Review: OKC Broadway melts hearts with FROZEN

The National tour of Frozen stops in OKC through April 2nd at the Civic Center.

By: Mar. 26, 2023
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Review: OKC Broadway melts hearts with FROZEN
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Based on the hit animated feature film, Disney Theatricals' Frozen is the Broadway Musical of all Broadway Musicals. Fresh off the heels of the 2013 mega-phenomenon movie, Frozen is an expanded version of the story and features all the familiar songs and characters, plus 12 new tunes written just for the stage. Frozen debuted on Broadway in 2018. With book by Jennifer Lee and music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, Frozen is everything fans of Disney and musicals expect and want in a show. The national tour, directed by Michael Grandage, stops in OKC at the Civic Center now through April 2, 2023.

When young princesses Anna and Elsa are orphaned, they know they will soon rule their tiny Norwegian kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa is hiding a dark secret. She's been cursed with magical powers since childhood and doesn't know how to control them. With her parents gone, she's forced to hide herself away from her subjects and her beloved younger sister. Elsa is crowned Queen, but soon she accidentally sets off an eternal winter in her kingdom. Elsa flees to escape the certain death of those she loves. Ever persistent and heroic, Anna follows her into the unknown and will stop at nothing, even freezing to death, to find her sister and return her to her rightful place in Arendelle.

Caroline Bowman is majestic and graceful as Queen Elsa. She's a powerhouse, yes, but without the ego. Elsa is a loving, nurturing queen and she's beautifully personified by Bowman. Bowman has big Broadway shoes to fill. The movie Elsa is voiced by Broadway alum Idina Menzel. However, Bowman isn't swayed, and she hits every note, smiling all the way. Bowman has a royal swagger and a glimmer in her eye, and when she performs the infamous "Let It Go", she pulls out all the stops. Thank goodness there's a 20-minute intermission immediately following this number. Patrons need the extra few minutes to catch their breath and dry their eyes.

Lauren Nicole Chapman is quirky and comedic as the younger sister Anna. Anna is also an iconic character who was voiced in the movie by everyone's favorite girl next door Kristen Bell. Chapman has some of the most challenging scenes on stage. Anna's journey isn't easy. She's truly the heroine of the tale. Chapman is strong and reliable, with her feet on the ground and her voice in the clouds.

Together Bowman and Chapman are doting sisters who clearly share a loving bond. The supporting characters in Frozen are enjoyable, as they are in any Disney story. But Frozen belongs fully to Anna and Elsa. This is their love story, and it's one of family and friendship between two sisters who look out for each other when they have no one else.

Dominic Dorset is lovable as Kristoff, the ice vendor who helps Anna on her journey. Collin Baja is impressive in the intricate costume that makes up Sven, Kristoff's sidekick, reindeer, and best friend. Olaf is a magical snowman of Elsa's creation and he's portrayed on stage by clever puppeteer Jeremy Davis.

Avelyn Choi as Young Anna and Sydney Elise Russell as Young Elsa steal hearts as they open the show, setting the stage and a very high bar. Norah Nunes fills the role as Young Anna and Erin Choi steps in for Young Elsa on alternate performances. Their parents, Queen Iduna and King Agnarr are portrayed lovingly by Belinda Allyn and Kyle Lamar Mitchell.

Every Disney story must have a villain, and he's portrayed expertly by Will Savarese as Hans. Evan Duff as Weselton and Jack Brewer as Oaken offer comedic relief in dark moments.

Completing this excellent cast of topnotch performers is Gretel Scarlett as Head Handmaiden, Tyler Jimenez as Pabbie, Taylor Marie Daniel as Bulda, and Jack Brewer as the Bishop.

The ensemble has moments of delight and even moments that can be scary for the youngest viewers. They perform gorgeous ensemble numbers from choreographer Rob Ashford.

The orchestrations are simply breathtaking, with memorable tunes that have the little Elsas and Annas in the audience singing along. Music Director/Conductor is Faith Seetoo. Associate Conductor is Josh Tatsuo Cullen. Jenna Mee Dosch and Angela Jamieson are on keyboard. Jeff MacPherson is on drums. Marc Hogan is on acoustic/electric bass, Julia Ferrara is on flute/piccolo/clarinet/alto sax/soprano sax. Mike Livingston is on oboe/English horn/flute/clarinet/tenor sax. Tim Burke and Paul Baron are on trumpet. Charlotte O'Connor is on French horn and Charlie Morillas is on trombone. The orchestra creates a mystical world that's full of magic and shines with wintry charm.

Frozen is a technical marvel. It's impossible to completely take the spectacle of it all in. In true Disney fashion, it's a two-hour sensory overload that is dazzling, emotionally touching, and sparkles with icy magic. The lighting effects are unique and powerful, depicting everything from ice cracking through the walls and roof of a castle, to snowflakes gently landing, to jolts of Elsa's magic, and even costumes. The vocals soar higher than the Alps. And speaking of costumes, the quick changes are lightning fast. You'll find yourself wondering often where the old costume went, where the new one came from, and just HOW did they do THAT? Disney is nothing if not impressive, and the family production company is the best of the best in every aspect of entertainment.

Frozen will win over even the iciest of critics. It's simply too impressive not to. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll get an armful of chills. You'll want to come back again and again, just to figure out how they did any number of technical elements. In the end, it will ultimately be chalked up to that familiar adage "Disney magic", and your heart will feel just a little bit warmer. Some shows are, after all, quite worth melting for.


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