Home Hotspots Central Q&A: ‘Anastasia’ Comes to Central Florida

Q&A: ‘Anastasia’ Comes to Central Florida

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Lila Coogan (Anya) and Stephen Brower (Dmitry) in the National Tour of ANASTASIA. Photo by Matthew Murphy, MurphyMade.

The Straz Center for the Performing Arts is pleased to present Anastasia from May 7-12.

From the Tony Award-winning creators of the Broadway classic Ragtime and inspired by the beloved films, Anastasia is the new Broadway musical that’s “one of the most gorgeous shows in years!” (New York Observer). This dazzling show transports us from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920’s as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing conman and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love, and family.

Anastasia features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally, a lush, new score by Stephen Flaherty (music) and Lynn Ahrens (lyrics), and direction by Tony Award®-winning director Darko Tresnjak.

The new musical has played to sold out crowds on Broadway since officially opening in April 2017, in addition to garnering multiple Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards and nominations.

The original Broadway cast recording is available at BroadwayRecords.com, Amazon.com and iTunes. The 75-minute album includes the Academy Award-nominated favorite “Journey to the Past” alongside new numbers from the show such as Christy Altomare’s haunting “In My Dreams,” Ramin Karimloo’s passionate “Still,” and Derek Klena’s heart-racing “My Petersburg.”

The National Tour of Anastasia is produced by Stage Entertainment, Bill Taylor (Sister Act, Rocky), Tom Kirdahy (It’s Only A Play, The Visit), Hunter Arnold (Kinky Boots, Spring Awakening), 50 Church Street Productions, The Shubert Organization, Elizabeth Dewberry & Ali Ahmet Kocabiyik, Carl Daikeler, Warner/Chappell Music, 42nd Club/Phil Kenny, Judith Ann Abrams Productions, Broadway Asia/Umeda Arts Theater, Peter May, David Mirvish, Sandi Moran, Seoul Broadcasting System, LD Entertainment/Sally Cade Holmes, Seriff Productions, Van Dean, Tamar Climan and in association with Hartford Stage.

The touring company stars: Lila Coogan (Anya); Stephen Brower (Dmitry); Jason Michael Evans (Gleb);

Joy Franz (Dowager Empress); Tari Kelly (Countess Lily); Edward Staudenmayer (Vlad); Victoria Amelia Bingham (Little Anastasia) and Brianna Abruzzo, Ronnie S. Bowman, Jr., Alison Ewing, Peter Garza,

Jeremiah Ginn, Brett-Marco Glauser, Lucy Horton, Mary Illes, Kourtney Keitt, Beth Stafford Laird,

Mark MacKillop, Kenneth Michael Murray, Claire Rathbun, Michael McCorry Rose, Matt Rosell,  

Sareen Tchekmedyian, and Addison Mackynzie Valentino.

It was a pleasure to sit down with Stephen Brower (Dmitry) for this exclusive Hotspots interview:

At what age did you begin performing, and how did it happen?

I started performing when I was about 8 years old since there was a neighborhood playhouse, which had an improv summer camp for kids. The year before I started I saw my brother perform a homemade performance of Peter Pan, and I decided I could do it much better. I started acting, and never stopped.

What was your first professional role?

It was in the Lear Theater in Oklahoma City. My high school drama teacher told me to drive over to an audition, and I did. I was in the ensemble of Oliver and Hairspray that summer. I was paid, but next to nothing.

How did you get cast in this Broadway Across America production of Anastasia?

I auditioned for the Broadway show and was lucky enough to get cast and get put in the show right away as an ensemble member. I then started to understudy for Dmitry. About six months later they were casting for the national tour, which I auditioned for and got the lead.

Other than this role, what has been your favorite to play?

I loved playing Adam Hochberg in An American in Paris. I started as an understudy, and they promoted me to the lead for the last two months of the tour. It’s such a fantastic role and the show has amazing music.

What is your fantasy role?

I am really interested in doing new work and developing new characters, however, I do love some of the classics. I would love to play Billy Crocker in Anything Goes.

What should our readers expect from this production of Anastasia?

You can expect an epic journey full of romance, and dance, with beautiful costumes and a good time for all ages. And we are all really excited to be in Florida, and to soak up some warm weather!  

For more information on Stephen, you can follow him on Instagram.com/StephenBrower.

Tickets for Anastasia are available at the Straz Center Box Office, 1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa,, FL, 33602, strazcenter.org or calling813.229.7827.

For more information on the show go to: Anastasiathemusical.com.

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