Here’s why you won’t find Rasputin in the new “Anastasia” musical
If you’re still having lingering nightmares from 1997, get ready to start sleeping like a baby at night. The animated classic Anastasia featured the VERY FRIGHTENING (or, at least frightening to a 7-year-old) villain by the name of Rasputin, and his minion, the bat Bartok. While this Russian sorcerer has been haunting us for the last 20 years, you won’t find him in the new Anastasia musical — and TBH, that’s a good thing.
The musical Anastasia (which premieres on Broadway later this month, with an opening slated for end of April) closely follows the story of the Fox animated movie…except when it comes to the bad guy. For the musical, Rasputin and Bartok have been completely removed from the plot, instead replaced with a Bolshevik general (and no spoilers here — go see the musical to find out just how he tries to stop Anya on her journey.)
It’s certainly a shame to see Rasputin go, even though he is TERRIFYING. Also, now this means no one’s going to sing “In the Dark of the Night,” and that’s kind of a bummer. So, just why did he have to go?
HelloGiggles recently caught up with Lynn Ahrens, the lyricist for Anastasia, who did both the OG movie and the new musical. It’s safe to say she knows the ins and outs of Anya — and can also shed some light onto MIA Rasputin.
"Well, Rasputin is not in our version, nor is Bartok (and everyone loves him, including me.)," Lynn writes over email. "But we really didn’t want to repeat the animated movie onstage — and those two 'cartoon' characters simply didn’t fit this version."
As for this new character, Lynn reassures us that we’ll like him…er, we won’t like him because, you know, he’s trying to stop Anya on her quest to find her old life.
"You’ll be happy to know that we’ve replaced Rasputin with a much more complicated and charismatic antagonist, a Russian officer played by Broadway’s sensational Ramin Karimloo. (Tony nominee for Les Miz.) He brings something both menacing and sympathetic to the role."
TBH, we are completely fine with this new bad guy, thanks for asking. He’s a LOT easier on the eyes than Rasputin, just sayin’.
Anastasia begins previews on March 23rd, with an opening set for April 24th. See you — BUT NOT RASPUTIN — there.