Review of Disney’s Frozen at the Fox Theatre

    The North American Tour of Disney’s Frozen has brought a dazzling show to the Fox Theatre. The musical tells a moving, well-crafted story based on the 2013 animated film of the same name. The production features excellent performances, designs, and special effects.

    The musical’s book is by Jennifer Lee, who adapted her own screenplay. The music and lyric are by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who expanded their score for the film with around a dozen new songs.

    The main characters are sisters: Elsa and Anna, who are both princesses. Elsa, the older sister, has magical powers over ice and snow, but she does not have complete control over her abilities. The sisters are the closest of companions until Elsa’s magic severely injures Anna when they are playing together.

    The mystical Hidden Folk who heal Anna also make her forget about her sister’s powers. Afterwards, the sisters are kept apart for Anna’s safety. Because of her lost memory, Ann has no idea why her beloved sister’s company has been denied to her. Ultimately, it is the healing power of love that re-establishes the sisters’ closeness and brings Frozen to a happy conclusion.

    The final bows in the touring production’s curtain call are the most evenhanded I can remember for a show with two leading characters. Rightly so. The roles of Elsa and Anna are equally important, and the performances of Caroline Bowman as Elsa and Lauren Nicole Chapman as Anna are equally brilliant.

    Bowman captures the turbulence Elsa’s magic brings to her mind and summons enormous power in the show’s anthem, “Let It Go.” Chapman’s gift for comedy produces one delightful scene after another.

    The supporting cast is topnotch. Will Savarese as slick and charming as Hans, the prince who steals Anna’s heart. In contrast, Dominic Dorset is decent and down-to-earth as Kristoff, the ice harvester who helps Anna in her search for the self- exiled Elsa.

    The two nonhuman characters, Olaf and Sven, are puppets designed by Michael Curry. Olaf is a snowman created by Anna and Elsa through Elsa’s magic. Olaf’s operator, Jeremy Davis, is always visible. The costume for Sven, Kristoff’s reindeer, completely covers the performer wearing it. Collin Baja, Sven’s operator on opening night, alternates in the part with Dan Plehal. Both puppets are great fun to watch.

    The younger versions of the princesses were admirably played on opening night by Aria Kane as Young Anna and Sydney Elise Russell as Young Elsa. The alternates for these parts are Saheli Khan as Young Anna and Mackenzie Mercer as Young Elsa.

    Under Michael Grandage’s inspired direction, the musical’s staging honors its origin with wonderful effects like those in the animated film. The contributors to marvelous spectacle include scenic and costume designer Christopher Oram, special effects designer Jeremy Chernick, video designer Finn Ross, lighting designer Natasha Katz, sound designer Peter Hylenski, hair designer David Brian Brown, and makeup designer Anne Ford-Coates.

    The musical numbers sparkle thanks the choreography by Rob Ashford, the music supervision and arrangements by Stephen Oremus, the music direction by Faith Seetoo, the touring orchestra supplemented by local musicians, and the entire cast.

    Disney’s Frozen continues through November 13 at the Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Boulevard.

    —Gerry Kowarsky

    Photo by Matthew Murphy
    Form left, Lauren Nicole Chapman as Anna and Dominic Dorset Kristoff in the North American Tour of
    Disney’s Frozen.