Final Bow: In the End, Two Anastasia Stars Stand at the Beginning
Christy Altomare and John Bolton talk fainting fans and hot-history-teacher Anastasia.
The fairy tale is coming to an end at the Broadhurst Theatre where Anastasia plays its final performance on March 31, completing over two years on Broadway. The show's star, Christy Altomare, and John Bolton, who plays Vlad (one of her teachers in the ways of Romanov royalty), have been with the show since its pre-Broadway run at Hartford Stage in 2016. They've seen the show through its biggest milestones, so they were the perfect pair to take us on a quick journey to the past with our Final Bow questionnaire.
1) What is your favorite line that you get to say?
Christy Altomare: "I will never be complete until I find you" from "Journey to the Past."
John Bolton: When Anya enters the ballet in her iconic blue gown, everything stops and I whisper, "We did a good job, Dmitry." I was convinced it was this sweet, fatherly moment, but there's this awkwardness about the situation that makes it very funny and it gets a huge laugh. It takes the audience by surprise, and I love enjoying that moment every performance.
2) What is your cast's best inside joke?
Christy: Every Saturday night show during the train scene, there is one moment where we pretend there is a little bump and the ensemble goes slightly up and down.
John: The ensemble has so many, all of which are hilarious because in addition to being triple threats, every single one of them is devastatingly funny. They've had West Side Story Day, Ball-Change Day, Mole Day, Fosse Day, Lisp Day, Opera Day…you name it. They even did a Rosemary Clooney day where at some point in the show, they did that awkward sidestepping choreography she does in White Christmas.
3) What was the worst technical difficulty you experienced during the run, and how was it handled?
John: I'm happy to report that our set has always worked beautifully — quite the accomplishment for a show with three turntables. Our technical difficulties were small but fun in their own way. One night early in Cody [Simpson]'s run as Dmitry, a scrolling light above our heads malfunctioned in the first Yusupov Palace scene (where Dmitry and Vlad first meet Anya). It was deafeningly loud and seemed to go on forever. We soldiered on, but Cody kept looking at me as if to ask, "What is happening!" I was certain a stage manager would stop the show, but they didn't and we just kept going, shouting our lines out to cover the racket.
4) What is the most "interesting" present you received at the stage door?
Christy: Too many to count! My creepy Anya doll, a needle point of my face, countless Russian and Parisian souvenirs, candy from around the world, a popcorn maker, tons of adorable stuffed owls, the most beautiful scrapbooks from fans documenting my time at Anastasia, countless canvas paintings, knitted Anyas, blanket collages, friendship necklaces, earrings, a 3-D printed picture in glass of the Anastasia logo, a mosaic of an owl, pizzas, Schmackary's cookies, two massive brown boxes of Tastykakes, a wooden Tony Award, shirts and hats that express my love for Taco Bell, countless socks with all kinds of amazing designs, beautiful jars with positive thoughts inside, coasters…I'm sure I'm leaving some things out, but I just couldn't say one.
John: I have a Vlad-as-Anya-as-Jedi Knight that I am especially fond of.
5) Who is the coolest person to come see the show?
Christy: Lin-Manuel Miranda.
John: Lily Tomlin saw us early in the run, and she is a huge idol of mine. I grew up knowing her albums by heart (I still do!), and her one-woman show on Broadway changed my life. Also, one night our producer brought a gentleman up to my room and said he wanted to meet me. It was F. Murray Abraham and I couldn't believe he was going on and on saying such kind things. Here I am trying to be cool, and gracious and inside I'm jumping up and down. I wanted to grab my iPhone and say, "Could you repeat all of that so I have it on video?"
6) What has been your most memorable stage-door interaction?
John: The nice girl who fainted on me. Literally fainted. Not on Derek Klena or Ramin Karimloo or Zach Adkins, but on me. I bragged about that for months.
Christy: Too many to say one.
7) If you woke up with amnesia, what celebrity would you try your hand at being?
Christy: Lady Gaga.
John: The late, great Gene Rayburn — the most affable, smart, hilarious game-show host in the history of time.
8) If Anastasia were roaming among us, what's her modern-day secret identity?
Christy: She would be in the Midwest somewhere on a big farm as anonymous as possible!
John: Hot history teacher.
9) If you had to prove you were Anastasia, how would you do it?
John: DNA, baby. It's a thing now.
10) Dream-cast Rasputin, Bartok, and Pooka if they had made it into the musical.
Rasputin - Christopher Lloyd
Bartok - Hank Azaria
Pooka - John Bolton's Dog Dallas Magnolia
Rasputin: Christopher Lloyd.
Bartok: Derek Klena. Yes, Derek. He is a handsome leading man but he is also one of the funniest people I have ever met.
Pooka: My dog Dallas. She looks just like him. And she's in love with Christy. But then who isn't? (#missdallasmagnolia)