Dance of the Romanovs’ and ‘Stay, I Pray You.’”

Head of House Emma Schaffer, a junior, is excited as well.

“Crew is a really fun experience for all. You get to help make the sets with your friends and then watch the cast perform on something you helped make possible,” she said. “It’s truly enlightening.”

The cast has been practicing several days a week since early January in preparation for the shows on March 30, 31 and April 1. Performances are at 7 pm each night, with an additional 2 pm show on April 1.

“I’m so proud of us,” said junior Lindsay Simonsen, who plays the Dowager Empress. “No matter the circumstances, the cast always finds a way to unite as a family and put on a great show.”