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An Animated Life

Fairfield’s real life Anastasia



If you’ve ever seen the 20th Century Fox movie Anastasia you’ll instantly recognize the female protagonist with fiery red hair. Anastasia is the beautiful, clever, and adventurous girl fictionalized in this 1918 love story about the daughter of the last Russian Czar. But did you know that Fairfield has its own Anastasia? Anna Pelletier, a longtime resident, was the original human live action model for the animated Anastasia character.

So how do you audition for such a role, not to mention how does a film studio turn a human into a cartoon character? For starters, the opportunity to try out for Anastasia didn’t just fall into Pelletier’s lap; she will tell you that luck had very little to do with it. In fact, similar to her animated character it took a lot of perseverance and faith. There were years leading up to that moment which involved musical roles at dinner theaters, dancing and acting at a 50’s-themed diner, and local radio broadcasting.

She even posed as a video game character and worked as a police dispatcher. Living in Phoenix at the time, Pelletier would grab any job she could to support herself while she pursued her passion. “There were times when I slept in my truck and washed up in McDonald’s. It didn’t matter because I knew I had to support myself while I was out there promoting myself.”

Pelletier’s break came after she saw an ad in a local paper announcing that 20th Century Fox would be holding auditions for a feature animated film. Determined to get an audition, she slipped her resume and headshot under the studio doors and sent multiple resumes.

“I even tried having a large pizza delivered that included my headshot on the inside top of the box. And I’d drawn arrows pointing to my face that said ‘Look at me—I want an audition!’ ” Sadly, nothing worked, until Pelletier signed a new agent who ultimately landed her a spot in the audition room.

At 29, Pelletier was the oldest person to audition for the role, and as she waited for her turn in a room filled with countless teenage girls, she began to lose hope. But her animated gestures, combined with her big green eyes and expressive features, won her a call back. Pelletier was then asked to read the movie lines that Meg Ryan, the voice of Anastasia, had already recorded. Those lines had to be in sync with how Ryan had articulated them—not an easy task. 

One week later she was offered the role of Live Action Model for Anastasia. And one month after that the studio got to work positioning Pelletier in different poses, then freezing the filmed scenes so that they could meticulously draw a cartoon of her form, her face, and her movements.

Now, with the opening of the Broadway remake of Anastasia—on the twentieth anniversary of the movie debut—it’s easy for Pelletier to reminisce about the fun of making the film. If you ask her about the whole experience she’ll tell you it was a crazy, wild ride, one that she treasured. But after a few years and some side roles in films such as Night Rider and Bounty Hunter, she felt that her Hollywood life had run its course.

Her next adventure was with her new husband, Eric. They moved put down roots in the Stratfield area of town, where she started teaching at Unquowa School. Pelletier has since become a National Safety Training Manager at Liberty Construction Services where some of those past stunts as Anastasia​ may be paying off. 

There are some parallels to Pelletier’s life and that of Anastasia, besides the ironic similarity of their names. In 2010 the Pelletier home went up in smoke as an electrical fire raged through the house, and, tragically, trapping their beloved dogs inside.

Crushed and broken, they returned to Arizona to stay with family as they grieved and planned how to recover both emotionally and financially from the incident. But determination to rebuild their lives finally panned out and in 2011 they moved back to the town they loved. With a newly renovated home and  two new Airedale Terriers, Phoenix and Blaze, the Pelletiers started over.

Happily ever afters aren’t just for animated movie characters. 


POWERFUL VOICES There’s a new platform for artistic expression in town—Unquowa Repertory, the brainchild of Kirby and Beverly Ward, and Christine Brown. Javier Colon, winner of NBC’s first season of “The Voice” will be starring in Unquowa Rep’s Big River in Concert, its first production is June 15-17. unquowarep.org

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May 2017

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2009 Summer Street
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Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Linda Christensen
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Cost: Free

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11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
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Clay Art Center is pleased to present REVISIT: The Boneyard   Featuring works by 40 internationally acclaimed ceramic artists who have taught workshops at Clay Art Center over the...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
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Sponsor: Clay Art Center
Telephone: 914-937-2047
Contact Name: Nancy Yates
Website »

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Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce Matters at Hand, a mixed-media exhibition of works by Sarah Amos, Pegan Brooke, Beth Dary, Jessica Drenk, Valeria Nascimento and Cheryl Ann...

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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Cost: 0

Where:
Clay Art Center
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720 Pequot Avenue
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Sponsor: Pequot Library
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View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Linda Christensen
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
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Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

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1 Museum Drive
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
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More information

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Cost: $7 adult, $6 student, member and under 5 free. Free to all on Tuesdays

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203 869 0376
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource
2009 Summer Street
Stamford, CT  06905
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Linda Christensen
Website »

More information

Art that represents music, tones paired with visions of grandeur, will be on exhibit at the Maritime Garage Gallery this spring. The exhibit, entitled “Chromatic,” features art that...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

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Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Canvas and Cast: Highlights from the Bruce Museum’s Art Collection February 11 – June 11, 2017 On February 11, 2017, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, opens its newest...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 student, member and under 5 free. Free to all on Tuesdays

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203 869 0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce Matters at Hand, a mixed-media exhibition of works by Sarah Amos, Pegan Brooke, Beth Dary, Jessica Drenk, Valeria Nascimento and Cheryl Ann...

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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
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Cost: FREE

Where:
SilverSource
2009 Summer Street
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View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Linda Christensen
Website »

More information

Art that represents music, tones paired with visions of grandeur, will be on exhibit at the Maritime Garage Gallery this spring. The exhibit, entitled “Chromatic,” features art that...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
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1 Museum Drive
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

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Cost: $7 adult, $6 student, member and under 5 free. Free to all on Tuesdays

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203 869 0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce Matters at Hand, a mixed-media exhibition of works by Sarah Amos, Pegan Brooke, Beth Dary, Jessica Drenk, Valeria Nascimento and Cheryl Ann...

Cost: Free

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Art that represents music, tones paired with visions of grandeur, will be on exhibit at the Maritime Garage Gallery this spring. The exhibit, entitled “Chromatic,” features art that...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

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Cost: $7 adult, $6 student, member and under 5 free. Free to all on Tuesdays

Where:
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1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203 869 0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce Matters at Hand, a mixed-media exhibition of works by Sarah Amos, Pegan Brooke, Beth Dary, Jessica Drenk, Valeria Nascimento and Cheryl Ann...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
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View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

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Cost: $15-20

Where:
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Performing Arts Center Of Connecticut
18 Lindeman Dr
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Sponsor: The Vagabond Theatre Company of Greater Bridgeport
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Contact Name: John R Smith Jnr
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Cost: Free

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Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave
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New Canaan , CT  06840
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
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Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext. 15
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Canvas and Cast: Highlights from the Bruce Museum’s Art Collection February 11 – June 11, 2017 On February 11, 2017, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, opens its newest...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 student, member and under 5 free. Free to all on Tuesdays

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203 869 0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce Matters at Hand, a mixed-media exhibition of works by Sarah Amos, Pegan Brooke, Beth Dary, Jessica Drenk, Valeria Nascimento and Cheryl Ann...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Fridays/Saturdays: May 26 & 27 and June 2 & 3 2017 @ 8 pm ​Sundays: May 28 and June 4 @ 5 pm DOG SEES GOD: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead is Bert V Royal's unauthorized...

Cost: $15-20

Where:
The Warehouse Blackbox Theatre
Performing Arts Center Of Connecticut
18 Lindeman Dr
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View map »


Sponsor: The Vagabond Theatre Company of Greater Bridgeport
Telephone: 203-520-8332
Contact Name: John R Smith Jnr
Website »

More information

Show More...
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