Huntsville native turned Broadway star returns home for ‘Anastasia’

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (TENNESSEE VALLEY LIVING) - Tickets are selling fast for “Anastasia,” the Broadway musical coming to Huntsville this weekend.

While the show is loved by many, so is the male lead, Huntsville native Willem Butler.

Butler grew up in Rocket City and got the acting bug at a young age. He was often seen in shows with Fantasy Playhouse and his school, the Academy for Academics and Arts. He moved on to Grissom High School where he graduated with several shows under his belt.

With acting, singing and dancing on his resume, he took his talents to Elon University which is widely known for its impressive Performing Arts program.

Butler graduated from Elon in 2022 which means it was only a few months before he landed the role of Dmitry in “Anastasia.”

The actor said he spent the summer auditioning for many different shows, but “Anastasia” was the one to give him his big break.

The story follows Anya, a young woman who grew up an orphan, as she discovers the meaning of home, love and family. Inspired by the movie with the same name, “Anastasia” is set in the 1920s and takes the audience from the Russian Empire to the dreamy city of Paris.

The show includes plenty of ballads, beautiful dance numbers and amazing costumes fit for a dazzling performance.

While he’ll probably stay busy getting ready for his five different shows, Butler said if he can eat anything during his weekend back in Huntsville, he’s choosing Little Rosie’s Taqueria — spoken like a true Huntsvillian.

You can see “Anastasia” when it takes the stage at the Von Braun Center November 11 - 13.

For more information and tickets, visit

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Anna Mahan

Anna Mahan

Anna Mahan joined the WAFF 48 News team in August of 2020.