Disney delivers a classic with impressive staging.
The Frozen musical began previews when I visited New York City. It was elected (1 in favor, 1 abstention) that I should see the Broadway creation drawn from this modern film classic.
The show began eagerly, with costumed characters taking their positions … in the seats! Scores of children came dressed as Anna, Elsa, and Olaf. Staff passed out booster cushions. “Abracadabra.” There was magic in the air from the outset.
Act 1: The cast had their roles honed.
Act 2: Some roughness showed the necessity of previews.
Anna 1, Anna 2: The younger sister to Elsa was cute and likable as early scenes captured the tykes playing in the castle. After a few numbers, they emerged in their teens with Anna (Patti Murin) splendid in song and dance.
Young Elsa was very polished. Teen Elsa (Caissie Levy) bided her time during scenes where other characters made their debut. To end Act I she “Let It Go” with a performance that gave me chills. I had not studied her impressive Broadway credits that include Fantine (Les Mis) and Elphaba (Wicked) so I became wide-eyed and mesmerized like many around me … just “a bit” older than they.
I anticipated other roles, such as puppeteering life into Olaf the snowman and Sven the reindeer, cleverly accomplished in two different but equally effective ways. In the latter I detected skills passed from the incredible staging of “War Horse.”
We wandered off-story at the outset of the second act, but the ensemble delivered a clever and entertaining sideshow. Elsa’s lovely dresses changed magically but then there was a slip. The chills she delivered with her voice will be felt in her feet if they don’t work out the wardrobe error that had her barefoot for a scene. Oops!
Portraying the ice in this story exceeded my tepid expectations, which was silly of me because creative capabilities are a Disney hallmark. Trickery with lighting delivered the first icy elements. That was good; it was just the beginning. Soon ice popped up dramatically from the stage, then it fell as snow, then wrapped ’round the front of the stage was a glacier of ice. It satisfied me, and I know the children loved it when plastic snow drifted softly onto the audience during the curtain call.
See Frozen the musical with an open mind and warm heart for those around you.
Viewed February 25, 2018, St. James Theatre, NY, NY.
The cast, then a few outtakes.
Upon arrival, my seat neighbor engaged in a deep discussion about basketball back to the 1950s. As the curtain rose he looked around and solemnly said, “I didn’t know this was a children’s show.”
-His seat was empty after intermission.
Act 1: The Frozen cast had their roles “down cold.”
To those who say modern theatrics are over the top, I blog to differ.
-“O’ laf” all you want,
-What “Els-a”re you expecting from Disney?
I gave puppets Olaf and Sven two “thumbs up.”
Kristoff needs more time in the role to earn “thumbs up.”
-His rival? Hans: Down.
Only Spelling Bee-ers could be expected to nail “scepter.”
-But the adorable five-year-old seated in front of me raised her own wand toward look-a-like Elsa on stage and I was smitten.
My favorite part of the movie Frozen was how it mesmerized my niece and nephew.
-Hey kids, “Sven” you’re smiling, the whole world smiles.
A local PD “wanted” into the Frozen act during a January cold spell in North Carolina. Clever!