Patti Murin (Anna) and John Riddle as Hans in Frozen. Photo by Deen van Meer
BY CLAUDIA CARBONE
If audience reactions are any gauge of a play’s success, Frozen will be a smash hit.
The audience on Sept. 14 at the Buell Theater cheered and clapped enthusiastically during and after the two-and-a-half-hour performance, and everyone left with a smile.
That’s exactly what Disney’s creative team wants to see as it develops and experiments with its adaptation of the 2013 movie, the all-time biggest animated box-office hit. They chose Denver to launch the test run of the musical through Oct. 1 before it debuts on Broadway in February of next year.
But this was no dress rehearsal. The show has evolved into a slick, perfectly executed, beautifully staged, technically brilliant Broadway-worthy production. What’s more, it’s not a carbon copy of the film. It has more music, more dancing and deeper character and plot development than the film, making it a story for all ages that’s perfectly suited for the stage. Disney nails it.
Like other recent animated Disney films (Moana, Pocahontas, Little Mermaid), Frozen features strong female characters that don’t need a handsome prince to save them. This story is about Elsa, a princess cursed with the magical powers of manipulating ice and snow, and her high-spirited sister Anna, who is totally devoted to Elsa.
When Elsa accidentally engulfs her kingdom in perpetual winter, she runs away to live solo in an ice palace (“conceal, don’t feel”). Brave Anna sets out on a journey with mountain man Kristoff and his reindeer Sven to find her and save the realm. Along the way they meet an adorable snowman, Olaf, and other characters—good and evil—and Anna learns how to really love.
“Love is putting other’s needs before yours,” Kristoff says.
They are reunited with Elsa, only to have her strike her sister with a nearly fatal ice blow to the heart that can only be healed with an act of true love. You might be surprised.
“This is a female take on sacrifice and loyalty,” co-producer Anne Quart said.
Caissie Levy is Grace Kelly-esque as Elsa, and she really lets go with her rendition of the Oscar-winning hit song “Let It Go,” which every American girl knows by heart.
Patti Murin is endearing as Anna, especially in the duet “Love is an Open Door” with Hans (the token handsome prince) played by John Riddle. Jelani Alladin’s Kristoff is a strong, down-to-earth mountaineer shadowed by reindeer Sven, admirably played by Andrew Pirozzi.
Greg Hildreth is the puppeteer behind an adorable Olaf, who shines in his “In Summer” routine.
Frozen features music and lyrics by the creators of the film score, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and book by Jennifer Lee, the film’s writer and co-director. The director is Michael Grandage, choreographer is Rob Ashford.
Tickets at denvercenter.org or 303-893-4100.
2017 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |