Based on the beloved 1997 animated film and now transformed for the stage, can the soundtrack for the new Broadway musical recapture the magic of the film?
For anyone who grew up in the 1990’s Anastasia was a film that managed to enchant a lot of audiences – and was even nominated for two Oscars for Best Original Song (‘Journey to the Past’) and Best Original Musical or Comedy.
Now on stage in a new musical starring Christy Altomare as Anya, Derek Klena as Dmitry and Ramin Karimloo as Gleb (the new villain), the soundtrack while featuring classic songs from the film also has a few new ones that fit in surprisingly well with the story – adding more depth.
But even with the original songs, some of the lyrics have been refreshed and updated to give more context to the plot effectively – including those in ‘ A Rumor in St Petersburg’ and ‘Paris Holds the Key (to Your Heart)’. This might slightly disappoint those who loved the original lyrics as they were, but by giving it more historical context it feels as though the plot is a little more substantial.
Of the new songs, ‘In My Dreams’ has similar wistfulness to ‘Once Upon a December’ that is pleasing to listen to, showcasing Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens’ ability to create new songs that are equally heartfelt, while fitting with the original score. Meanwhile, ‘The Neva Flows’ sung wonderfully by Ramin Karimloo is wonderfully poetic, but it is difficult to put into context of the story without seeing the show as is ‘Stay I Pray You’.
However, for those of us who loved the original arrangements of the classic songs there is a few surprises including ‘Learn to Do it’ which not only has changed the lyrics somewhat, but the arrangement feels less sharp and sparky which is slightly disappointing. However, in contrast to this ‘Once Upon a December has been slowed down to great effect – really allowing the listener to hear and feel the lyrics, perfectly sung by Christy Altomare.
Musically, all of the songs have an undertone of the Russian style that works well in keeping the story right at the heart of the proceedings. But the number of songs does feel slightly self indulgent (23 in total- 24 if count the finale) – despite all being a delight to listen to.
Overall though, it is a soundtrack that is pleasing to listen to for all those who have yet to experience watching the show for themselves.
Anastasia the Original Broadway Cast recording is available to buy now through Amazon.