Lila Coogan (Anya) and Stephen Brower (Dmitry) in the National Tour of ANASTASIA. Photo by Evan Zimmerman
This week, the iconic tale of ANASTASIA makes its Philadelphia premiere! You’ll be transported to Paris, 1920s as the young Anya sets out to discover the mystery of her past and tries to outsmart the Soviet officer who wants to silence her! With the help of a conman and an ex-aristocrat, Anya embarks on a journey to find out where she belongs. Come to the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music and celebrate this magical show’s first national tour.
We spoke to long-time cast member Stephen Brower to find out more about this version of the story and his role as Dmitry.
Q: Where did you grow up? And what are some of your early theatre-based memories/experiences?
A: I grew up in Tulsa, OK. There wasn’t a ton of theatre in Tulsa at the time, but I was lucky enough to have a random neighborhood playhouse in the park near me. I think I started doing summer camp classes there when I was about 8. I’ve had the bug ever since!
Q: You’ve been part of ANASTASIA for a while now, as part of the ensemble and the u/s for Dmitry on Broadway. How did it feel to find out you would be playing Dmitry for this tour?
A: It was surreal. ANASTASIA was already such a special part of my life. I remember I found out just before showing up to work at the Broadhurst (the theater that housed ANASTASIA on Broadway). I told everybody! I was beaming, there was no chance I could keep it a secret!
Q: This is the first US tour of ANASTASIA and you’ve been on the road since October. What have been some of your favorite experiences on this tour so far?
A: I’ve really loved reconnecting with family and friends who live in different places around the country. It’s cool to check back in with them. And it’s a nice reminder that there is life outside of what we do everyday.
Q: Tell us a bit about Dmitry. What do you love the most about the character?
A: Dmitry is pretty cool. He’s very ambitious and smart (conniving, some would say), but not very in touch with his feelings. I think my favorite thing about him is his sense of humor. He expresses his feelings through sarcasm, and that’s really fun to play.
Q: ANASTASIA is a well-known story. What sets this stage version apart from other versions?
A: Well, our story is inspired by the real rumors surrounding Anastasia Romanov’s existence beyond 1918. But we also introduce new characters who add a lot of heart, adventure, romance, danger, and comedy. The show really has it all! Plus gorgeous costumes and fantastic tunes.
Q: What’s your favorite song from ANASTASIA?
A: “In a Crowd of Thousands”! It’s a gorgeous song, and one of the more intimate moments in the show. Lila [Coogan, “Anya”] and I love to sing it together.
Q: Do you have any downtime plans while in Philadelphia? Anything you’re looking forward to doing?
A: I love Philly. I’m excited to be back wondering around downtown! I’ll probably be eating every meal at Reading Terminal Market. We don’t have a ton of time off, but if I have to be cooped up inside somewhere it might as well be at the legendary Academy of Music. I can’t wait!
Tickets are available here.