Once Upon a December…in January

Take a Trip to Paris and Come See Anastasia

Photo+courtesy+of+Wakeland+Theatre+Department

Photo courtesy of Wakeland Theatre Department

Ashley Deckert and Paris Bashlor, Editors-In-Chief

The hit Broadway musical Anastasia hits the Wakeland stage beginning tonight. 

The story of Anastasia begins in Imperial Russia where the young princess, Anastasia, learns her grandmother, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, is leaving for Paris. Little Anastasia is greatly saddened by the sudden news, however, she receives a music box as a form of comfort. Eleven years pass and Anastasia is at a ball with her family when the Bolsheviks invade. From there she tries to retrieve her music box only to be shot and then captured, along with her family. Dowager Empress then learns her family has been executed. Little does Dowager Empress know her sweet granddaughter, Anastasia, may still be alive. 

“We have exactly the right kids for [Anastasia]. It’s the perfect thing for our people,” WHS Theatre Director Mrs. Dalfonzo said. 

The cast and crew of Anastasia have been preparing since the beginning of Oct. and have been putting in hours of hard work in order to bring this story to life. 

“We have been rehearsing since the beginning of October. We have learned music, choreographed, built sets, sanitized things, worn masks, reinvented everything we do in order to try and be able to do a show in COVID USA,” Dalfonzo said. 

Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, many adjustments have been made in order to keep everyone involved in the show, as well as the audience, safe. At the performances, there is a 25% audience capacity and a live stream option for those who aren’t able to attend the show in person. Masks are required to be worn at the performances. During intermission, audience members will be socially distanced either in their seats or in the lobby and actors will clear the stage in order to keep everyone safe. The use of props have also been limited throughout the show in order to prevent the spread of COVID. 

“We all have our own box and we can’t see other people. We are the only ones in our boxes and the props in there are only touched by us. For the props we pass back and forth, they have sanitizing stations backstage to keep them safe,” freshman Kate Woodford said. 

The cast and crew of Anastasia have worked tirelessly days and nights in order to make their performance stand out to the crowd.

Although times may be difficult with performing in a mask, the Wakeland Theatre Crew does their utmost to keep the audience’s eyes glued to the stage. 

“I’d say the most difficult part when doing the show was getting used to all the guidelines we have to follow, [especially] our faces covered with our masks. Not only do the masks limit facial expressions, but they also make it difficult to hear us talk and sing,” sophomore Riley Deckert said.

Not only have masks made performing difficult, but continuing to implement social distancing guidelines has also been a challenge. 

“I think just trying to keep everybody safe and healthy has been hard. We are being super careful to not have to quarantine by staying six feet apart. The ensemble is separated by our own boxes on stage that we spend a majority of the show in. None of the choreography has us touching other people,” freshman Madison Glazier said. 

No matter the circumstances, the crew knows that the show will be a big hit at Wakeland.

“I think the show will be amazing! Everyone has been working so hard under all these circumstances and so far everyone has done an incredible job. I’m so very proud of all the hard work that everyone has put in and I’m so excited for all of the audience to see that,” Deckert said.

Preparation is a key factor when it comes to setting a stage for a performance. The lights, props, and music are key factors to bringing Anastasia to life.

“We are so excited and it’s beautiful! For the first time ever, we rented four big projectors so there’s projections above and below the stage,” Dalfonzo said.

Come see the show or attend virtually tonight or tomorrow at 7 p.m., Sat., Jan. 23 at 2 or 7 p.m., or Sun., Jan. 24 at 2 p.m.. Tickets are available at wakelandtheatre.com/tickets.