‘Anastasia’ comes to DPAC

By Hollyann Gardner
Times-News correspondent

   DURHAM — The beloved musical “Anastasia” is coming to Durham Performing Arts Center next week. The story is based on the 1997 animated film of the same name.
Lila Coogan plays determined leading lady, Anya.
“I have always loved the movie,” Coogan said in a recent phone interview. “It was kind of just always on my radar, and I always knew if I had the opportunity to go into the part, I would take it with no hesitation.”
   Like many professional actors, she started out in community theater.
“I went to a youth theater audition with a friend, and the woman organizing the youth theater was like, ‘Wow, you’re good. You should come back for the next show.’ And the rest is history,” Coogan said.
Although Coogan is a fan of the original film, she embraces Anya as her own.
“I really focused on the text that was given to us, and I really tried to make the character my own by not watching the movie, and really just looking at the text for all my answers to my questions,” Coogan said.
The Anya of the stage musical does have her differences from movie Anya.
“I think this Anya is a little bit more broken than the Anya in the movie,” Coogan said. “I think because it’s not like a fantasy world that we live in, this character is a little bit more grounded in reality; and because of that, she’s dealing with a little bit more serious, adult-like problems.”
In addition to Coogan’s Anya, actors Stephen Brower and Edward Staudenmayer play characters Dmitry and Vlad, respectively.
“I love working with my two leading men,” she said. “They make the journey all the more fun to play with.”
“People should come see ‘Anastasia’ because it’s a really heartfelt story about a girl trying to find where she belongs in the world and not letting people tell her no or letting obstacles stop her from getting what she needs,” Coogan added.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. April 16-18; 8 p.m. April 19; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 20; and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. April 21 at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), 123 Vivian St., Durham. Tickets vary in price and can be purchased at www.dpacnc.com/.

Hollyann Gardner is a high school junior at Alamance Community College and a Teens & 20s writer.

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