This September, dive into the magical world of two princesses, Elsa and Anna of the Kingdom of Arendelle! Frozen is a critically-acclaimed musical adapted from the 2013 Disney film of the same name. The musical takes the film’s wondrous journey, fantastic music, and the immense bond between two sisters to the stage! Frozen took Broadway by storm with a stellar cast and a Tony and Emmy-Award-winning creative team. This fall, the musical goes on tour and will make several stops in major cities, including North Carolina! Musical enthusiasts in Durham will have a magical time watching this stage adaptation at the Durham Performing Arts Center! The show will take over the city’s premier Broadway venue from September 14 to October 2! The musical is abound with electrifying song numbers, eye-popping visuals, and an incredible storyline. Frozen is simply designed to build memories for the entire family! So hurry and grab your tickets now and experience Frozen, the music, at the Durham Performing Arts Center!
Frozen is a 2013 animated film by Walt Disney Pictures. The story was inspired by a fairy tale titled Snow Queen, written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The film’s story revolves around life in Arrendelle, where two sisters, Elsa and Anna, were left to navigate their lives and rule the kingdom after the untimely death of their parents. The film was a colossal success, especially among the younger audience. The screenplay was written by award-winning writer and director Jennifer Lee, while the music was written by award-winning pianist and composer Jean-Christophe Beck. The film was a monumental commercial success, grossing over $1.28 billion, winning two Academy Awards, and receiving numerous nominations.
The musical adaptation first opened in Denver in 2017. Disney Theatrical Productions had a trial run at the Buelle Theatre in Denver, Colorado. Producers took about three years to bring the beloved film to the stage. The wildly successful film required meticulous planning because the musical needed to be just as astounding as the film, maybe even more. The CEO of Walt Disney, Bob Iger, stressed that the musical adaptation was not about how quickly it could be brought to the stage, “We’re demanding excellence.” Tom Schumacher, the president of Disney Theatrical Group, mentioned during an interview that “the first priority is when you have a property that is as beloved and music-based as Frozen, that has to get an enormous amount of my attention.” The producer’s dilemma at the time was, “How do we take this and make a sophisticated, adult evening of theater out of it?”
The musical tells the story of Princesses Elsa and Anna of Arrendelle. The royal family hides a big secret within their castle – Princess Elsa has a powerful magic that can create ice or turn anything into ice. One evening while the two young princesses are playing, Elsa accidentally hurts Ann with her magic. The parents sought the help of a hidden folk colony led by Grand Pabbie. After Anna becomes better, Elsa decides to distance herself from her sister out of guilt. The king and queen leave Arrendelle to find a solution for Elsa’s powers, but a powerful storm causes their ship to capsize, leading to their untimely death. While growing up, a playing Anna relentlessly tries to get Elsa to play with her. She eventually sees Elsa again during her coronation as Queen of Arrendelle. However, an argument between the two sisters caused Elsa to expose her powers. This incident prompts her to run away from the castle. Anna, determined to find her sister, sets out on a journey with her friends Kristoff and Sven, the reindeer. Will the ill-equipped Anna find Elsa? Can she convince her sister to come back and rule Arrendelle? Most of all, will the people of Arrendelle accept Elsa as their queen now her powers are exposed?
“Tony-winning director Michael Grandage refines Frozen by putting the focus on emotion first. The bond between the sisters effectively and literally takes the spotlight. Doubters may just have their heart thawed.” – Entertainment Weekly.
“The hottest show on Broadway!” – Vanity Fair.
Any musical with an extremely high expectation calls for an award-winning creative team, and that’s what the producers did. Frozen, the musical was originally directed by multi-award-winning writer and director Alex Timbers, while Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez wrote the music and lyrics. Peter Darling, known for his fantastic work with Billy Elliot the Musical, joined the team as the choreographer. Lastly, Tony-Award-winner Stephen Oremus served as the music supervisor.
For its Broadway opening, the creative team brought in a new director Michael Grandage and choreographer, Rob Ashford – both are award-winning industry professionals. The original 2018 Broadway cast consisted of Patti Murrin as Anna, Caissie Levy as Elsa, Jelani Alladin as Kristoff, and John Riddle as Hans. Show goers can expect myriad familiar songs from the film, such as “Let It Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” “For the First Time in Forever,” “Fixer Upper,” “Love is an Open Door,” and more. Moreover, viewers can also anticipate a plethora of new songs.
In 2018, Frozen finally opened on Broadway during spring at the St. James Theatre. The musical garnered rave reviews from critics and was well-received by the general public. The critic from Entertainment Weekly wrote, “ Tony-winning director Michael Grandage refines Frozen by putting the focus on emotion first. The bond between the sisters effectively and literally takes the spotlight.” He continued that “doubters may just have their hearts thawed.”
Meanwhile, New York Magazine mentioned that Frozen is a “theatrical extravaganza that delivers. There are screams, cheers, tears, and the effect is genuinely electric!” The musical was also highly-regarded for its aesthetically pleasing set design and costume. Newsday’s critic gave props for the musical’s visual presentation. “It will give you chills! Amazing special effects, eye-popping costumes, and incredible performances.”
“You’ve never seen Frozen like this” – Good Morning America.
“A Can’t-Miss Broadway Event!” – NBC
To some viewers, Frozen, the musical, unlike the film, does not have a cartoonish appeal. The direction focused more on the sisters’ relationship and had a melancholic aura. However, many critics find it refreshing. Since many adults may find the musical more relatable than the film. This characteristic resonated well with viewers like Andrzej Lukowski from Time Out. “It’s a thoughtful, attractive and human spin that manages to balance a Drury Lane-size spectacle with recognizing what audiences want from ‘Frozen,’ and subtly bringing it a little closer to ‘The Snow Queen.” Lukowski added that “if the film is a pre-school classic, the musical is maybe a couple of years more grown-up. But its most magical moments will wow every age group.”
In 2019, the musical went on tour after a successful production on Broadway. However, due to the global pandemic, production was suspended and reopened in September 2021. This 2022, the musical goes on a 20-city tour across North America with shows in North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Missouri, California, and many more. Apart from touring the U.S., the musical has opened in Tokyo, London’s West End, Australia, and Hamburg, Germany.
The musical’s North American tour features a stellar touring cast composed of Lauren Nicole Chapman as Anna, renowned Broadway actress Caroline Bowman as Elsa, Mason Reeves as Kristoff, Ryan McCartan as Hans, and F. Michale Haynie as Olaf.
This September 2022, Frozen makes the Durham Performing Arts Center. The Durham Performing Arts Center has been the center for highly-rated touring musicals. The venue has hosted some of the country’s biggest shows, such as Les Miserables, The Book of Mormon, Moulin Rouge! The Musica, Six, and Beetlejuice. Besides musicals, the venue is set to feature concerts by top performers, such as Daryl Hall, Lyle Lovett, comedian Jo Koy, The Temptations and the Four Tops, and Brandi Carlisle. Since 2008, the Durham Performing Arts Center has become the center for top-tier entertainment. Every year, the venue welcomes more than 550,000 guests with up to 250 events. The venue is furnished with 2,700 plush seats and state-of-the-art audio and visual technology. Moreover, it has been ranked as one of the top five theaters in the United States. In 2020, Billboard Magazine ranked the center at number 7 in gross sales in the U.S. for venues under 5,000 capacity.
If you loved the film, Frozen, you would love Frozen, the musical. The show was produced with an award-winning creative team and an immensely talented cast. With most musical enthusiasts being adults, the musical was designed with the audience in mind, while maintaining its youthful quality. Indeed, there’s nothing quite like seeing a groundbreaking musical with your friends and loved ones. The discussion post-show also makes a good bonding activity among loved ones and encourages critical thinking, expression, and self-reflection. Frozen opens at the Durham Performing Arts Center on September 14 and will run until October 2, 2022! If you’re keen on seeing this critically-acclaimed musical, hurry and secure your tickets before it’s too late!