The musical Frozen is the latest transformation, from full-length animated film to becoming a stage musical, released by the Disney factory. Melting hearts and icy dispositions, the movie became a smash introducing the hit anthem song, “Let It Go” to a generation of young girls and boys. Currently playing at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre, the stage musical is better than ever including new songs and a story to inspire younger generations. Frozen, the Musical is entertaining crowds at the Paramount Theatre through March 1, 2020. Get tickets and more info here.
Two young princesses, Elsa and Anna, live with their parents in the kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa has a magical gift that can summon ice, snow and all things related to winter. When the two girls are playing, Anna accidentally gets hit by Elsa’s magic and desperately needs help. Her mother summons “The Hidden Folk” (magical beings that live in the shadows and mist) to help. They revive Anna but issue a warning about Elsa’s magic; if it should get out of control it could be the ruin of Arendelle. The King and Queen decide to give Elsa gloves to restrain her magic and to keep her away for many years until she can control her powers. After an accident, the King and Queen are lost at sea, and Elsa must take her role as Queen of Arendelle. When Coronation Day finally arrives, a grand festival is planned. Anna meets Hans of the Southern Isle, and falls for his charm. They instantly become engaged and seek Elsa’s blessing – as Queen. Elsa is surprised and says “no”. The sisters get into an emotional situation and Elsa’s magic slips out summoning jagged icicles and a winter that engulfs the entire kingdom. The scared people think of Elsa as a monster and the Queen runs away into the snowy mountains to live her life in isolation. Anna sets out to find her sister and correct the situation. With the help of a magical snowman, a “rugged iceman” and his reindeer companion, Anna finds that her sister has blossomed with self-discovery. As the militia approaches to “rescue Anna and arrest the monstrous Elsa”, Elsa must defend herself and her position as ruler. Only through a great “act of love”, can wrong be made right and allow the princesses to survive.
The cast of the show all do excellent jobs whether they are supportive or leading roles. The Ensemble work together well when playing the court of Arendelle, the people of the “Hidden Folk”, or the extensive family of “Oaken”, the owner of the local mercantile and sauna. Austin Colby plays “Hans” (of the Southern Isle) the prince immediately engaged to Anna. Mr. Colby brings charm to this character and we easily see why Anna gets swept away by him. Michael Milkanin plays the beloved character “Olaf”, the Snowman. With the same puppetry skill used on stage by performers in The Lion King, Mr. Milkanin shows his talent bringing the marionette to life. One quickly forgets the person for the performance, and the character of Olaf becomes endearing to us all. Mason Reeves plays “Kristoff”, the ‘rugged iceman’ that assists Anna on her quest. Mr. Reeves brings certain ‘dopiness’; charm and an enjoyable laid back stage presence to his character that the audience embraces.
The unsung breakaway star of this production is easily the reindeer “Sven”. Two people, due to the twisted position and stilts that are necessary for this part, play this life-sized reindeer on stage at alternating performances. Major kudos to Collin Banja and Evan Strand as they should not only be heavily applauded, but highly commended and praised for their work as well. Without saying a spoken word during the show, “Sven” involves himself as part of the storyline. Both performers should be saluted, especially since they must endure the heat and heaviness of such a costume, in constant body-twisting positions, and are the show’s ONLY performers not to have their faces seen at the curtain call. APPLAUSE AND OVATION GO OUT TO BOTH ACTORS!
The leads of the show are, of course, the two princesses of Arendelle – Elsa and Anna. Caroline Bowman (coincidentally married to Austin Colby, also in this production) plays the Snow Queen “Elsa”. Ms. Bowman’s presence is noticeable, if not reserved a little too much. Her voice is strong (especially when delivering the hit number “Let It Go”) and easily reaches the back of the theatre. The joy in her self-discovery seemed more subdued. The character should be perceived to be joyous at this discovery and Ms. Bowman was a tad too reserved for the audience to share in her delight.
Elsa may be the title character, but Anna is the clear star of this production. Caroline Innerbichler plays Anna that is not only delightfully animated and gregarious, but also delivers on the emotional high points of the show. She is on stage (most likely) more than any other single character and never once seems to falter with carrying it. Her personality is not the typical ‘well-behaved’ princess, and is outwardly bubbly with everything she does. Ms. Innerbichler seems to be having a great time on that stage, and it comes through in every action of her character. Her voice is clear, strong and beautifully harmonizes when she sings the comical “What Do You Know About Love” with Kristoff, or the haunting newly added duet (sung with Elsa), “I Can’t Lose You”.
The musical Frozen is a good story for all ages and all genders. It expresses the message of ‘girl power’, showing (in this case) that “true love” doesn’t have to be a romantic one as much as an honest representation of emotion. True to form there is a lot of the Disney magic that completely covers the stage in a beautifully, enchanted frozen tundra. There are a number of welcomed changes made to the original movie, expanding characters and adding to the story without slowing it down. The “Trolls” have been changed to “Hidden Folk” to give them more of a human quality and an easier stage representation. Despite any changes, the stage musical works sending a good message and providing quality entertainment.
Frozen appeared on Broadway on February 22, 2018 and is still playing on the Great White Way. It was originally nominated for three Tony Awards (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Score Written for the Theatre). The stage production is based on the 2013 full-length animated feature that utilized the voices of Kristen Bell (Anna), Idina Menzel (Eva), Jonathan Groff (Kristoff), and Josh Gad (Olaf) among other notable names. Frozen is adapted from the original fairy tale story, The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson.