With the wild success — over $1 billion globally — of the Oscar-winning animated film “Frozen,” a stage production was inevitable. While a Broadway show is in the works, Disneyland California Adventure opens “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” to the public today.
The Hyperion has been home to “Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” for the last 13 years but now it will tell the story of sisters Anna and ice-wielding Elsa in the 70 minute show. Unlike “Aladdin,” the “Frozen” show will make Fastpasses available due to overwhelming demand.
The show previewed to an invited audience Thursday night, and despite a few technical sound glitches, the audience was cheering throughout the show, particularly during the Oscar-winning song “Let It Go.” Park goers even lined up outside the theater (which sported a blue carpet) to ask those emerging for every little detail.
Right before the show began, Dana Harrel, creative portfolio executive, Walt Disney Imagineering, and director Liesl Tommy gave a brief introduction. Tommy recalled how, when she was first approached about directing the show, her immediate reaction was to say no. Knowing she had big shoes to fill, she spoke of how classic the film is, noting, “The theatrical version of ‘Frozen’ that my designers and I are creating for the Hyperion builds on the film’s emotional intensity using beautiful performances, thrilling choreography and the most cutting-edge design elements.”
Indeed, the nearly 2,000-seat theater has been outfitted with projections that extend beyond the stage, actors using the entire ground floor and yes, snow effects that fall from the ceiling and rise from the ground. In addition, high-definition projectors create several landscapes in crisp, flawless quality. As for lovable characters like Olaf the Snowman and Sven the Reindeer? They’re realized as fantastic puppets by Michael Curry, who co-designed similar creatures for Broadway’s “The Lion King” with director Julie Taymor.
To say much more would spoil the delights in store for those attending, but suffice to say the music composed by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez is in place, including “Love Is An Open Door,” “Fixer Upper” and, of course, “Let It Go.” The music has been supervised/arranged/adapted by Jason Michael Webb.
The screenplay has been adapted by Chad Beguelin, who also adapted “Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” and the Broadway version of “Aladdin.” The colorful, eye-popping costumes, which bring the animated characters to life, are courtesy of Tony nominee Clint Ramos, and the always-moving scenery is courtesy of Robert Brill. Other designers include Charles Lapointe (wigs) David Weiner (lighting), Aaron Rhyne (projections) and Broken Chord (audio.)