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Monday, April 28, 2014

The theater geek's guide to Disney's Frozen

The kids and I had a chance to see Disney’s new movie Frozen last week. I didn’t know much about it going in and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was a full-length musical full of moving songs and Broadway stars. There are so many positive aspects to this movie. It’s animation is absolutely stunning. The heroine is a strong female lead who is funny and relatable, and who relies on her own strength. The film focuses on the relationship between two sisters, and there is no witch or “evil” element that young children would find frightening. And the surprise ending provides such a powerful affirmation of love that it left me in tears. I think this movie will become a new favorite in our house, for kids and adults alike.
But all these wonderful qualities aside, I want to talk about the cast of Broadway heavy-hitters. I was truly blown away by the musical numbers . . . the score is amazing and the singing was incredible. First of all, Tony Award winner (and one of my favorite singers) Idina Menzel, is cast as Elsa. Idina is best known for her role as Elpheba in Wicked, but I’ve been a fan of hers since she played Maureen in RENT. (My favorite Idina musical, though, is The Wild Party.)

Kristen Bell plays the lead. I’ve always likes Kristen Bell . . . she’s always warm and hilarious in interviews, and who cannot love her affinity for sloths? But her Broadway chops somehow escaped me and I was blown away by her voice.  A little research led me to discover that she has been in several stage musicals, including Tom Sawyer. Who knew?

The hilarious melting snowman is played by Josh Gad from The Book of Mormon. (He got is broadway break playing the awkward geek in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.) Confession: upon seeing the preview for Frozen, I thought I might find this character annoying. I was totally wrong – Gad’s comic timing made this character steal the show.

The male leads are playing by Jonathan Groff from Spring Awakening (and Glee) and by Santino Fontana, who played the prince in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella.

If you enjoy musical theater, or you are just a fan of the magical music of Disney’s legacy of films, you are really going to enjoy the soundtrack to this show. It’s a musical must-see because of the amazing, but also because of the stellar animation and moving story. I definitely recommend it.

Disney’s Frozen opens 11/22. More information is available at the official site here, and I’ve uploaded some fun Frozen printables and coloring sheets over at Babble.

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