Utah State Opera students to debut musical ‘Anastasia’ on Nov. 9

Opera students at Utah State University rehearse a climatic moment in the musical 'Anastasia' in the Morgan Theatre on the USU campus. The production will debut on Thursday, Nov. 9 and run through Monday, Nov. 13 (Image courtesy of Facebook).

LOGAN – The Opera Program at Utah State University has so many talented students enrolled that its upcoming production of the musical Anastasia is being offered to Cache Valley audiences with two separate casts of principle performers.

The production is slated for Thursday, Nov. 9 through Monday, Nov. 13, according to Opera Program director Dallas Aksoy.

In the performances on Thursday and Friday, the leading role of Anya/Anastasia will be played by Madison Black, while Grace Hanni will appear as the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and Karin Burgoyne will portray the Countess Lily Malevsky-Malevitch.

In the matinee on Sunday and the final performance on Monday, Abigail Geertsen will portray Anya/Anastasia, Maiya Lloyd will play the Dowager Empress and Rachel Hall will appear as the Countess Lily.

Alsoy says the remaining principal roles and the musical ensemble have been single-cast.

They are Holden Smith and Caden Webb as the con men Dmitry and Vlad respectively and Sam Teuscher as the Russian agent Gleb Vaganov.

Member of the show’s ensemble will be Allison Johnston, Amelia Kearl, Ben Shaw, Carissa Olson Crowton, Carson Linder, Claire Francis, Emma Colburn, Emma Dombroski, Emma Fox, Erica Harvey, Johnny Richardson, Kae Ra Davis, Kate Wilson, Lauren Tougas, Lily Takemoto, Madelyn Hamilton, Maribelle Taylor and Simon Johnson.

Anastasia will be guest-directed by Stefan Espinosa of the Utah Festival Opera Conservatory. The musical is set in Moscow in the 1920s under Soviet rule and Paris.

Based by the 1997 animated film by Don Bluth, Anastasia adapts to the stage the legend of the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, who was rumored to have escaped the execution of her family at the twilight of the Russian Empire.

Years later, an amnesiac orphan named Anya teams up with two con men and travels to Paris to hopefully find her home, love and family.

The musical features music and lyrics by the renowned composing team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, whose previous Broadway hits have included the musicals Once Upon This Island and Suessical, among others.

The Tony-nominated musical is a brilliant modern-day fairy tale about discovering “who you are and defining who you’re meant to be.”

The USU Opera Theatre’s productions have a focus on teaching students the art of musical stagecraft – that is, telling a story on stage through sight and song.

Evening performances of Anastasia are slated for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9; Friday, Nov. 10; and Monday, Nov. 13.

An unusual late matinee is also slated for 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12.

All performance of Anastasia will be staged in the Morgan Theatre in the Chase Fine Arts Center on the campus of USU.

Tickets for the show can be purchased at the Caine College of the Arts Box Office in Room L101 of the Chase Fine Arts Center or by calling 435-797-8022.

The box office operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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