“Apparently Disney didn’t realize they have a concert hall named after them so we’re here at this Bar Mitzvah venue,” joked Josh Gad as he kicked off an evening in which the cast of Disney’s Oscar-nominated “Frozen” performed songs from the animated hit live inside Bel Air’s’ Vibrato Grill on Sunday night.
The tribute to the songs and score from the film, which has passed the $900 million mark at the global box office, included Gad performing “In Summer,” while Menzel ended the evening with the Oscar-nominated “Let It Go.”
Timed during the Oscar voting period, event was a rare opportunity to see a film’s cast perform songs from a production that not only came out in November, but doesn’t have its cast sing the songs on a regular basis. While there are Broadway plans for “Frozen,” it isn’t there yet.
Menzel did ask to restart “Let It Go” after saying snow instead of cold. “A lot of girls say ‘a cold never bothered me anyway.’ I’m not blaming the little girls…,” she joked.
Kristen Bell, in particular impressed the small gathering with her live performance of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” during which she also sang the younger versions of her character Anna from the film, sung by others on the film’s soundtrack.
Bell also performed duets of “Love Is an Open Door” and with co-star Santino Fontana, while Christophe Beck was given a portion of the evening to perform portions of the film’s score.
In introducing Bell, Gad said she was “already crowdfunding the sequel” to “Frozen,” referring to the way her upcoming “Veronica Mars” movie was financed.
Bell was elated on stage to have been able to work on “Frozen” and become a Disney princess, a dream of hers since she was five years old.
“Thank you for not casting Jonah Hill,” said Gad to Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios chief John Lasseter while hosting the evening, considered “a love letter” to everyone who worked on the film. Lasseter was also celebrating his 26th wedding anniversary Sunday night. He’s a man “who thinks every day is a luau,” Gad said.
With “Frozen” continuing to generate strong box office domestically and abroad, and through sing-along-versions which are generating repeat business, “our creative team has decided to repurpose all of the characters as Lego figures” said Gad on the weekend that “The Lego Movie” opened in the top spot this weekend and broke records for Warner Bros. in the animation genre.
Attending the event were “Frozen” co-directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, the film’s songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar president Ed Catmull, and thesps Darren Criss, Jane Lynch and Ariel Winter.
Fellow “Frozen” castmenber Jonathan Groff also was set to perform Sunday evening, but couldn’t attend due to an illness.
“Thank you for spending the night with us,” Gad said. “We’ll see you tomorrow.”