Orange Lutheran High School’s heartwarming and nostalgic rendition of Anastasia, was “a dream that [not even] time will fade.”


Photo courtesy of @orangelutheranhs on Instagram

Karissa Beltran-Jimenez, Journalist

In a story of love, loss, and deceit, the characters of Anastasia were brought to life as they formed unlikely friendships, stumbled through dazzling adventures, faced the fears of the past, and learned to love. 


With no memories of her past or even a name to her face, a young woman, Anya, solicits the help of two swindlers, Dimitry and Vlad in their ploy to find someone whom they can pass as the lost Romanov, Grand Duchess Anastasia. Anya, in hopes of finding a family, and the two men, scheming to snatch a reward, travel to Paris to search for the Dowager Empress. 


Ronan Southall’s zealous portrayal of Dimitry exhibited complexity as his enigmatic character developed throughout the story. Expertly, Southall showed a softer side of his cheeky and emotionally detached character through the distinguished body language he used when engaging with the set or accessories such as his messenger bag. Likewise, actress Sophia Zonni’s expression and movement- especially on the train to Paris- alongside Southall, helped slowly build tension, further establishing Anya and Dimitry’s chemistry. Zonni too exemplified that passion through song, leaving audiences speechless before erupting in applause.


Liam Somerville’s powerful voice left audiences astonished after any one of his solos as antagonist Gleb. Not only could he convey intense emotions of courage through song, but through frequent and skillful use of voice foley to enhance his character. As the Dowager Empress, Kristina Long maintained a fiery presence as she moved about the stage, leisurely yet deliberately. Long too was expressive–shuttering, crying, and shrilling, during passionate scenes. 


The Citizens of St. Petersburg ensemble brought life to the stage, complimenting the lead actors’ presence with energy. Paxton Lavigne portrayed Vlad Popov with charm and amused the crowd when timely executing his muffled one liners. Countess Lily, played by Aleena Aoun, too charmed the crowd with her dazzling and eccentric performance of Land of Yesterday at the Neva Club. 


Publicity head, Lindsay O’Leary’s Instagram campaign allowed the community to become familiarized with the cast, as their headshots were posted. O’Leary uniquely centered the campaign around tech takeovers which gave potential audience members a behind-the-scenes look at the show; a creative way to attract interest. 


Join Anya on her journey to the past, for a stirring night of glamor where audiences will discover something that their hearts will yearn to remember.