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Photo courtesy Broadway Across Canada

Journey to Calgary: Interview with Kyla Stone, lead for ANASTASIA

By Ramiro Bustamante Torres, January 10 2022—

Broadway Across Canada will be making a return in Alberta come January 2022 with the new musical, Anastasia. The story of the lost Russian princess and her journey to find her memories and family will finally be showcased at the Jubilee Auditorium after it had been cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

The Gauntlet had an interview with Kyla Stone, who will be taking the lead role of Anya in the North American tour. Stone is originally from Orange County, California, where she grew up watching the animated film Anastasia (1997) and had dreamed of taking a spot on the stage. When Stone got the news of her receiving the lead role, she was still playing her most recent role which was Johanna from Sweeney Todd. Stone shared how her dream began.

“I grew up loving musical theatre,” said Stone. “I saw Phantom of the Opera when I was five. And I basically said, ‘Okay, that’s what I want to do — I want to be on stage, I want to do that.’ And then I did my first show when I was in, I think, first grade.”

Stone will also be the first Black actress to take the role of Anya. She is joined by Taya Diggs and Marley Sophia as the Little Anastasias — or Little A’s as the crew refers to them. 

“It’s such a joy and a privilege to share the stage with them,” said Stone. “They have such bright eyes and they look at me with so much hope. And so not only am I setting an example for them, and hopefully opening doors for them, but also opening doors for more young people of colour and people of colour who are in this industry. Hopefully [they] are getting to see that doors are opening for all of us and that we’re all on this journey together.”

There are many favourite songs from the film returning to the musical including “Once Upon a December” and “A Rumor in St. Petersburg” along with new songs composed for the musical like “The Neva Flows” and “My Petersburg.” Stone shared her favourite song to perform.

“My favourite song that I get to sing — it changes every night but I think ‘Journey to the Past’ is always the staple,” she said. “For me, it’s a moment when everything that I get to say as Anya feels like what I get to say as Kyla — just because it is so universal and going on this journey, ironically. And getting to discover more about myself through this character.”

During the interview, Stone had shared some words of wisdom for our student community who have dreams of being part of a production such as this one. 

“I think one of the first things is obviously having that passion and that drive in you. And being so self-assured, is so important in this industry, because there’s a lot of no’s and there’s a lot of rejection. But having your eye on that light at the end of the tunnel and knowing that whatever is meant for you is going to find you. And also just having a group of friends and a support system of people who are in the industry and not in the industry who know you and will ground you but will also know when to push you, I think is one of the most important things to have.”

Stone will be sharing the stage with Sam McLellan as Dmitry and Gerri Weagraff as the Dowager Empress. For those looking to see the performance, Anastasia was scheduled for Jan. 4–9, 2022 at the Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary. Due to new provincial restrictions, the performance has been postponed until further notice. Tickets can be bought online through the Jubilee’s website.

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