Plus The Magic welcomes guest writer Amy Swiss, along with contributer Zoe Swiss, with a review of FROZEN, The Broadway Musical. They recently had the opportunity to see the show during its preview run, and they're sharing a review with us. (This post contains spoilers for the production, so consider yourself warned...)
Seeing a Broadway show is always an EVENT.
Even for someone raised in the New York City area, heading into the theater district for dinner and a show carries a special allure- a certain sense of excitement and glamour that is unmatched. The lights, the glitz, the historic theaters and world-class performances - what could possibly be better?
A flourish of Disney magic, perhaps?
FROZEN, The Broadway Musical is an unforgettable experience. Exuberant, beautiful, transporting, and yes, magical.
Your evening begins in the historic and elegant St. James Theater, complete with crystal chandeliers, red velvet seats and gilded walls.
Arriving to your seats, you find the stage before you beautifully wrapped in a carved wood border imported straight from Arendelle. As the curtains open, you are instantly transported into this faraway land and into the childhood of our two favorite sisters. The mini actresses who greet you set the first mood of the show: young Anna exudes excitement, energy, and fun, while Elsa is more reserved, wanting to follow the rules. The girls’ portrayal of sisterly love and childhood innocence is profound and deeply impressive for such young talents.
The unfolding storyline will not be a surprise to most audience members- and yet, there are countless new elements in this live production that will simply captivate. Stunning set pieces, original songs, and entirely new scenes have been created for a seemingly all-new experience. It goes without saying that the vocals and acting are top-notch, and the show is at times funny, touching, and exciting. The breathtaking visual effects - Disney’s forte- take the show to the next level.
As the story begins, the stage transforms from one scene to the next into the many rooms and courtyards of Arendelle Castle, with all its soaring windows, grand arches, and great halls. The stage seems to stretch endlessly high to accommodate the huge rooms and windows, and the stone walls magically expand, contract and glide across the stage to reconfigure the rooms. The action moves seamlessly from the girls bedroom to the glowing, candlelit ballroom, and then onto one of my favorite backdrops: the moonlit castle garden, filled with lush purple flowers growing in vines along the towering castle arches, as Anna and Hans fall in love.
As Elsa’s magic develops over the timeline of the story, so too do the dramatic and beautiful visual effects that both capture her magic and transform the stage from the warm and cozy castle into the frozen world that Arendelle becomes. Lighting is used in unique and spectacular ways to represent the icy flourishes of magical cold that Elsa sends flying across the land. The fierce, windy ice bridge stretched across the stage was truly a work of art- I didn’t want that scene to end.
|photo via frozenthemusical.com
Elsa is of course at her magical best in her Ice Palace, both while she is creating it and when she is defending herself against her foes. These effects are stunning. One of the most unique visual effects of the show was in the final scene when Elsa’s magic moves across a line of people, freezing them slowly in place until they seemingly form a small iceberg.
Another masterful element of the show was the creation of the non-human characters. Olaf, a fan favorite, is a puppet who is brought to life by a wonderful puppeteer who actually adds a new dimension to the character on stage. The trolls from the movie are presented as “Hidden Folk” - human actors transformed into other-worldly beings. And finally, Sven, the reindeer, was a beautiful creation with incredibly realistic movements and personality - good luck taking your eyes off of him.
The show ends with a fun surprise...here’s a hint:
If you're interested in capturing a piece of the magic, rest assured that opportunities abound to bring home a Frozen souvenir. A classic Disney shopping experience awaits in the lobby, with everything from high-end jewelry, stuffed Olafs, and clothing, to themed drink cups and lollipops at the concession stand...
It’s also worth mentioning that while the show is a perfect choice for young children- and there were many in the audience- my own two hard-to-impress older teenagers were also captivated. The show has broad appeal.
As a natural skeptic, I had my doubts about whether the show would feel completely fresh and alive, given that I already knew the story so well. After all, I’ve seen the movie countless times with my children and heard the hit songs a gazillion times. I can confirm that this is not a concern. The show is a must-do for Disney fans as well as anyone else simply looking for a fantastic entertainment experience.
Photos courtesy of Amy Swiss, except where noted.
Do you want to see FROZEN on Broadway?
Are you planning on going? Tell us about it in the comments...