Frozen: A Warm Hug from BroadwayApr 21, 2023 03:44PM ● By Alicia Hollins
It may be April in Omaha, but it still feels like we could build a snowman out there. However, after seeing Frozen at the Orpheum Thursday night, I felt like I’d been defrosted with a warm hug from Olaf.
Actress Norah Nunes, who plays Anna as a child in Act One, convinced
me from her first few mischievous minutes on stage that this show would be
extra special, drawing in the crowd immediately. When a show starts with that
much enthusiasm and humor, that feeling radiates throughout the theater. Then,
sprinkle in a little Disney fairy dust and the 2-hour, 12-minute production
(plus a 20-minute intermission) flew by as fast as summer.
There’s grand theater lore about how epic Disney sets are, and the stories definitely hold true. How did a glove magically float across the stage? We'll never know. The icy-cold desolation of the castle during Elsa’s exile is expertly conveyed though phenomenal stage lighting and backdrops. Disney used all the theater tricks for this production. With costuming that transforms characters into animals (reminiscent of Lion King) and expert puppetry (a la Avenue Q), the audience is transported to the kingdom of Arendelle. The costumes sometimes play key roles in the visual trickery, as in one scene where people actually look like frozen rocks. Some of the tricks are done in full sight. At one point, Anna, played by Lauren Nicole Chapman, sings and dances while doing a complex costume change on stage. It was an incredible feat which the actress made look effortless.
“Conceal, don’t feel” was not an option as Act One closed with an emotional rendition of “Let It Go.” Even if you’ve heard it a million times, seeing the song performed in person is like hearing it for the first time. Caroline Bowman singing as Elsa is breathtaking! The outstanding set shimmers and, of course, there’s jaw-dropping magic that will leave you awestruck.
If you think because you saw the film you don’t need to see the live performance, think
again. There are some minor variations that only a 5-year-girl in 2013 who saw
the movie on a loop would be able to spot, so it feels very familiar, but not
stale. All the best songs from the movie are performed. Four new songs have
been added to adapt the story to stage. The costumes follow the Nordic vibe of
the movie. Kristoff, played by Dominic Dorse, is humorous and always helping
his reindeer, Sven (played by Dan Pleural), who sometimes appears a bit
mechanical but regardless, keeps the audience entranced. If I had the chance, I
would see every Omaha performance of Frozen. I can’t let it go.
It was a captivating, fun night of theater that I will not forget.
Disney’s Frozen runs April 19-30 at the Orpheum Theater. Tickets are available at https://ticketomaha.com/Productions/frozen