The weather was perfect for FROZEN, as New York City was finding itself for the third time in weeks, blanketed in snow as winter winds filled the March air.
In true Disney fashion the merchandising was on point… with themed drinks and ice blue glasses for the adults, and plush toys and dolls for the kids… staff wore winter coats and for a second, I could forget I was in a Broadway theater and think I was in a Disney store.
The show itself was spectacular. The classic songs were perfectly executed (Patty Murin and Caissee Levy are getting high praise from the critics for their Ana and Elsa) and the original songs become fast favorites. But before we meet the grown up princesses, we are given the gift of the young Anna and Elsa who are simply fantastic. There are two actresses for each, and on the day I visited it was Audrey Bennett’s turn to play Anna, and Brooklyn Nelson for Elsa. Bennett had wonderful timing and commanded the stage, the audience reaction to her roaming the castle halls was positive and laughter hit on point.
I was curious about the effects which would be used and I was pleased to see that the Disney magic was alive and well on the stage, creating ice and castles in perfect splendor. There was wonderful use of newer tech without the feeling of modernization in this period story.
There was a dark subtext, but nothing too scary, and some playful banter for the adults in the audience most of which went over the kids heads, although there were some gasps from the “tweens” near me at some of the less subtle risque innuendo.
I was pleased that Disney used race blind casting. This was anything but a Nordic cast… a tone set by Hamilton, and the audience seemed more than willing to accept the diverse company – all of whom played their roles brilliantly.