When it was first announced that Frozen was being adapted into a full-length Broadway musical little girls everywhere started screaming with glee…alright, everyone started screaming with glee. It’s Frozen, how could you not be excited? Well, almost a year later this show started it’s National Broadway Bound Tour here in Denver on August 17. Jeremy, who’s a bigger fan of the movie than I am, purchased tickets and now here is a review.
After seeing the movie countless times, I’ll admit it, I was a little bit skeptical. What if they ruined such an iconic Disney film?! To little girls in this generation, Elsa and Anna are their Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. But after sitting in that theatre and seeing this show come to life, my only big dissapointment is that I would never be able to experience it for the first time again. Not to say the show was absolutely 100% perfect, it did have a couple flaws (which primarily are my opinion, I’m no theatre critic by any means).
The first thing I must say is that the staging of when Elsa and Anna’s parents pass away does not clench your heart nearly as well as they portrayed in the film. I remember the first time I saw Frozen at the movie theatre I got a little teary-eyed when I connected that they had perished. I didn’t get the same pull from this one. Yes, it’s Broadway, they could have very easily had staged a boat in a storm scene (I mean they’ve done it before) but it wouldn’t have been the smartest move to put so much money into a 5-second scene.
I do not know about you but I feel that Hans is one of the best villains ever created by Disney. When it was revealed to me for the first time I was completely dumbfounded. In the film there was not even a hint of villainy in him, that’s why it was so amazing. In the Broadway adaption, it felt as though the character of Hans was acting the whole time, which he technically was, but just not well. You could tell the character was just hiding something, that something was off with this guy. So when the big reveal happened it wasn’t a gasp moment but more of a “yeah I can see him being a double-crosser.” And that could have just been the actors take on the part, and it may have been more realistic to some people, but to me, it fell short.
Okay, no that I got my two big complaints out of the way it’s time to see what did the do right?! And the answer is a lot. Let’s start with that iconic song that everyone is tired of hearing little girls sing to, “Let it Go”. In my opinion, but that the movie versions. It cake at the close of Act 1 and, my gosh, what a way to end the first act! The whole song was fantastic but let’s just focus on one part, you know which part I’m talking about, where Elsa transforms from that lonely, confused and scared girl to the powerful and confident queen as she tosses her crown and magically changes into an ice gown! Right before that big crescendo, you could feel the excitement from the audience and then BANG! She throws her crown sets off a gigantic blast of ice from her hand (bravo to the effects and lighting department on the ice powers by the way) a flash of sparkling light as the whole stage turns into a castle made of ice and then her dress gets torn from her body revealing the beautiful blue gown! And the whole theatre roared! I mean kids, teens adult both young and old just cheered. The song wasn’t even over yet and that section was just so beautifully choreographed and staged that it caused everyone to react with childlike wonderment! I only wish I could see that for the first time again.
As the showed rolled on with so many moments it did eventually come to the end. Now, as Elsa breaks free from her chains and Anna runs out to meet Kristoff to give her true loves kiss we see Hans come toward Elsa with a sword. During which, Anna, being the good sister she is, runs (kinda, she’s almost dead) to save Elsa. She reaches her hand up just as the sword comes down and turns to solid ice. This scene in the production was a small one, but a gorgeous one. As Anna freezes the whole ensemble (dressed in white to crest the affect of a snowstorm) kind start draping themselves over Anna making their way to the Stage Right (the audiences left) and slowly the all start being a transformed to ice as if Anna’s Frozen heart is stretching outward. As the audience you cannot even tell that they were once people, it looks like a glacier of ice up there on stage (another shoutout to that amazing effects and lighting department). It is just amazing how the magic of theatre and can do so much with so little.
I could go on and on about the amazing parts of this show. How the opening to Act 2 there is a song in Oaken’s Sauna where the ensemble is literally singing and dancing with only a handheld branches covering their…areas. Or how Sven is a man basically skating around the stage in the ginormous reindeer costume (and that an understatement of what it is). Or that even though Olaf is a man carting this puppet attached to his feet you feel as though that puppet is alive, walking and talking on its own. The only thing I can say now is to go out and see this show, you won’t regret that you did.