Theatre Thursdays: A Frozen Musical?

The World Premiere Of Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Frozen" - Red Carpet

Gentle readers, as you know by now, I like to keep you abreast of new happenings in the stage world, whether they involve Zach Braff, Tom Hiddleston, or Tupac. That’s what makes me so nice. I revel in the potential when a favorite actor or film or what have you crosses genres or even mediums to arrive on the stage. This is in part because I believe theatre to be a uniquely intimate medium, so when our favorite stars or stories make it to the stage, it lets us look at them in a different light. Take, for example, the hubbub when it was revealed that Daniel Radcliffe, naked no less, would be starring in a revival of Equus. Just the idea of getting closer to one your faves is rewarding, and that’s just as true for plots as people.

Bob Iger

Bob Iger

Having just seen Disney’s Frozen, I have plenty of feelings about it, but if you’re looking for feels then I will direct you to one of the other several posts about here on this website. I’m content just to let you know that if you’re a Frozen fan, there’s some happy news: Frozen is slated to appear on Broadway! Fresh off of a Golden Globe win, Disney Animation intends to capitalize on its success by bringing it to the stage. The intention, it seems, is to build a great franchise on Disney Animations’s “first bona fide smash hit in almost two decades” as indicated in Fortune’s article and interview with Robert Iger, CEO of Walt Disney.

215px-The_Lion_King_Musical.svgThis is an area in which Disney has had some prior success. Disney’s The Lion King musical debuted in 1997, grossed almost 900 million dollars, won a Tony Award, and is still running. While there are no guarantees in the theatre world, it does seem that Disney will be taking this project seriously. If you’re in a big hurry to see Frozen on stage in New York, you’re going to have to chill (sorry!). Bob Iger has indicated that there is no set time frame for the project because “We’re not demanding speed…We’re demanding excellence.” That’s music to my ears, considering the slapdash quality of some recent Broadway ports.

It seems we’re knee-deep in an era of Broadway ports, which is both good and bad. Like I said, I love to see those lines crossed, but as with everything, occasionally those plays are awful. Hopefully, our patience will be well-rewarded. We could get Idina Menzel, reprising her role as Elsa, which means that while sitting in comfy New York seats we could be treated to this, which was couture-designed for her voice:

Norm Lewis as King Triton

Norm Lewis as King Triton

Honestly, we should be so lucky. There’s a lot that could go wrong between here and there, but I’m daring to hope that some boundaries will be pressed as well. Having been hailed as the “most progressive Disney film to date” for its take on gender roles, marriage, and common sense, Frozen: The Musical (and its inevitable sequel Frozen: The Musical 2: The Frozening featuring Frozone and Mr. Freeze) could make exciting casting choices in terms of the race of actors. While some might say that “the characters in the movie were white, why change that in the play,” who cares what they think? It’s been done already to rave reviews with Norm Lewis, who was the debut actor in the role of King Triton in the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid. For the record, he also played Javert in Les Misérables, but that’s besides the point. In an American playwriting scene where most authors are white, writing stories about white people for white actors, it’s about acknowledging the talent of the thousands of actors and actresses that aren’t white.

But that’s just what I think. In any case, keep your eyes open for more updates on Frozen: The Musical. If you’re bored in the meantime, why not amuse yourself gushing over James Franco, who’s going to star in Of Mice & Men?