Waynesboro High School brings story of Anastasia to the stage
By Rebecca J. Barnabi
For Augusta Free Press
WAYNESBORO — Waynesboro High School’s drama students invite you to take a journey to the past. To Russia in July 1918, when a couple and their five children were murdered.
In the years to come, rumors circulated that one of the children survived, but did not know her identity. She did not know she was Anastasia Romanov.
“We are very excited,” said Waynesboro High Choral Director Jeff Ryman. “I’m pretty sure this is the first time [“Anastasia” has] been done in the Valley.”
Ryman said the drama department chose “Anastasia” as this year’s spring musical production almost a year ago because of the interesting story and the music. They could not have known that more than 100 years after the deaths of the Romanovs, Russia would be in the news again.
“And here we are with Russia so prominent in the news,” Ryman said of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The production is also interesting given that the remains of Anastasia and her younger brother, Alexei, were found, according to Ryman, 60 or 70 years after the family’s death outside the room in which the others were murdered.
Audience members will see a few minutes at the beginning of the production of what happened to Anastasia’s family.
“Then, we pick up the story 10 years later,” Ryman said.
Twenty-four cast members, 15 musicians in the orchestra pit and eight crew members behind-the-scene lead the audience on Anastasia’s journey, similar to the journey seen in 20th Century Fox’s 1997 cartoon film.
“There are a lot of similarities to the movie,” Ryman said.
The theater production has a lot more music than the film, and does not include Bartok, the albino bat who is Rasputin’s assistant.
“And she finds her way to Paris to meet her grandmother,” Ryman said.
Waynesboro High senior Olivia Edwards portrays Anastasia, who is in her early 20s, unlike the Anastasia in the film who had just turned 18.
“She’s been wondering around Russia trying to figure out who she is because of the trauma of losing her family,” Ryman said.
“Anastasia” will be performed Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m., and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 24 in the Louis B. Spilman Auditorium at Waynesboro High. Tickets are $12 per adult and $7 per student, and available on the high school’s web site and at the door.