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Headlined by Caroline Bowman, who was last in Orange County playing Eva Peron in Evita, the national tour is absolutely magical.
Caroline Bowman and the 1st U.S. National Tour of Disney’s FROZEN THE BROADWAY MUSICAL first opened at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in 2019 before having to come to a halt during the pandemic like many theatrical productions. Thankfully it reopened and is proudly making its Orange County debut this month at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, just 13 miles away from Disneyland.
The Cast of Frozen the National Tour
Caroline Bowman may be best known for her electrifying performances as Eva (Evita) and Elphaba (Wicked) but her performance as Elsa (yes, another E!) will most likely be the one that people talk about for years to come. From her note-perfect rendition of Let it Go at the end of Act One to her heartfelt Monster at the eleven o’clock hour, Caroline conveyed Elsa’s fears and dreams to the 2,994-seat theatre.
This time around Caroline Bowman is joined by Lauren Nicole Chapman as her perky sister, Anna. Lauren has been part of the Frozen family since the pre-Broadway development in 2017 and even was featured in the ensemble on the Frozen 2 soundtrack. The actress and her young counterpart (on select nights) Aria Kane brought the perfect zest and zeal for life to the character of Anna. Her duet with Caroline, “I Can’t Lose You“, was a major crowd favorite.
Queen Iduna and King Agnarr are two characters who greatly benefit from the stage production where they are more thoroughly fleshed out. Belinda Allyn was a very pleasant surprise as Queen Iduna. To see representation from our Asian American community on stage is a treat but more so was the fabulous way the audience was able to connect with her character and learn more about the connection Iduna and Elsa shared. I would be very curious to see her interpretation of Anna (a role she understudies).
Another popular standout from last night’s show was Evan Duff who probably has been living his life waiting for a perfect role he can really pour his heart and life into. It was as if he was born to play the role of the Duke of Weselton. His comedic timing was spot-on and he absolutely 100% owned the role of Weselton. It will be very difficult to ever think of the role or the show without envisioning his performance.
Truly though, the cast were all aces from Jeremy Davis (Olaf) to Collin Baja (Sven at certain performances).
I Can’t Lose You
In February 2020 just prior to the tour shuttering due to the pandemic, a new song debuted for Anna and Elsa during Act II called “I Can’t Lose You“. For those who are used to the Broadway soundtrack, this song comes as a huge treat and delight. All of the audience seemed to be in agreement that this was one of the best songs (if not the best) from last night’s opening night performance of Frozen at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Disney on Broadway released an official music video featuring Caroline Bowman and her first tour sister, Caroline Innerbichler, on YouTube and you can also purchase an mp3 of the single on Amazon Music.
The Special Effects and Scenic Design
When Frozen debuted on Broadway in 2017, it only received 3 Tony Award nominations – Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Jennifer Lee), and Best Original Score Written for the Theatre (Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez) – at the 2018 Tony Awards. It lost to The Band’s Visit in all 3 categories which might come as a surprise. What I find to be extremely surprising after witnessing the brilliance of the design team was that they were skipped over for the scenic design and costume design categories.
Christopher Oram (Scenic and Costume Design), whose work includes Evita with Michael Grandage and Hamlet with Jude Law at the Broadhust, created the most magical costume change for Elsa that I have ever been able to witness on stage. The audience and I were gasping in amazement and you could hear the roar of appreciation when Elsa’s coronation dress magically disappeared to reveal her beautiful ice queen dress during “Let it Go”.
And the stunning sets! What can I possibly say about it? Instead I will direct you to an interview Mr. Oram gave Architectural Digest where he said, “the set is crammed full of references, homages and “easter eggs” to all my favorite movies and other Broadway shows. It’s kind of a proper treasure hunt. If you know where to look, it’s all over the place.”
Parental Warning about Frozen the Musical
Many parents brought their children to see Frozen the Musical on opening night and I imagine that will be the trend during the rest of the run at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts so allow me to give this one warning to parents.
There are two scenes that will likely lead to a conversation or two with your young theatre goers so best be prepared. First, when Anna and Prince Hans are singing and dancing to “Love is an Open Door” there are a couple comedic moments when either Hans has his head buried in Anna’s chest or Anna’s head is just inches away from his private parts.
Also, in Act Two, “Hygee” features the Oaken and his “naked” family at the sauna. The scene is played for laughs and yet I distinctly heard several children near me asking their parents (loudly) if the cast were naked. Some audience members were heard to say it was too “risque” for their young ones. And personally I didn’t believe the number did anything to enhance or move the show forward and wish they had cut “Hygee” instead of Anna’s 2nd act number, “True Love“.
Officially, Disney says that FROZEN is recommended for guests age 6 and up.
Get Your Tickets to FROZEN at SEGERSTROM CENTER FOR THE ARTS
What are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on your chance to see FROZEN THE MUSICAL in Orange County during its limited run (through February 19, 2023).
Get tickets at Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ official website. Tickets start as low as $29 per person.
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