Frozen opens on Broadway, revealing more nudity than expected

For some 200 people outside of St James Theater in New York, freezing has never been so desirable. They were waiting, of course, for the initial preview of the musical Frozen, the newest Broadway installment from Disney Theatrical Productions.

Frozen is the highest-grossing animated film of all time, earning over $1.2 billion dollars worldwide since being released in 2013. The movie is a loose adaptation of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. Taking place in a wonderful, picturesque land of Arandelle, it tells the story of Princess Anna and her older sister Elsa, who is a quirky blond icemaker. Frozen the Musical was adapted to stage with the help of original composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez as well as writer Jennifer Lee. Scenes have been altered to better work in live action and 12 new catchy tunes have been added to the production. The new ballad, Monster, sung by Elsa, was released on the same night as the preview, and many Frozen fanatics were happily singing along to another new song called Hygge.

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The cast of Frozen at the end of the first night on Broadway. Photograph: Disney Theatrical Productions

44th Street may have been ravaged by wind on this particular night, but that didn’t prevent fans from shopping for Frozen merchandise or enjoying themed cocktails like the Heart of Arendelle. Several women were dressed in festive Blue and White outfits, and one man even boasted about his Frozen themed socks. A slew of little girls dressed as Elsa and Anna anxiously awaited near the entrance in hopes that their heroes would come out for autographs.

Molly Sarfert, a 10-year-old girl dressed as Anna, said of the performance, “It was really, really good. There were some new songs, but there were really on it. She enjoyed the addition of the “hidden folk,” which was one adaptation of the stage to replace the film’s trolls. Her mother, Geri, countered with “You said they were creepy.”

The original production of the musical was no picnic, as it cycled through two directors, two designers, three choreographers, and a string of cast changes. Tryouts in Denver were reported to be unremarkable at first. However, with Michael Grandage now directing the musical and Christopher Oram billed as the designer, it seems it has found its groove and is ready to impress with its $30 million production price tag.

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As with any musical, Frozen could prove to be a disappointment like Disney’s Tarzan. But with Broadway veterans Caissie Levy and Patti Murin heading the bill as Anna and Elsa, hopes are high that Frozen will experience success more akin to the musical adaptations of The Lion King or Aladdin. The crew has their work cut out for them, however, as it opens up against Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is sure to garner plenty of attention and sell a large number of family tickets.

Musical fanatics, however, will have no problem buying Frozen tickets for this one-of-a-kind show. Dustin Overfield, a 34-year-old from Detroit, patiently waited on his wife as he procured a sizeable bag of Frozen souvenirs. The show, he explained, was a Valentine’s Day gift for his wife. He even managed to obtain a signed piece of sheet music from the original composers and pre-ordered the album of the show.

Adam Kaufman, 43 years old, came with his fiancée and a group of friends who described the performance as “amazing” and “totally magical.” Some of them even agreed that there was “a number that was a little risqué.” His friend Jenn Mante said of it, “There was more nudity than expected from Disney.”

Still, most people reviewed it favorably, giving special mention to the improvement of reindeer Sven and snowman Olaf over the movie.

In the end, the crowd continued to bear the cold in order to catch a glimpse of Frozen. As Olaf says, “Some people are worth melting for.” For these folks, they’ll gladly freeze for Frozen.

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