Meet Christy Altomare, Broadway's New Anastasia
The very first time actress Christy Altomare sang on stage as Anastasia, she had a gut feeling that the musical was going to take off.
“It was absolutely surreal,” says Altomare of the show’s initial run in Hartford, Connecticut. “We had a packed house and when I came out with the cast to do our final bow, the energy was crazy! I whispered to my stage manager, ‘I think this is a hit!”
Turns out she was right, and now, Altomare and the entire Anastasia crew begin previews of the production this week on the Great White Way.
Like most of us, Altomare first became familiar with the story after seeing the animated version of the film from 1997. “I remember watching it all the time when I was a kid,” she says of the movie, which featured Meg Ryan voicing the role of Anya. “And when I was 16 and started auditioning for musicals, I would always sing the song “Journey to the Past” from the movie. Once I finally got the part of Anya, I also watched the Ingrid Bergman version of the film from the 50’s. It was like seeing a master class in acting.”
The Broadway production will be an adaptation of the animated film, which follows the true story of Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II, who was one of the only members of the Imperial family to survive the Russian Revolution.
Besides Altomare’s favorite number “Journey to the Past”, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1997, the show will feature 19 new numbers as well. “It’s a dream for me to tell this story to whole new generation,” she says. “I've always connected to the character of Anya, because she's an optimist despite all of the obstacles that come her way. It’s a beautiful message for all of us.”
The other big way that Altomare connects to her role? Through the amazing costumes, designed by Tony winner Linda Cho. “I grew up playing dress up and always wanting to look like a Disney princess, so this is my chance,” she says. Altomare says audiences can expect to see her character go through a pretty dramatic wardrobe transformation as the show progresses.
“There's a beaded red gown that I wear at the end of the show that is absolutely stunning,” she says of her final look. “You don't think you're going to cry over a dress, but I definitely teared up the first time I put it on.”
Anastasia opens in previews today. For tickets and more information, visit anastasiabroadway.com.