Oscar E Moore

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FROZEN – Disney on Ice or Finding Elsa

April 2nd, 2018 by Oscar E Moore

Call me a Mouseketeer.  Call me a kid.  Call me a boob.  Whatever.  I am a fan of Disney’s new musical FROZEN on Broadway at the St. James Theatre.  In the great old tradition of Tinkerbell, Snow White and Cinderella the creators of FROZEN have melted all the snow and ice of our previous four Nor’easters and come up with a wonderfully entertaining musical based on the animated film of the same name which if you haven’t heard made an amazing 1.2 billion dollars in 2013 and had that hit song LET IT GO that you could only escape if you were buried under an igloo in Siberia.

Starring not one Princess but two.  Sisters as in “there were never such devoted sisters” – thank you Irving Berlin!  Ice cold Elsa (Caissie Levy) the elder with magical powers literally at her fingertips and Anna (Patti Murin) the more animated (no pun intended) of the two.  Elsa sings that well-worn ditty by Mrs. And Mr. Lopez.  Anna steals the show and our hearts and perhaps some awards at seasons end.

What a surprise then to fall madly in love with a reindeer.  An amazing bigger than life puppet operated by Andrew Pirozzi who without uttering a single word or singing a single note charms and beguiles with his movements and puppy dog eyes.  His name is Sven.  Buddy to Kristoff (Jelani Alladin) a mountain guide who aides Anna in finding Elsa after Elsa has unleashed her magical powers after a tiff with Anna at her Coronation and frozen all of Arendelle and its surrounding hinterlands.

We first meet Elsa (Brooklyn Nelson) and Anna (Mattea Conforti) as young girls romping around their castle bedroom building a snowman who later reappears as Olaf (Greg Hildreth) speaking and singing and operating the puppet attached to his feet.  He has a great number “In Summer” with a clever pop up mini set by Christopher Oram who has done a bang up job with all the settings and costumes that bring back the vintage Disney look that brings back wonderful vintage Disney memories.

There are six musical numbers in a montage of the opening scene that sets up the characters and situation.  It is at the Coronation of Elsa (the King and Queen have been lost at sea) where Anna meets the dashing and deceptive Hans of the Southern Isles (a terrific John Riddle) falls in love at first sight and is swept off her feet in a waltz.  They seem destined to be together after “Love is an Open Door” until Elsa refuses their marriage and uses her magical powers to put a freeze on things.  This does sound silly but just go see the show and enjoy it.

It is briskly directed by Michael Grandage.  Beautifully lit by that wizard of lighting Natasha Katz and has some fun choreography by Rob Ashford.  For instance the opening of Act II at the Trading Post where Oaken (Kevin Del Aguila) enters from the audience and proceeds to do a wild and zany number with the chorus in flesh colored body stockings as they burst forth from a Sauna and cavort to that well known standard to be “Hygge” – you may want to get back to the main story – the Trading Post is a brief stopover for Anna and Kristoff and my true love Sven – it does soon enough after you stop laughing and cheering.

There is also an almost show stopping quick change of costume for Elsa that is truly magical.  But the show belongs to Patti Murin as Anna.  She is charming and oafish and athletic and has a powerhouse voice.  Matched only by Caissie Levy’s brilliant rendition of “Let It Go” that seems as if we had never heard that tune before.  Quite an accomplishment.

I almost forgot there is one other standout.  With a strong voice and even stronger body who dances up his own storm.  Timothy Hughes as Pabbie – King of the Woodland Creatures or whatever they are.

Will the icy cold spell be broken by Anna finding true love and be reunited with Elsa?  That’s a rhetorical question folks.  FROZEN is a delightful show that pleases the eyes and ears and is for Mouseketeers of all ages.  I had a wonderful time with the wonderful world of Disney.

To quote Mr. Irving Berlin once again “Lord help the Mister who comes between me and my sister and Lord help the Sister who comes between me and my man.”

With a book by Jennifer Lee and music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez


Photos:  Deen Van Meer

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