On paper, Veronica Stern looks like an overnight success. After all, barely a year after she graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music ’s musical theater program in 2021, she landed the title role in a touring company of “Anastasia, ” the same company that opens a two-week run at the Aronoff Center on Jan. 3.
But to Stern, that year was anything but “overnight. ”
“To me, it felt like a lot longer, ” the girl said, speaking by phone from Columbus, Georgia, where “Anastasia” had recently opened. “It was a whole year associated with auditioning, ” she said, recounting the many times the lady gave her all in auditions only to be told she wasn’t right for the particular role.
It’s not that will she was not working at all. She spent the summer after graduation performing in “Sweeney Todd” at the vaunted Muny inside St . Louis. And later, went on in order to perform within “The Buddy Holly Story” at the Florida Repertory Theatre in Fort Myers.
But in between shows, she was still working as a barista at the particular Caffe Ammi Roasting Co. in the girl hometown of Pelham, 20 miles north of Broadway in the New York City suburbs.
Then, while the girl was performing in Florida, her agent called. Would she be interested in trying out for “Anastasia”?
“Well, of course , I said ‘yes, ’ ” she stated. “But to tell you the truth, We didn’t really know the show that well. I actually know about it. The original Anya – that’s my role – was Christy Altomare, who also went to CCM. And the show’s music was written by another CCM graduate, Stephen Flaherty. ”
But the particular more she auditioned – she experienced several callbacks – the more the girl realized the particular role would be a great one for her. It fit her voice well. And she got the acting chops to pull it off. Plus, the lady saw that the show would be stopping inside Cincinnati for two weeks as part of the Broadway in Cincinnati series.
“You know, with COVID and everything, I didn’t get the proper ending to my school career, ” she mentioned, recalling that will nearly half of the girl time from CCM has been impacted by a variety of pandemic restrictions. “I can’t wait for the teachers to see me within the show. When I was at school, I never really got the chance to guide a show. I know they knew I could do it. But again, there was COVID. ”
Stern was hired for the job in May, but didn’t begin rehearsing until early August. Her first performance had been just three weeks later, on Aug. 23 within Boston.
“Yes, it all happened very quickly, ” she said. “But that’s part of the reason why you go to a place like CCM. They work you very hard and prepare you to be able to adapt to nearly any environment – even 1 where things happen really, very fast. ”
The particular show is based partly on the 1997 animated film regarding a young woman suffering from amnesia that comes in order to believe that she might just be the particular daughter associated with the last czar of Russia. For much associated with the last century, rumors were rife that one of the czar’s children managed to escape when all the other family members had been executed simply by Bolshevik revolutionaries. But the 1997 film is more fairy tale than history lesson. So the particular musical also borrows some elements from a 1956 film, “Anastasia, ” that will starred Ingrid Bergman.
The musical is still a little flimsy upon details. But Stern is ready in order to fill you in on everything the show might have glossed over.
“I acquired never studied any of that history before We got this role, ” she stated. “But when I got our script, this came with about 75 pages associated with history about the Romanoff family and the culture of that whole period. And that was just the beginning. I actually definitely did my research. ”
Don’t come expecting the cartoon movie, though, with its talking bat, its magical version of Rasputin, the particular “mad monk. ” Flaherty, along with co-composer/lyricist Lynn Ahrens and playwright Terrence McNally heavily revised major elements of the tale.
The most significant change is that this version of “Anastasia” retains just six songs from the particular animated feature – the best ones, of course – plus then adds an additional 16 musical numbers.
Why make so many changes? McNally, who else died inside March 2020, explained to Playbill in 2016: “Once you have a live character onstage, it’s such a totally different expression than a cartoon figure. I never felt as if I was adapting a cartoon. I think the story was too real. ”
So, in the end, it’s left to the particular performers, particularly the actor in the leading part, to bridge that gap between reality and fantasy, between a tale associated with love and longing and one of unspeakable tragedy.
“Yes, it will be definitely the story with all sorts of dramatic ups and downs, ” mentioned Stern. “But once you’re in a role, the learning in no way stops. That’s the beauty of live theater. All I know is that will I feel extremely lucky in order to be within this function and to end up being bringing it to Cincinnati. ”