Faces of OC: Sareen Tchekmedyian chats about starring in Broadway musical ‘Anastasia’

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Classically trained ballet dancer and Huntington Beach-grown Sareen Tchekmedyian has entered the world of Broadway in the ensemble of the touring production “Anastasia.” The magical musical will make its way to Costa Mesa for a two week-run at Segerstrom Center of the Arts on Nov. 5-17. 

Based on the 1997 film with the same name, “Anastasia” features catchy and memorable dance numbers to the movie’s original score, gorgeous stage settings and costumes, and the gripping story of the Grand Duchess of Russia and her search to find where she belongs. 

Excited to return to her hometown, Sareen chatted with us about her favorite OC stomping grounds and the magic of the classic story told on stage. 

What does it mean to you to be performing in the touring production of “Anastasia”?

I used to do musical theatre as a kid before I went the full ballet route and being part of a show that involves both musical theatre and ballet has been so fulfilling, not to mention a perfect transition into the theatre world. I’ve expanded as an artist and I feel like I’ve rediscovered myself through Anastasia which happens to be a story about self rediscovery too!  

Where did you go to school in OC? 

I went to Pegasus from preschool to 8th grade and Edison High school for a year before switching to online schooling.  

Growing up, what were your favorite Orange County spots? 

One of my childhood favorite things was taking the ferry to Balboa Island for trampoline bungee jumping at Balboa Fun Zone…I wonder if that is still there.  When I wasn’t at Southland Ballet Academy I loved going to the beach in Huntington and then either Ruby’s on the pier or TK Burger on Main Street. And you can’t beat Fashion Island or South Coast Plaza for shopping!  

What challenges have you faced going from professional ballet to musical theater? 

The audition process is so different and while I felt confident in dance calls, I had to fake my confidence in singing by myself—but with time that has improved! All in all the transition has been a joy. The theatre world has been so accepting and supportive in my experience so far and I feel so lucky to be part of such an amazing show straight from the ballet world. 

What elements of “Anastasia” make this production unique in the musical world? 

“Anastasia” is unique because even though it is a fictional princess story, it is based on real historical events and people. Also instead of searching for a prince, Anya is searching for herself within. The effects of our video screens are incredibly realistic and give an awesome edge to the production too.   

What does it mean to you to be performing in your hometown (Segerstrom Center for the Arts)?

It’s totally surreal to be performing at the Segerstrom. I went to almost every touring musical that played there growing up and to now be performing in one is a total full circle dream.  

What part of this production is especially special to you? 

The cast and crew are especially special to me. There is definitely a family vibe in the company and I’ve developed friendships that I know will last forever.  

Why do you feel people should see “Anastasia”? 

People should see Anastasia because they will be thoroughly entertained. You’ll be charmed, touched and tickled, not to mention the music is beautiful and it is very aesthetically pleasing to watch. 

Lila Coogan (Anya) and Jake Levy (Dmitry) in the National Tour of ANASTASIA – Photo courtesy of Davidson & Choy Publicity

‘Anastasia’

Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Segerstrom Hall

600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA

November 5 – 17, 2019

Tuesday – Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday at 1:00 and 6:30 p.m.

More info: scfta.org

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