Interview: Jack Brewer of DISNEY'S FROZEN National Tour

Introducing the delightful talent embodying the role of shopkeeper Oaken (and more) in the iconic musical that is taking America by an Ice Storm!

By: May. 31, 2024
Interview: Jack Brewer of DISNEY'S FROZEN National Tour
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.




Existing user? Just click login.

Interview: Jack Brewer of DISNEY'S FROZEN National Tour
Jack Brewer (Oaken, Bishop, Ensemble)
Disney's Frozen 
PC: Motley Crew Media

I recently met with Jack Brewer, a graduate of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, known for regional performances in Cinderella, Chicago, Camelot (Muny), and Buddy Foster in Side Show (WPPAC). Jack plays shopkeeper Oaken (among other roles) in the National Tour of Disney’s Frozen. He graciously shared with me a little bit of his story, his dreams, and what it takes to be a part of this iconic franchise. Look for Jack at the top of Act 2 as sings a new song “Hygge”!

How did you get started in the world of theatre?

I don't come from a very theatrical family, but I always loved to sing. There are videos of me at three years old singing Destiny's Child around the house. When I was about nine, I brought home a flyer from school about auditions for a musical. I thought it would be a fun way to spend my time, without anticipating it would become my passion. I loved performing and soon started taking dance classes and participating in more musicals. It was a surprise to both me and my parents, but I just loved it. From then on, I seized every opportunity to be involved in theatre and never looked back.

In the program, you indicate that this is a dream show, were you a big Disney fan growing up? 

Absolutely! We had so many VHS tapes of Disney movies around the house. My siblings and I loved Disney and would watch them all the time. 

What kind of training did you do to prepare you for a career in Musical Theatre? 

I started taking dance classes casually when I was younger, but once I was in high school, I became more serious about it. I took lessons in various types of dance and began voice lessons as well. Eventually, I majored in musical theater at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), completing a four-year program. After graduating, I moved to New York and started auditioning. By then, I had been training and working toward a career in this field for many years.

How does it feel to be a part of such an iconic franchise? 

This is by far the biggest show I have ever been a part of. There's a certain amount of expectation when you're attached to a name as iconic as Disney's Frozen. People walk into the show with high hopes, and that motivates us to give our best performance. We understand how dear these stories and characters are to people’s hearts, and we genuinely want to do them justice. We've grown to love this story and its characters just as much. It feels incredibly special, like we have something important in our hands to nurture. We all care deeply about ensuring that people walk away feeling exactly as they hoped when they came to see Frozen.

How do you think the story translates from an animated movie to the stage?

Our book writers, costume designers, and set designers have done an incredible job transferring the animated movie Frozen to the stage. If you come to see Frozen, you'll get everything you hoped for. You'll see Olaf, hear all the songs you know and love, and watch Elsa transform her magical ice castle. They have ensured that everything you expect from the movie is present in the show.

That being said, theatre is a different medium, so there are some changes. They've added a handful of new songs written by the same writers, Bobby and Kristen. There are new scenes, and they've focused more on certain parts of the story, rearranging a few things to make it translate better on stage while still staying true to all the Frozen elements you expect to see.

Besides Oaken, you also play other roles. How do you prepare to play multiple and very distinct roles within the same show?

Yes, I do play a lot of different roles in the show. Sometimes I'm a general townsperson, sometimes I'm a member of the Hidden Folk, and I also play the Bishop and Oaken. These characters are all very different from one another. It took me some time at the beginning to easily switch between them, depending on the scene. But now, approaching show five hundred, I know exactly what I need to do to embody each character when I step on stage.

It did take a lot of practice because each role requires very different things. Oaken, for example, is very eccentric, fun, singsongy, silly, and bouncy, while the Bishop is stoic, reserved, and calm. It took time to figure out all the small traits and nuances of each character, but once you have a good understanding of who they are and what the audience needs from them, it gets easier to switch between them.

Do you speak with an accent in the show and how did you prepare for that? 

I do speak with a bit of an accent as Oaken, which came about from watching the movie and videos on YouTube of people with Swedish accents. I took inspiration from various sources, including the Swedish Chef, that fun puppet character, to add a comedic touch. Oaken is a piece of comedic relief, meant to lift people's spirits and make them laugh. I tried to stay true to the accent as much as I could. It all came together with practice and pulling inspiration from different things I found on the internet.

What is your favorite number in the show?

Selfishly, I'd have to say my favorite number is "Hygge" (spelled H-Y-G-G-E), which opens Act Two. It's a silly, funny song about the practice of hygge, which means being comfortable, cozy, and surrounding yourself with warmth. The song is all about embracing that way of life. I get to sing it and do a scene with Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf, and it's a lot of fun for me. So, that would probably be my favorite.

I look forward to seeing you do that! What is it like to be part of a touring company?

Being on tour can be really challenging. We've left our homes, friends, and families just to do this job, living out of a few suitcases and constantly on the road all year. It inherently brings about some challenges. However, one thing it does is it makes us incredibly close with the other people in the cast and on the show. In the middle of a city we're not familiar with, we only have each other. So, we've grown very close on this tour, forming our own little family on the road, which is really special. I've grown to love these people deeply, and although it can be hard sometimes, I feel so lucky to be part of this new family.

Is the tour stopping at all cities for one week, or are there cities where you stay longer?

We do one-week stops, but most of our stops are for two weeks. We’ll be in Austin for two weeks.

What's been your favorite city thus far?

So far, I really, really loved Washington DC. Playing at the Kennedy Center, such an iconic theatre, was an incredible experience, especially during the holidays. We were there over Christmas and New Year's, and we had a fantastic time in DC. But looking ahead, I'm also really excited about the upcoming cities. I've never been to Austin, and I've heard from so many people that it's amazing and one of their favorite cities. So, I'm really excited to come to Austin.

What advice would you like to give young actors trying to break into the industry

If I were talking to a young actor trying to break into the world of theatre, I'd advise against comparing themselves to others. I fell into that trap myself and wasted a lot of time trying to emulate someone I thought was better or more talented than me. Whether it was trying to look a certain way or be something I'm not, it wasn't truthful. I found real success when I embraced my uniqueness. Everyone brings something different to the table. So, my advice would be: don't compare yourself to others. Just be authentically you when you walk into any room, showing them what you have to offer what no one else can.

What would you like the audience to take away from the show?

A lot of people come to our show expecting it to be just for kids. But I want to make it clear that people of any age, whether they come with kids or not, can enjoy the experience. It's a full-scale Broadway production, not just a little kids' show. It's heartfelt and touches on themes of love and family. Love is really the overarching theme of the show. If you know the story, you are well aware that love is what helps Elsa deal with her struggles. It's what brings people together and heals a lot of problems. So, if you come to the show, you'll leave feeling a little lighter and with a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Thank you Jack for your kindness during the interview! BroadwayWorld Austin Welcomes you and the entire cast and crew of Disney's Frozen to AUSTIN! 

Interview: Jack Brewer of DISNEY'S FROZEN National Tour
Company of Disney's Frozen North American Tour
PC: Deen Van Meer


 

DISNEY’S FROZEN

Book by Jennifer Lee

Direction by Michael Grandage

Music and Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

Choreography by Rob Ashford

Broadway Across America at Bass Concert Hall

2350 Robert Dedman Dr

Austin, TX

Show runs from June 5th to June 16th, 2024

Tuesdays thru Fridays at 7:30 pm

Saturdays at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm

Sundays at 1:00 pm

Extra shows:

Sunday June 9th at 6:30 pm

Thursday June 13th at 1:00 pm




Comments

To post a comment, you must register and login.







Videos