FROZEN melted my heart! I am late to this game. Was not a fan of the Disney movie’s animation, and was somewhat mystified at the extent to which little girls were entranced by it. I have seen these little Elsa’s and Anna’s turning up at my door at Halloween in sparkles and tulle looking just delighted with themselves. I had never seen the staged musical until last night when the Tony-award winning show opened at the Opera House– and the audience was packed with sparkly little girls wide-eyed and singing along with “LET IT GO.” Well, I finally got it. The show is a masterpiece of staging, sets, costumes, songs, tremendous voices and performances. But it’s the concept and the moral of the story that REALLY got to me — and this is not JUST for kids. Full grown WOMEN will love this too.
This is a new fairytale celebrating and centering girl power! No wonder little girls are so excited when they see this. Gone is the perfect little placid princess waiting for some prince’s true love’s kiss to bring her to life. This is the story of not one, but two princesses who already have powers and it’s the bond between them that is the key to unlocking the magic! FROZEN is a marvelous re-invention of the traditional fairy tale and all the messages that girls get about how they need to hide or be afraid of using their power. When a girl is powerful in a traditional fairytale, she’s usually wicked. The triumph here lies in women trusting themselves as they grow into their power and leaning on the support of the sisterhood, all of it based in love and true connection– not competition. There are a few men featured here too, and how they use their power runs the gamut. In the end, the best man meets the woman where she is, but this outcome is just the frosting on the cake already baked by the sisters themselves.
But enough theorizing–this is a fantastic flesh and blood musical! The sets, costumes and staging are instantly gorgeous with layer upon layer of scenes and scrims rendering romantic fairy tale castles and mountain top villages in a glistening arctic landscape with crystaline lighting, sparkling snowflakes and icicles and even the bewitching aurora borealis hovering on the horizon! The stars of this production are first rate: Caroline Bowman is a stunning Elsa. I gasped at the dramatic power of her voice and the lightning quick costume changes before our eyes that signaled her power and electrified the audience! Her sister Anna is an outrageously funny Lauren Nicole Chapman with comedic and vocal chops to spare. She is the heart and soul of the musical and her every line held the packed house– a noisy one with 1500 new young theater goers in the balcony–spellbound. The show stood up to their energy rippling through the auditorium, and grabbed their attention especially when Sven (Collin Baja) a very large, adorable, and expressive reindeer galloped onto the stage to wild applause. I must admit, he was cute. I could have done without Olaf a snowman as comic relief–but he was expertly-voiced and maneuvered by Jeremy Davis.
That leaves an hysterically funny Jeremy Morse as the silly, sinister Duke Weselton; the charming Dominic Dorset as humble, true blue Kristoff, and his polar opposite the power-hungry Hans played to two-faced perfection by Preston Perez. There are so many fantastic musical numbers in the show; highlights include Hans and Anna getting down to it early in Act I with an array of dance moves– classic to hip hop– which choreographically nail their infatuation with each other. There’s dazzling dance and vocal work from an ensemble that never stops, and a show –with book by Jennifer Lee, music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez– briskly paced to make us laugh and cry and cheer. Grab some sparkles and tulle and get to the Opera House with your little girls or your big girl friends and LET IT GO! FROZEN is presented by Broadway in Boston at the Citizens Bank Opera House through November 12!