Theatre department presents “Anastasia”

April 11, 2024

By Sydni Whitfield, Staff Writer

 Many kids may not have grown up watching famous musicals. The beloved 1997 animated film “Anastasia,” however, was most likely played in all childhood homes. “Ouachita’s theater department chose ‘Anastasia’ because so many of our students hold this story near and dear to their hearts,” John Forkner, the director of “Anastasia” said. “‘Anastasia’ recently concluded its run on Broadway, followed by a national tour. OBU is proud to be one of the first theaters in the area to stage a production of this new musical.” 

The musical is based on the true story of the lost Russian princess, Anastasia Romanov. The story centers around Anya, a young woman with no memories of her past and who appears a lot like the lost princess. The role of Anya is played by theater student Anslee Clay. The story begins in 1927, set around the Bolshevik Revolution, which has resulted in the execution of the royal tsar and his family. It is believed by many, however, that one of the tsar’s daughters, Anastasia, may have survived. She travels from Russia to Paris, hoping to find the one person who can tell her who she really is. She is followed by a Soviet officer, Gleb, played by Eli Butler, whose goal is to make sure the Romanov family line ends. 

“‘Anastasia’ is a story of rebirth, which makes it a perfect show for this time of year when we remember Christ’s death and resurrection,” Forkner said. 

This classic show is one students, faculty and staff, family and friends and residents of Arkadelphia will not want to miss. “Anastasia” tells the story of normal people searching for a place where they are seen and loved.  

“One of the great desires of the human heart is to be known by others,” Forkner explained. “The characters in ‘Anastasia’ are all haunted by ghosts of the past, and it is through the unlikely yet loving community that forms during their search for closure that they are able to lay ghosts to rest and move on, healed and whole, into the future.” 

“Anastasia” will be on the stage April 18-21. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and on April 21, it will start at 2:30 p.m. in the Jones Performing Arts Center. Tickets will cost $12 and can be purchased at Students can use their student ID to receive one free ticket. Faculty and staff who use their Ouachita ID will receive two tickets at a discounted rate of $10. For more information, contact the box office at (870) 245-5555 or email Nic Hazlett at

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