- February 5, 2020
Horizon High School Theatre is hosting the Orange County high school premiere of the musical “Anastasia.”
From Tony winners Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, this show transports its audience 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 con man and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love and family. The show features an award-winning creative team led by theater director Nicholas Wainwright, and a cast of more than 30 students.
“When selecting a full season of shows, it is vital to have a thesis for the year,” Wainwright said. “This year, it was important to me that coming out of the times of the pandemic, we themed our theatrical season around ‘family healing’ as our core. The third family we deal with this year is met with the challenges of loss, violence and grief. They however, never lose hope in reuniting with their home, love, and family.”
Though this is not the first Horizon High School musical produced, it is the first production to introduce a focus on accessibility in OCPS Arts as a whole.
“Since we are always looking to grow, in conversing with our students, I asked how they might improve the arts here in Central Florida,” Wainwright said. “The answer was simple: Accessibility for more guests. Horizon, therefore, in teaming up with organizations like OCA, is presenting the first sensory-friendly performance in OCPS.”
This Friday morning performance is for those who experience sensory stimulation, such as sights, sounds and emotions. Information will be sent prior to the performance in the form of a sensory guide and a social narrative. Some accommodations include lowered sound levels, lower-level lights and a designated quiet zone; and patrons are free to vocalize and leave their seats.
In addition, professional ASL interpreters will be available at the Saturday matinee.
“We want everyone to be able to experience this show the way they need and hope this will encourage others in the area to do the same,” Wainwright said.
“Here at Horizon, we take pride in collaborating with industry professionals working alongside our students. ‘Anastasia’ is a culmination of those efforts. This is also the last big musical our inaugural senior class will be able to participate in, and it will be tremendously difficult to see them go,” he said.
“I hope Horizon Theatre’s class of 2023 understand the impression they’ve left on the program,” Wainwright said. “They are some of the most professional collaborators I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a space with.”