The Transition of ‘Frozen’ from a movie to a Broadway Musical
It’s been 5 years down the line, and Disney’s Frozen still clinches the top spot as the highest-grossing animated movie at over $ 1.2 billion in revenue. It’s therefore not a surprise that it was adapted into a Broadway show. But as the composers (Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez), and their stars Caissie Levy (Elsa) and Patti Murin (Anna) assert, the transition from a movie to a theatrical performance was not as smooth as many might assume.
To adapt Frozen onto the stage, Jeniffer Lee (writer) and the Oscar-winning Lopez couple (music and lyrics) had to add up to 12 new songs and fleshed out additional content that delves into the backstories of the characters. And as Murin, Levy, Robert Lopez, and Anderson-Lopez describe their experiences on the “Billboard on Broadway Podcast” hosted by Rebecca Milzoff, Frozen-to-Broadway was surprisingly complicated.
The leading ladies, Murin and Levy mainly talk about the challenges they faced in taking on the roles of beloved characters made famous/memorable by the voices of other characters and animated figures. Levy explains how it’s both exciting and tricky to play the whole person when she says, “As actors, you have to be able to replace in a role and you have to be able to create one, and what Patti and I do in this show is somewhere in between.” Similarly, Murin talks about how they have to embody and give the general nature, voices, and iconic characters human bodies and personalities.
According to Robert Lopez (won a Oscar along with his wife for their song “Remember Me” in Pixar’s Coco and an Academy Award for “Let It Go” from the Broadway show’s source movie), the music in the theatrical performance tells the whole story whereas there are other arts in the movie that bear the storytelling. He vividly explains how “…it’s almost like making the songwriter’s cut of Frozen…”
Robert’s sentiments are reiterated by his wife, Anderson-Lopez, who claims that songwriting for both the musical and the movie uses the same muscles but a different structure and overall vision. Throughout the discussion, these four artists go on explain intriguing details such as why songs by the Lopez couple are so iconic, how Levy pulls off singing the hit song “Let It Go” 8 times a week and the sophisticated approach of the musical. It seemed as if ‘the cold never bothered them anyway.’