The first look at the stars in costume for the Broadway version of Frozen has been revealed. Walt Disney's hit movie Frozen took the world by storm back in 2013, becoming the highest-grossing animated film of all time, winning two Academy Awards and ushering in a highly anticipated sequel which has been years in the making. While the cast, directors and songwriters from the original movie get ready to reunite for the next chapter due out in 2019, a stage adaptation will soon make its debut on Broadway in February 2018. But first the latest musical from Disney Theatrical Productions is getting a test run Aug. 17 through Oct. 1 in Denver.
Patti Murin, Caissie Levy, Jelani Alladin, and John Riddle are currently bringing the characters of Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Hans to life in the production from Tony-winning director Michael Grandage, choreographer Rob Ashford, and scenic/costume designer Christopher Oram. Frozen - The Musical, as it's being called, is set in the same Norwegian-inspired kingdom of Arendelle from the original and takes its stage cues from both the film as well as the minds of its all-star creative team. However, it won't be a straight recreation of the film.
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In a first look at the Broadway musical from EW, Grandage revealed just how the stage adaptation builds on the movie that came before it and why they can go further than the animated version could ever dream:
“I’m not particularly interested in slavishly replicating a movie onstage, because it won’t challenge anybody. We’ve got so many assets at our disposal where we can take that whole experience further. We can present things in new ways. We’ve got a bigger narrative arc. We’ve got more songs than the movie, and an opportunity to develop storylines in greater depth. But the thing we can do most of all is have real, live, breathing, beating hearts in front of people in the dark. I needed a cast where it wasn’t just going to be people who brilliantly pumped out some famous numbers, because I knew we had a bigger book and a bigger arc to explore and, in places, a really highly emotional journey.”
While an animated film only has an hour or two to tell its story, the stage musical will be able to go much deeper into each individual characters' motivations and feelings. There'll be triple the amount of songs from the original (24 now instead of the original 8) and more than 350 different costumes to really fill out the world of Elsa and Anna. Given that the stage is also more of a mature medium, the production will be able to go into adult themes and take the audience on an incredible journey of two sisters coming into their own.
Lest anyone think the new musical won't do the original justice, it seems the creatives have thought of everything. The movie's screenwriter Jennifer Lee has been on board throughout development, and they promise a few surprises in seeing Frozen on the stage. Olaf will be brought to life through the use of prosthetics, but that was just one of many challenges they faced. Grandage divulges, “There are a number of immediate problems to solve when putting something like Frozen on stage, but for every known ‘big deal’ in the narrative, we’ve come up with at least one to match that is going to be new for an audience.”
Costuming was also another big element of the production, and scenic and costume designer Oram even took a trip to Norway for research. His challenge was to have the audience be able to identify the characters, but also have the costumes be practical and seem true to life. “You want people to believe in it, to get that balance between seeing Hans in a very fine, beautifully embroidered jacket and Kristoff in his big chunky mountain gear,” says Oram. “The thing is, they’re wearing big, heavy, warm clothes, and the one thing it is not on stage is freezing cold. That’s dramatic irony for you.” From the looks of the music, costumes, actors, and choreography, everything has come together perfectly.