“Disney’s Frozen” Wows with Broadway Power at Proctors
The enormously popular children’s film is transformed in Schenectady into a theatrical technical masterwork that tells its story with beauty, stage magic and sincerity. Proctors Theatre had the distinct honor of being chosen by Disney Theatricals to tech (prepare and stage the initial stage presentation for touring) their multi-million-dollar franchise juggernaut “Disney’s Frozen.” They have done the show, the theatre and the Capital Region proud with an irresistible spectacle that will induce gasps at the visual effects but also has the grace to tell its story with charm and humanity. If the story had me scratching my head and wondering about small details, that’s entirely on the book by Jennifer Lee.
My colleague, Laura DaPolito, at Nippertown has already reviewed this production and I agree with all of her assessments especially in the portrayals of both Anna’s, young (the tornado with pigtails, Arwen Monzon-Sanders) and mature (the delightful Caroline Innerbichler). Ms. Innerbichler, “not the heir, just the spare” carries the audience along through her quest to find her sister and save their kingdom. She is spontaneous, refreshing and great company throughout the evening, especially with “Love Is an Open Door.” Queen Elsa is played by Caroline Bowman and has all the beauty, regal bearing and vocal power she needs to play the Snow Queen (the original source material by Hans Christian Anderson) and unleash the evening’s anthem, “Let It Go,” music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.
The show has an exceptionally strong diverse cast who are present through much of the show. Mason Reeves as Anna’s guide Kristoff has a chill vibe, F. Michael Haynie has a great deadpan as the snowman Olaf and Jeremy Morse impresses physically and comedically as Weselton. Austin Colby fits the heartbreaker Hans well.
The evening flies by with relatively little fidgeting by either me or the hundreds of children in attendance. The set, costumes, lighting and projections have never made Proctors look more like a Broadway house. The setting of the castle and the journey North to the Ice Palace is constantly changing and extremely visually appealing. During the first act closer which is “Let It Go,” the stage effects escalate and climax along with the song and there are dozens of visual surprises throughout the evening that startle and enthrall. Technical supervisor Aurora Productions and directed by Michael Grandage. The choreography also did some wonderful expressive touches when groups could tell a story of a ship lost at sea or an expedition frozen on the mountain with the minimum of gestures and fuss…the group is moving, you see figures struggling and before you know it, it’s a capsized ship. Impressive choreography by Rob Ashford.
The cast has gotten keys to the city of Schenectady, Jay Street has “Frozen” banners on its lampposts and many buildings downtown are lit a glacial blue at night including City Hall. A Broadway podcast I listen to daily has been talking about “Disney’s Frozen” beginning its tour in Schenectady. The Capital Region should be very proud of its support of live theater and this moment that has one of the country’s biggest tours beginning its winter trek from our grand theatre in the North, Proctors. Bravo to all involved!