Moviegoers fell in love with 1997 animated film Anastasia, thanks to the voice stylings of Meg Ryan (as Anastasia herself), the musical score, the dramatization of the story of the long-lost daughter of the Russian czar, and the stage set. So it should be no surprise that the recent debut of Anastasia on Broadway has been nothing short of an instantaneous hit. It closed out the 2016-2017 season with more than $1 million in sales.
The stage adaptation of Anastasia has certainly grown up from the children’s movie in terms of plot, character, and production caliber, but no other element of the show retains the magic you remember from the movie theater than the costumes. They’ve been called “quite simply the best period costumes on Broadway” by the Daily Beast. It’s all thanks to the vision of Tony-nominated costume designer Linda Cho.
Cho has a glowing resume of costume accomplishments. She’s won the Antoinette Perry Best Costume Design of a Musical for A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder, the TDF/Irene Sharaff Young Master Award, the Henry Hewes Design Award, and the Ruth Morley Design Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women. This year she’s been nominated for a Tony Award for her work on Anastasia, for which she created 125 different costumes.
In the show, Anastasia’s garb transforms from bohemian to glowing princess on the ballroom floor, all while keeping her signature spunk and adding some serious sparkle. She speaks her mind more than the typical princess in distress, and her costumes highlight that range. Cho told Playbill recently that the creative challenge of designing for Anastasia was to balance the period of the early 20th century with a look that a modern audience could fall in love with. “Even with period pieces, you have to make sure that you’re telling a story,” she said.
So what does an award-winning costumer wear to the Broadway’s biggest night? Only Cho knows: She designed her own gown for the event. Drawing on old school Hollywood glamour in the style of Charles James, Cho took control of her look from start to finish. The final product is sure to be a showstopper — see how Cho got her inspiration for the Tony Awards for her own princess moment.