The live musical adaptation of Disney animated hit “Frozen” is said to be eyeing Tony Award-winning director Michael Grandage (“Red”) and his frequent collaborator, designer Christopher Oram, to take the reins of the Broadway-bound production.
Disney Theatrical Prods. declined to comment, but sources close to the show confirm that Grandage and Oram, best known on Broadway for starry, awards-magnet plays like “Red,” “Frost/Nixon” and “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” are the top candidates to take over the production to which Alex Timbers (“Here Lies Love,” “Rocky”) had previously been attached to direct until he and Disney parted ways on the project.
The addition of Oram to the team would signal the exit of designer Bob Crowley (“An American in Paris”), who has frequently worked with Disney (“Mary Poppins,” “Tarzan”) but will apparently no longer be involved in “Frozen.” Christopher Gattelli remains on board to choreograph.
Grandage and Oram’s work in musicals hasn’t been seen much on Broadway, except for the revival of “Evita” that starred Ricky Martin. (That production had a run of big-money weeks at the box office, but in the end didn’t recoup.) In London, where Grandage was head of the Donmar Warehouse before he launched his own production company, he staged a well-received revival of “Guys and Dolls,” starring Ewan McGregor and Jane Krakowski, as well as productions of “Grand Hotel” and “Merrily We Roll Along.” All three productions won Olivier Awards.
On screen, Grandage is due to direct an upcoming 20th Century Fox remake of “Guys and Dolls.” “Genius,” a film he directed from a screenplay by “Red” playwright John Logan, opened earlier this year with a cast that included Nicole Kidman, Jude Law and Colin Firth.
Given the success of the animated film, “Frozen” is widely considered to be the next potential “Lion King” for Disney, which has raked in more than $6 billion with the success of that Broadway production and its iterations all over the world. While the switch-up in creative teams for “Frozen” indicates some upheaval, such changes aren’t uncommon along Broadway; it happened on Disney’s “Aida,” for instance, and this season’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” will arrive on Broadway with Jack O’Brien stepping in for Sam Mendes, who directed the show in London.
“Frozen” was originally set to bow in an out-of-town tryout in Denver in summer 2017, ahead of a spring 2018 opening on Broadway. (The show’s New York home hasn’t been officially confirmed, but the industry expects it to move into the newly remodeled St. James.) Whether that initial timeline remains intact isn’t yet clear.