“Fear will be our enemy
And death its consequence”
That’s what they once said to me
And it’s starting to make sense
All this pain, all this fear began because of me
Is the thing they see, the thing I have to be?” ~ Monster
Movies Turned Into Musicals
This is the year for hotly anticipated Broadway shows, from Harry Potter (August, people, August!) to Mean Girls (in due time) to Frozen, movies with cult followings are having their hey day on the Great White Way.
As a lover of Broadway and a fan of film, I am ecstatic to see the worlds collide, coming alive on stage. I fangirled quite hard, with no shame, when I heard that Frozen was coming to Broadway and I could not wait to see such a magical production.
It has become tradition to see a Broadway show around my sister’s birthday, and the irony was not lost on me that I was going to see a musical about sisters. I had prepared myself for the tears that were probably going to (and did) come, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the show. If anything it made it much more relatable.
If you have been living under a rock (or maybe Antarctica?) Frozen is a 2013 Disney movie based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale, “The Snow Queen.” In this retelling, their are two sisters who are torn apart by a secret. Unlike many Disney movies, this isn’t so much about romantic love, as it is about the love of two sisters, something I connect with.
This Broadway production is essentially the same as the movie, with a few added numbers like Caissie Levy’s empowering, but chill inducing, “Monster,” and a funny -albite not entirely appropriate for children – number, “Hygge.”
In fact, this show has many innuendoes that adults will appreciate, making it a show geared more for adults, then children, despite its Disney backing.
The set and Costumes
Broadway shows by themselves are incredible, but teamed with Disney, it seems everything is bigger. Perhaps it is because of a bigger budget; the sets are much more elaborate, the musical numbers bigger, and the special effects more impressive.
In animated movies, the sky is the limit with creativity, where as in life action film, their is human limitations, especially in theatre. Yet, the production team flawlessly created the magic of the story, even bringing to life the iconic number “Let It Go” seamlessly, turning the stage into a Frozen tundra, and in my opinion out doing the movie.
Another huge feat, was not just bringing alive Elsa’s iconic blue dress, which was stunning in its beauty, but the undertaking of actually creating Sven and Olaf. Taking notes from the most iconic Disney Broadway show, The Lion King, they engineered life sized puppets, acted by Greg Hildreth (Olaf) and Andrew Pirozzi. (Sven)
In fact without even saying a single word, (unless a snort counts) Sven stole the show. He was captivating as he clumsily moved across the stage, expressing himself with life-like facial expressions, which included gracefully blinking his doe-eyes. You forgot that he was in fact a puppet and not a real reindeer.
The casting director chose the perfect actors to bring these characters not just to the stage, but really showcase their personalities. Patti Murin plays Anna’s bubbly, yet ditzy personality to a tee. Running around the stage with her head in the clouds, gullibly thinking she is love with John Riddle’s positively diabolical depiction of Hans, who brought a more likable quality then his film counter-part. Jelani Alladin’s Kristoff had more depth, creating a humorous yet knowledgable character that made you want to see more stage time.
Yet it was Caissie Levy’s Elsa who stole the show, despite having less stage time then Anna. She gives Idina Menzel a run for her money with her emotional rendition of “Let It Go,” and her powerful voice sent chills down my spine when she sang, “Monster.” Levy gives Elsa a complexity, that is due the character, and with it, an empowerment, that sends the message women can be fierce and powerful.
Go. See. It.
I admit to loving the film, but the Broadway show out does the film in spades, creating nuances that were missing in the movie, and adding more humor. I laughed, cried, and I felt what the characters were feeling. Which is why I love live theatre. It not only brings the emotion, but actually makes you feel it. That is the power of Broadway.
A surprise at the end of the show, was when it rained “snow.” White confetti rained down, creating a magical moment in true Disney form. And for just a moment, I to was swept away to Arendelle.
Have you seen a Disney Produced Broadway Show? What Show do you want to see?