8 Things We Learned at the ‘Frozen’ Meet and Greet
How do you take an animated movie with a handful of songs and turn it into a full-blown Broadway smash hit? That’s what Disney has done with “Frozen,” which starts performances on Feb. 22, and on Tuesday, the cast and creative team met with the press at the Highline Hotel in New York City. We were there to get the inside scoop about the changes being made for Broadway, the unlikely inspiration for the show, and why two women are better than one.
1. Thomas Schumacher knew “Frozen” should be onstage before the movie came out.
The Disney Theatricals president and producer saw a rough cut of the animated film, and he immediately texted his colleagues in LA and asked when they could start working on the stage show. “It was so Broadway-worthy,” he said. “And that’s because of the obvious thing of this extraordinary story of these two sisters who come together and that dynamic, but it really was about this music. Because it was an animated film with an absolutely proper Broadway score.”
2. The musical has almost three times as many songs.
There are only seven and a half songs in the movie. Songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez claim “Reindeers Are Better Than People” is only half a song. The musical has about 20 songs, and the writers presented two new songs from the show: “Dangerous to Dream” and “What Do You Know About Love?” The first is Elsa’s inner monologue during her coronation, and the second is a duet for Anna and Kristoff.
3. The “Frozen” music videos are coming.
Every Friday starting Feb. 23, a music video of a new song will be released as part of Frozen Fridays. There will be four music videos in total of new songs from the show. In addition to the two songs the Lopezes performed, there will also be videos of “Monster” and “True Love,” second act solos for Elsa and Anna respectively.
5. Caissie Levy is a rock star.
For her second-act anthem “Monster,” Levy channelled her pop star side. “I keep calling it my Kelly Clarkson emo ballad,” she said. “It’s such a badass song.”
6. Patti Murin and Kristen Anderson-Lopez can’t talk about “True Love” without tearing up.
Anna’s second-act solo “True Love” comes when the princess is about to freeze to death. The song speaks to the loneliness and longing she feels, and Murin and Anderson-Lopez couldn’t look at each other when they were discussing the song. “If my heart has a song, it’s this one,” Anderson-Lopez said.
7. “Let It Go” needs to be character-driven.
Director Michael Grandage and Levy worked through the iconic ballad beat by beat. “We spent a lot of time with ‘Let It Go’ trying to be sure it was about the lyric and it was about Elsa’s story in that point in time and it doesn’t lift us out of that moment in the story into a rock concert moment or karaoke fest,” Levy said.
8. Michael Grandage looked to Shakespeare when directing the show.
The director was inspired by the Bard when he approached “Frozen.” “The real reason I was interested in Shakespeare as a parallel is he was the great populist writer. He’s become something associated with a bit more high brow these days, but he was the person who was able to get through to mass audiences and mass theater and that’s what I knew this piece had to do.”
9. Two women are better than one.
Anderson-Lopez said that the writing process for “Frozen” was great because she and book writer Jennifer Lee were in the room. (Lee co-wrote and co-directed the film.) “That’s when I learned the power of two women in the writers room,” Anderson-Lopez said. “Jennifer Lee and I were able to reinforce our own personal experiences in a way that when we’re the only female in the room we never could.”