Two-time Tony-winner Judy Kaye will be joining the cast of the Broadway musical Anastasia. Kaye will assume the role of Dowager Empress, succeeding Mary Beth Peil who originated the role and for which she was nominated for a 2017 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Kaye will join the production on September 28, 2018, with Piel parting the production on September 23.
Judy Kaye has won two Tony Awards, both for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Her first was in 1988 for originating the role of Carlotta in the original Broadway company of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. Her second Tony was secured in 2012 for playing Duchess Estonia Dulworth in the Gershwin brothers compilation Nice Work If You Can Get It. Known for playing larger-than-life, big-voiced characters, Kaye has also appeared on Broadway in many roles. Among them were Emma Goldman in Ragtime, Florence Foster Jenkins in Souvenir (Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Play), Rosie in Mamma Mia! (Tony nomination), and she replaced Madeline Kahn early in the run of On the Twentieth Century, assuming the role of Lily Garland.
When Judy Kaye enters the Broadway production of Anastasia, she will be joining a cast that includes Christy Altomare, Zach Adkins, John Bolton, Vicki Lewis, and Max von Essen rounding out the lead roles. The ensemble includes includes Alex Aquilino, Lauren Blackman, Kathryn Boswell, Maria Briggs, Kyle Brown, Justin Scott Brown, Kristen Smith Davis, Colby Dezelick, Janet Dickinson, Wes Hart, Anika Lore Hatch, Ken Krugman, Dustin Layton, Brian Munn, Kenneth Michael Murray, Delilah Rose Pellow, James A. Pierce III, Molly Rushing, Tally Sessions, Jennifer Smith, Lyrica Woodruff, and Kelli Youngman.
Anastasia currently plays at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre where it opened on April 24, 2017. It features a book by Terrence McNally (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Ragtime) and a score by Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music), the duo who have given theatre audiences music for such Broadway shows as Once on This Island, Ragtime, and Seussical. The production is directed by Darko Tresnjak and choreography by Peggy Hickey.
“Anastasia transports us from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing conman and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love, and family.”
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.