San Diego

Musical Version of ‘Anastasia' Brings New Principal Character, New Songs and Historically Accurate Plot

The musical version of the popular movie "Anastasia" comes to San Diego - with a few changes, including a brand-new character.

Audiences heading to see the musical version of the popular movie "Anastasia" will find a few changes -- and even a new character -- when the curtain rises in San Diego.

The beloved story follows the mystery around the life of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia -- and one girl's claim that she is that Grand Duchess. 

The movie first came out in 1997, but the musical, which opened on Broadway in 2017, isn't an exact replica of the movie. 

One of the big differences: the addition of Gleb, an antagonist that represents the Russian regime at the time. Gleb is drawn toward Anya, a woman he believes to be the last surviving Romanov. 

But Gleb isn't your typical villain, Actor Jason Michael Evans told NBC7 in a phone interview, and he has quite a fan following. 

"[The fans] love Gleb because he's not your prototypical villain in the sense hat he's motivated by evil and darkness," Evans, who plays Gleb, said. "He's motivated by love and passion and his love for his country."

"It takes him to a dark place, but he's not a villain," Evans added.

It's a struggled highlighted in one of the several new songs written for the musical: "Neva Flows." The character sings about his history and the new Russian regime. 

"You're weaving in and out of the stream of consciousness to this Communist anthem, to his tortured history," Evans said. 

One of the reasons Evan feels like he can keep playing the character, night after night, is because of Gleb's arch. He's not your normal villain. 

"He's vulnerable, he has moments of joking, happiness, moments of intensity," Evans said. "I like where he gets to go every night."

In addition to the principal character Gleb, audiences can expect 16 new songs and a more historically accurate plot rooted in history. 

Even with changes from the Silver Screen to the stage, audiences will still find some of the most iconic songs from the movie performed live on stage: "Once Upon a December," "A Rumor in St. Petersburg" and "Journey to the Past," in particular. 

Evans still remembers when he first saw the show in Connecticut, before the Broadway transfer. When the first notes to "Journey to the Past" started to play, the whole crowd gasped. 

"How timeless those songs are, those songs are really what pushes 'Anastasia' into having a life as a stage musical, 20 years after it came out," Evans said. 

"Anastasia" runs from Oct. 1 to 6 at the San Diego Civic Theater. To buy tickets, click here

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