Disney’s FROZEN Wows The Orpheum

Caroline Bowman as Elsa and Caroline Innerbichler as Anna - photo by Deen van Meer

Saturday night I attended Disney’s FROZEN at the Orpheum. The special effects were incredible, the costumes were astonishing and the performances were magnificent. It was great to see and hear the songs from the movie performed live. The audience obviously loved the performance, cheering wildly throughout. Whether you are a fan of the original animated movie or not, FROZEN is a must see during it’s limited run.

FROZEN, which opened September 30, is the first post covid run at the Theatre. Upon entering the building, attendees had to show their vaccination card (or negative test results) and wear a mask during the performance, but check-in was handled very smoothly and orderly. The crowd was composed of a wide range of people, from very young kids to old gray hairs. Before the play started, the Theatre welcomed people back and the audience clapped and cheered, obviously happy to be able to attend plays again.

This adaptation stayed pretty true to the original movie, although some non-essential parts were cut to keep the length to 2 hours and 20 minutes. The play opens with 2 young sisters playing with their parents, the King and Queen of Arendelle. The older sister, Princess Elsa possesses magical powers where she can control and create ice and snow, often using them to play with her younger sister, Anna. After Elsa accidentally injures Anna with her magic, their parents welcome a colony of trolls to help Anna. Anna is healed but her memory is altered so that she forgets about Elsa’s magic. The King and Queen isolate the sisters within the castle, closing the castle gates to their subjects. To protect her sister from her unpredictable powers, Elsa stops all contact with Anna, creating a rift between them. Later, the parents are killed at sea during a storm.

Caroline Bowman as Elsa, and the Company of Frozen North American Tour – photo by Deen van Meer

Following her 21st birthday, Elsa is to be crowned queen of Arendelle. The castle gates open to the public and visitors for the first time in years. Among them are the Duke of Weselton and Prince Hans of the Southern Isles, with whom Anna falls in love at first sight. Elsa’s coronation takes place without incident. Anna and Hans develop a romantic connection during the coronation festivities, and he proposes to her, but Elsa objects when they seek her blessing. Anna protests, and the emotional strain causes Elsa to accidentally unleash her powers before the court. In the process, her magic unintentionally engulfs Arendelle in an eternal winter.

Austin Colby as Hans and Caroline Innerbichler as Anna – photo by Deen van Meer

Anna sets out to find Elsa and end the winter, leaving Hans in command. She meets an ice seller named Kristoff and his reindeer, Sven, convincing them to take her to the mountains. Hans sets out to find Anna and Elsa, accompanied by the Duke’s men, who have secret orders to kill Elsa. Reaching the ice palace, Anna meets Elsa and reveals what has become of Arendelle. A horrified Elsa confesses she does not know how to undo her magic. Her fear causes her powers to manifest themselves once more, and she accidentally freezes Anna’s heart, seriously injuring her. Realizing the effects of Elsa’s spell on Anna, Kristoff takes her to the trolls, his adoptive family. The Trolls reveal that Anna will freeze solid unless “an act of true love” reverses the spell.

Mason Reeves as Kristoff and Collin Baja as Sven – photo by Deen van Meer

The conclusion is exciting and has a few plot twists. The run time was 2 hours and 20 minutes, but it was so entertaining it seemed much shorter. The sets ranged from the young girls bedrooms, to the Ice Palace on the mountain, to the Castle Ballroom. They were varied, detailed and stunning.

Caroline Bowman as Elsa and the Company of Frozen North American Tour – photo by Deen van Meer

A few highlights – The 2 young ladies that played the young sisters really stole the early part of the show. Their singing and performances were such a joy to watch! The special effects just before the intermission were especially amazing and I would like to see the play again just to see how they did them. As I mentioned earlier, the sets were beautiful and some of the sets were visually stunning. As a photographer, I kept wishing I was able to take shots of the performance.

F. Michael Haynie as Olaf – photo by Deen van Meer

Overall, I really enjoyed the performance! It was so great to be back in the seats watching live performances again. Be sure to see FROZEN before it ends on October 20th!

Company of the Frozen North American Tour – photo by Deen van Meer