Your independent guide to the best shows in Binghamton
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Where to begin.... The overall presentation of the national tour of Anastasia is meant to leave you drooling over it's beauty, but here's where I believe it fails: The Leading Lady. Ms. Coogan's voice is admirable when she sings, but the lady simply should not have been cast in a speaking roll. Staccato is the best description I can give her delivery. Her lack of emotional warmth toward both if her leading men left me stone cold. Most of her energy seemed to be spent in showing us her pretty profile and navigating her choreography. Put plainly, she is miscast.
The two best things about this tour are actor Edward Staudemayer as Vlad, and the ensemble who shine in vocal and dance presentation. The "movie" of a set is stunning and some of the music is memorable. All in all, I was disappointed.
Jack T. from Cincinnati, Ohio
Unfortunately, the performers lost me within the first 10 minutes or so of the show.
Anya's forehead lavalier mic was positioned in the center of her forehead, was dark in color, and was clearly, and distractingly, visible. Dimitri's mic was about an inch below his right hairline part, was also black, and also quite visible. Same issue with four or five other performers. All was quite distracting.
When Dimitri began his first solo, there was no sound...someone forgot to bring up his mic until he was several lines into it. Not long after, during a portion when a number of the cast were upstage in a line from left to right, Dimitri had to bend over to tie his right shoe. Perhaps double-knotting prior to a performance would be a good idea for everyone!
Throughout the first act, the sound level of the performers was generally low (no, I have no hearing issues), spotlighting at a number of points in the first act was not accurate...leaving a portion of the lighted performer in the shadow, slightly bouncing vertically at times or extinguishing just before the performer concluded her/his portion.
During several of the dance scenes taking place "indoors," the snow effect (a video file), meant to be taking place outside I'm sure, was evident on the interior columns of indoor room. Additionally, no snow that I have ever witnessed in real life, fell upwards or "curled" upwards, as quite a bit of the flakes did! Wind either blows it in its direction, or it falls straight to the ground.
At most other shows we have attended (been season ticket holders for 8 years now) there is a cue monitor placed on the front of the first level balcony facing the stage and a static camera in the orchestra pit that is focused on the orchestra's director. No monitor was used last evening, instead, the director was lit by two stage right and left spots, his movements throughout the first act were abundantly visible and as distracting as everything else I have mentioned.
And there were several other things that provided distraction from the performance and which were not fair to the performers.
As for the performances, I think I would rate them average. No spectacular singing or speaking voices (could have been the result of poor sound engineering), and dialogue seemed to be "rushed" at several spots in the act. I know that all performers gave their best...they deserve better technical support.
My comments are all observations from the first act. In our time attending Broadway performances, there has been only one other evening that we left at intermission. The performance of Anastasia at the Cincinnati Aronoff last evening was the second.
Mimi from Vancouver, British Columbia
NO VILLAIN, NO HERO, NO PLOT, GREAT ORCHESTRA
The play, if you could call it that, lacked stage presence. Non of the characters were likeable. With the exception of the scenes with Lilly and Vlad, and the ballerinas, there was little going on. Every other song was just a song - no backup dancers, no special effects, no stage changes, nothing - a tiny dot, in a corner of the stage, standing under the spotlight, sulking.
The rewrite of the story presented many infuriating plot holes. Vastly changing the timeline of events made for unnecessarily long and tedious stay in Saint Petersburg and a short and uneventful trip to Paris.
The famous Rasputin, the most devious man in Russian history, was replaced with no-substance nobody, who added nothing to the story. Appalling attempt to create drama. Flat and forgettable.
On the bright side, the costumes were shiny and the live orchestra was amazing. Frankly, it would have been a more entertaining show had they been on stage instead.
Jay from Denver, Colorado
THIS WAS NOT GOOD
Go in with low expections. This is not like the movie and frankly we found it boring. The leads could have been better cast. Was so uncomfortable in my seat. Wish I did something else with my night.
Rebecca from Dallas, Texas
ANASTASIA’S JOURNEY TO NORTH AMERICA=FAIL
Extremely disappointed. I have seen both performances on and off broadway and recommend they revisit the touring Anastasia’s performance. Instead of leveraging the past and history of the story. This traveling actress portrays a self-righteous, presumptuous appearance. All in all, the touring cast may need a refresh from the original cast to avoid a cost deficit. I’ve never rooted for the main character to be eliminated until now. Her talent in singing is fine but her annunciation and emphasis on words is her death.
Dana Spivak from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
We love the theater and go every chance we get. This is the first time we have ever left at intermission. I would have left sooner, but I didn't want to disturb others around me.
The setting was absolutely magical. The stage, props, and costumes were amazing. Anastasia had an angelic voice that sent chills through you. That being said, there was ZERO chemistry on stage between characters, the acting portion of the play was horrible, and the songs were so unbelievably boring that it was hard to stay awake. If it wasn't for the few one liners by Vlad I may have snored out loud. (He was great by the way!).
Save your money! This one should have stayed with 20th Century Fox's animation department.
M. Fox from Cleveland, Ohio
BRING SOMETHING TO READ...
As a regular to Cleveland's Playhouse Square, we were looking forward to an entertaining afternoon out with Anastasia. Sadly, I was everything but entertained. I was forewarned it was slow to start. Turns out it is also slow to end. Most actors overacted as such to make their characters cartoonish. All but 3 or so of the songs were merely filler and did not lend anything to the progression of the plot. While I do appreciate classically trained vocals, they seemed misplaced for the characters. Much of the drawn out vibrato was extremely distracting and made it difficult to even understand the actors. I liken the entire performance to a better than average high school performance and ended up reading over my entire playbill awaiting its end. We should have left at intermission.
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