Interview: Jeremy Davis of DISNEY'S FROZEN Coming to the National Arts Centre Next Week

Jeremy Davis shared some information about the evolution of the show, to challenges portraying his character, as well as some special moments.

By: Feb. 15, 2024
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Jeremy Davis

I was given the opportunity to ask Jeremy Davis some questions regarding his role as everyone’s favourite snowman, Olaf, in Broadway Across Canada’s upcoming presentation of Disney’s Frozen. Davis shared some information about the evolution of the show, to challenges portraying his character, as well as special moments.

I understand that you have been part of the Frozen family since its pre-Broadway workshop. How has the show evolved from the initial readings to the Broadway run, and now to the first national tour?

Usually, the reading and workshop phase of development is about getting the show on its feet and finding out what works. With Frozen, we were lucky that we had this very successful film to refer to, so we already knew the story worked. We just had to translate it to the stage. When a new show gets to the full production level, that’s when you fine-tune everything. In the Broadway out-of-town try-out in Denver, scenes were reworked and rewritten on a daily basis, musical numbers were changed or replaced, and we worked to get the show as tight as possible. And when the tour started, we used that opportunity to continue to dig deeper to make the story as meaningful, truthful, and funny as we could.

Can you tell me a little bit about how it was to audition for Olaf’s role?

My initial audition was for the understudy on Broadway, and it was so early in the process that they didn’t have the puppet for me to use. It was just like any other audition. I went in, sang “In Summer,” and read a few scenes. Later when I auditioned to take over the role, it was with the puppet. By that time, I’d performed as the understudy many, many times, and it felt like second nature.

Given the nature of Olaf’s design, how challenging is it for you to get into character, compared with other roles you’ve done? Do you do anything in particular to help you get into character?

At first, it was definitely a challenge to work with the puppet. I’d never done anything like it before, and I really struggled to make him come alive. But like anything else in life, the more you do it, the better you get at it, and after a few weeks, I started to get the hang of it. Now it feels like the two of us are dance partners, swooshing around the stage, and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had in the theater.

How do you balance your performance so that the focus remains on the puppet, even though you are the one controlling all Olaf’s movements and providing the vocals?

The design of the puppet does a lot of the work for me. He’s built to create a duality, so eventually, the audience starts to see us as one character. The thing I can do to assist that is to make sure his movements match up precisely with what I’m doing and saying. 

Collin Baja as Sven and Jeremy Davis as Olaf.
Frozen North American Tour.
Photo by Matthew Murphy. Disney

What do you enjoy the most about portraying Olaf?

I love the way he looks at the world. He’s so open and optimistic. He sees everything that happens as an opportunity for joy and fun. It’s such a gift to play a character with that worldview because it starts to seep into me in my everyday life. Thanks to Olaf, I’ve become a more optimistic and happy person.

What is the funniest or sweetest thing a young fan has ever said to you after a performance?

When a child looks up at me and says, “You’re funny!” I just melt. There’s no better thing anyone could say to a comedian, and to hear it from a child is magical. As for the funniest thing a young fan has said, a kid was waiting at the stage door with his mom after one show. I came out and she said, “Look! It’s Olaf!” The kid said, “No, it's not. That’s the guy who was following Olaf around all night."

Do you have a favourite moment and/or song in the show and why?

Playing Olaf is a blast, but it sometimes feels a little isolating. Most of my scenes are with just a few people, and I don’t see the rest of the cast much. But there’s one moment in “Fixer Upper” where I’m in the middle of the stage and everyone is in a clump around me. It’s so lovely to get to connect with all of them in that moment. It feels like a big group hug.

You can see Jeremy Davis as Olaf during the Broadway Across Canada’s presentation of Disney’s Frozen at the National Arts Centre from February 22nd to March 3rd. Click the link below to purchase tickets and click here to learn about upcoming shows from Broadway Across Canada.


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