Lisa Condit, director of marketing and pr for The Hanover Theatre, spoke with Seth Wenig, producer for Broadway’s Anastasia, which we recently announced will join our 2020-2021 Broadway Series. Read on for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview below. Then tune in to WCRN 830AM Fridays at 9 AM and Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews.
Lisa: We are lucky enough to be able to have a conversation with Seth Wenig, the producer of Anastasia, who’s actually one of the most important people, and his company is one of the most important companies, for The Hanover Theatre, because he’s with NETworks Presentations, and that is a full production company. Their mission is to bring the Broadway experience to stages everywhere. I think that it’s an interesting perspective for people to hear from that side of the industry.
Seth: Thank you for having me. The Hanover Theatre is a beautiful theatre. I’ve been there many times and have always enjoyed coming to town to see our shows there.
Lisa: We could talk about so many of our favorites. Les Miserables, Fiddler on the Roof… you’ve got The Band’s Visit, which is coming this season, as well. The list goes on and on.
Seth: We bring Broadway tours everywhere, from big cities to large cities, so we can play everywhere we can possible play.
Lisa: We’re all in a pretty similar boat right now where we’re working from our home offices. We’re keeping an eye on what’s happening in New York. What are you seeing? What do you think about 2021?
Seth: Everybody has sort of acquiesced to the idea that 2021 is when we’ll be able to gather again for live events, especially for theatre. None of us knew in March that this was going to last a long time. We quickly realized that this is going to be a problem for us, and we’re all trying to keep the fires burning in hopes that we can come back strong. I think we all came to the realization it’s not really going to be possible to get into the theatre and be surrounded by rules we can’t comply with, like social distancing… actors while on stage singing can’t wear masks. We’re all also, at the same time, being conscious about what the new safety protocols might look like for a new traveling company coming into a town like Worcester and being able to still deliver a top-quality production. At the moment, everybody’s looking toward 2021 as the ideal time to get the shows back on. We’re rolling with the punches.
Lisa: What are the plans for Anastasia?
Seth: It’s one of those perfect kind of musicals. First of all, it’s got a woman heroine, which is rare. She becomes a strong force and overcomes adversity. Through the course of the musical, she’s pretending to be princess Anastasia, who she actually turns out to be. She goes through lots of hardships and what some might call a romance, and, at the end of the show, she becomes just a regular person. It’s a wonderful musical with a wonderful score.
About a month ago, I got the whole team together, and I said, “Look, we’re all sitting in our houses. Let’s start working on the next iteration of Anastasia.” I had the entire team on the Zoom. Everybody was excited to be talking about work. We’re all dreaming once again of doing what we do. There are some challenges because we’re rolling down the show to be a little smaller than it was, because I have to go to smaller spaces throughout the country, and because of the way all of the tours have fallen apart have rearranged themselves. Everybody’s on board. We’ve got a great creative vision. We just started submitting some new scenic designs. We’re doing some virtual auditions right now to see what’s out there and possible. Everything is moving very slowly. We’re standing on the cliff ready to jump.
It’s not just my shows. Everybody’s preparing. One of the original producers said to me that luck was opportunity meeting preparedness. That’s what we’ve been charged with doing.