Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Pre Broadway Frozen Stage Show ~ Denver ~ Review

And the Frozen fever continues. A new short with a holiday theme will be released with the upcoming film "Coco", and "Frozen 2" is in the works. Is it too late to add a Broadway show to the mix? Read on but be aware there are spoilers.

The Broadway production of  "Frozen" opens in New York on February 22, 2018. Prior to that is a 7 week Denver engagement, and I was fortunate to be able to attend.
This is not simply a remake of the film..or the Disney California Adventure stage show...or the Disney Cruise Line Wonder stage show.

The preview shows the tale much fleshed out, with a deeper storyline and character development, as well as having a bunch of new songs.
A smart move is having Pappi act as narrator, weaving the story together. No longer trolls, Kristoff's family is  more creature like, and are called the Hidden Folk. There's a new song in the beginning explaining Olaf's creation, called "A Little Bit of You". Hans has a deeper development, and Elsa  has her own ballad, prior to "Let It Go".

Sven is wonderfully done! And the puppet/person mix of Olaf works very well.
Olaf's hit, "In Summer" remains, but I'd hoped for a much splashier production number, as seen in the Disney California Adventure version. This segment seemed under staged to me. So much of the show is really emotional and rather deep, and I feel they lost an opportunity to add lightness by not making "In Summer" a joyous spectacle.

To me, the oddest bit of flow in the show is the shuffling around of scenes to allow Elsa's big number, "Let it Go" to end Act 1. Instead of the song happening right after the big scene at the Coronation, we go through meeting Kristoff, seeing he and Anna interact, and even getting to know Olaf, all before Elsa lets it go. I'd always thought the original freezing of the town was when Elsa fled the Coronation, and the  everlasting winter was when she flung about snow and ice and built the ice castle. But here is Anna, cold and shivering and in deep winter when she meets Kristoff. He then provides her with a warn outfit, since we haven't come across Oaken yet.
 Oaken doesn't appear until Act II, but that is done well. It is also the 'raciest' Disney production number you'll see. Loads of family come out of the famous sauna in flesh colored bodysuits, and there is a production number that cleverly uses leaves a'la Adam and Eve to cover all the parts that need to be covered in a family show.

Everything else goes as expected, with more new and beautiful music and songs added, until love thaws a broken heart.
Casting is excellent. Each character nails it, and all have fabulous voices and plenty of chemistry with each other. The children who play young Anna and Elsa do well, but I found there was some sound issues at times that made hearing their spoken words a little muddled.

Much of the staging is rather dark, so that the effects of the ice shine all the brighter.  Effects were fine and the brilliant costume change of Elsa is gasp inducing as it is in the other stage productions.
Effects are well done, but not quite 'wow'. I hope they can plus the effects when the show makes it to Broadway.
There was a strictly enforced no camera rule so I didn't feel I could even take a picture of the stage before the show opened. In Denver, they had very little merchandise. No glossy programs, and the cast recording not available, although it could be pre-ordered. I will definitely be getting the album, as the music is stunning and the new songs wonderful. There are a couple or parts where the really young, say under age eight, might get fidgety.

I hope I'm able to see this show in its final state. It should have a good long New York run and tour the country later on.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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