This weekend I attended one of the first shows of Disney’s “Frozen” at the Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando as part of the FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando 21/22 season, and I found it to be an energetic, fun, and hilarious telling of the story.
We all know “Frozen,” but this production actually reworks the story a bit to give a fresh look at the characters and what happens.
The show starts with a young Elsa and Anna, who love to play together until one night Elsa accidentally strikes Anna with a cold blast.
After the Queen calls on her northern colony of hidden folk, led by Grand Pabbie, Elsa shuts herself away from Anna, for fear of hurting her again. This is one of the first changes I noticed, since the Queen’s heritage wasn’t actually mentioned until the movie’s sequel, “Frozen 2.”
Years pass, and we meet the sisters again after their parents are lost at sea. Elsa is to be crowned the new Queen of Arendelle, and at the party, Anna meets Han in a slightly risque (but still family-friendly) rendition of “Love is an Open Door.”
Elsa reacts badly to the news Anna and Han want to marry, and after unleashing a blast of cold on Arendelle, flees to the mountains.
Anna follows, meets Kristoff and Sven a second time (another deviation from the movie, since in this musical, they were present at the coronation), and discovers Olaf (I loved the ingenious way the show brings the snowman to life).
Then Elsa does her signature number, “Let It Go,” accompanied by the most amazing on-stage costume change from her coronation outfit into her Ice Queen dress. I know how it’s done and even I was amazed at how fast it happens.
Following an intermission, the story picks up at Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Sauna where Oaken teaches them all about “Hygge” while the towel-clad sauna occupants dance around. This entire scene was one of the funniest and liveliest in the show!
As was Kristoff introducing Anna to his adoptive family set to the song, “Fixer Upper.”
Near the end of the show, the staging of the big ice storm was ingenious and thankfully didn’t involve any fog machines, and the story ends on a happy note.
The cast is amazing in their roles, especially Caroline Innerbichler as adult Anna, F. Michael Haynie as Olaf, Michael Milkanin as Oaken, and Olivia Jones and Arwen Monzon-Sanders as the young Anna and Elsa.
The stage design is brilliant and the sets make very good use of the available space in helping to tell the story.
I will also say that I enjoyed seeing all the young Annas and Elsas in the audience, many whom were attending their very first theater show.
Whether you’re a “Frozen” fan, or just a fan of fun musicals, I would highly recommend seeing this stage production!
Disney’s “Frozen” is at the Dr. Phillips Center through March 6, 2022. Tickets start at $30 and are available at DrPhillipsCenter.org and at the venue box office.
Learn more about the show at FrozenTheMusical.com.
Disclaimer: CSO received review tickets to the show. As always, my review is honest, and my own.
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