Baltimore audiences will journey to the past this month as Anastasia waltzes into the Hippodrome Theatre. Running through Sunday, December 9th, Anastasia transports audiences from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman named Anya 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. Baltimore OUTloud recently chatted with actor Stephen Brower who plays Dmitry in the performance.
“In short,” Brower began. “Anastasia is an epic journey that’s full of romance, danger and beautiful costumes. It’s a beautiful story to watch unfold with projection, set designs, costumes and an amazing score. It’s a perfect date night, as well as a perfect family night. Anastasia is a journey that everyone can relate to.”
Brower, a Tulsa, Oklahoma-native, started performing in community theater when he was 8 years old. “It was a way for me to get out of the house. I performed through middle school and started taking things more seriously. So, I went to summer camps and had audition coaches. Tulsa doesn’t have a great theater scene but, like my character Dmitry who dreams big, I found a coach and was able to go to Texas State University. They have a fantastic new program for musical theater, and it really helped me to find myself as an artist. I graduated and then moved to New York City, and the rest is history.”
The character that Brower plays in the production, Dmitri, is very complex. “Dmitry is a con man and is in some ways an orphan. He’s a self-made man who raised himself on the streets of Saint Petersburg. He’s opportunistic and wants out of Russia during this political time. He finds in this girl Anya an opportunity to trick her into thinking she could be this princess. They then set off for Paris to see if they can pull off this con.”
Brower added, “I think I relate to his ambition and his sense of being a dreamer. He doesn’t let anyone get in the way of his dreams or what he hopes to accomplish. He thinks very big and I can relate to that. He’s energetic and funny in a quirky kind-of-way. I don’t know if I can say that totally about myself, but it’s definitely something I want to explore.”
When asked about why the tale of the Romanov Dynasty has endured for so many years, Brower explained, “Historically, the Russian revolution happened because the people were upset with the government. They were upset with the Imperialist way of life. The people then took that away and replaced it with something the people weren’t happy with. So, there then was this rumor that the Princess Anastasia could be alive, and it was a symbol of hope that the people of Russia could return to this nobility and grace. They had a lot of problems in Russia at this time, and this was something everyone could hope and strive for. It mirrors, to a degree, American politics. In a way, we have taken down the nobility and grace of our presidency, and people are starting to realize that maybe that wasn’t a great idea. People are now beginning to realize that maybe there is something to be said about having something to strive and hope for that is greater than ourselves.”
- Since 2011, arts writer Frankie Kujawa has covered a wide scope of entertainment stories and celebrity interviews. From the late Carrie Fisher and LGBTQ icon George Takei to comedians Lily Tomlin and Kathy Griffin to performer Idina Menzel, Kujawa’s candid interview ability brings readers past the byline and into the heart of the story. His unbiased previews of Baltimore-Washington’s theatre scene have allowed readers an inside glimpse of today’s most popular local and national performances. A Baltimore-native, Kujawa is proud to call Charm City his home.