Broadway in Chicago Presents FROZEN Review — A Magic-filled Production

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It’s the bottom of the first act, and Elsa (Caroline Bowman) is singing her famous crowd stopper, Let it Go. Kids throughout the theater are lightly singing along with Bowman’s powerhouse belt.  As Bowman sings, we see magic swirl around her. Her ice powers manifest themselves through projections that sparkle. Her glove flies off in one direction, and her cloak flies off in another. As Elsa gains confidence and the song swells, we see a projection of an ice castle start to build behind her. Just when you might think that the magic cannot possibly grow any further in design, the screen raises, and reveals the projected castle brought to life.

Broadway in Chicago FROZEN

Many know how Disney’s Frozen took the box office by storm, and it’s clear sitting in the theater that audience members of all ages are excited to see the piece come to life.  If you are a Disney fan, this musical was made for you. However, even if Frozen wasn’t as life changing for you as it was for other members of this particular performance, the special effects that bring Elsa’s magic to life – projections, set, and lights—are reason enough for that ticket, in this reviewer’s opinion.

Broadway in Chicago FROZEN

Broadway in Chicago Presents Disney’s FROZEN

The Tony nominated musical adaptation of the hit movie follows Elsa (Caroline Bowman) as she navigates hiding her magical ice powers in the midst of her coronation. When things go awry and her magic is revealed, she runs off into the mountains in order to keep everyone safe – or so she thinks. With Arendelle suddenly under snow and the threat of permanent winter, her younger sister Anna (Caroline Innerbichler) sets out to find Elsa and save their kingdom. Also in this musical are other favorite characters from the film: Kristoff (Mason Reeves), Olaf (F. Michael Haynie), Hans (Austin Colby), and of course, Sven (a combination of puppetry and acrobatic talents portrayed by Evan Strand and Colin Baja).

With music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the score features favorites from the original film including For the First Time in Forever, Love is an Open Door, and Let it Go. However, this expanded score also includes new pieces that might just stick with you too for days including Dangerous to Dream, Kristoff Lullaby, and Colder by the Minute.

 

Broadway in Chicago FROZEN

Full of Celebration and Joy

Frozen is full of joy, and the eye-popping scenic design touches elicit uproars of laughter and applause. For example, In Summer, Olaf’s big solo, features Haynie’s talents in puppetry. The song offers a window into Olaf’s big dream to experience the warmth of summer – ignorant to the fact that this season could lead to his demise. He is surrounded in this moment by piles of snow and ice; however, as Haynie starts to sing, we see the set pieces transform to reveal his fantasies of umbrellas, sandy beaches, and sun. The sparkly blue backdrop switches to a warm orange, and birds start to fly through the space.

Standout performances and jaw-dropping special effects full of magic and flare make Disney’s Frozen a night to remember.  This is especially a top pick for those who first experienced this story as the original Disney film.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Broadway in Chicago FROZEN
Broadway in Chicago FROZEN
Broadway in Chicago FROZEN
Broadway in Chicago FROZEN
Broadway in Chicago FROZEN
Broadway in Chicago FROZEN
Broadway in Chicago FROZEN
Broadway in Chicago FROZEN

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Cast:

Caroline Bowman as “Elsa” and Caroline Innerbichler as “Anna,” Austin Colby as “Hans,” F. Michael Haynie as “Olaf,” Mason Reeves as “Kristoff,” Jeremy Morse as “Weselton,” Collin Baja and Evan Strand alternating as “Sven,” as well as Natalia Artigas (“Young Elsa”), Olivia Jones (“Young Anna”), Arwen Monzon-Sanders (“Young Elsa”) and real-life sisters Natalie Grace Chan (“Young Elsa”) and Victoria Hope Chan (“Young Anna”), Caelan Creaser, Jeremy Davis, Kristen Smith Davis, Colby Dezelick, Michael Everett, Berklea Going, Michael Allan Haggerty, Tyler Jimenez, Hannah Jewel Kohn, Marina Kondo, Dustin Layton, Nika Lindsay, Tatyana Lubov, Adrianna Rose Lyons, Michael Milkanin, Kyle Lamar Mitchell, Tony Neidenbach, Jessie Peltier, Naomi Rodgers, Brian Steven Shaw, Daniel Switzer, Zach Trimmer, Brit West, and Natalie Wisdom.

Production team:

Scenic and costume design by two-time Tony and Olivier Award winner Christopher Oram, lighting design by six-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz, sound design by seven-time Tony nominee Peter Hylenski, video design by Tony winner Finn Ross, puppet design by Michael Curry, hair design by David Brian Brown, makeup design by Anne Ford-Coates, special effects design by Jeremy Chernick and casting by The Telsey Office/Rachel Hoffman, CSA and Laura Wade, CSA. Two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Oremus is music supervisor and creates vocal, incidental and dance arrangements. He is joined on the music team by Tony nominee Dave Metzger (orchestrations), Chris Montan (executive music producer), David Chase (additional dance arrangements), and Faith Seetoo (music director).

WHEN:

Running through January 22, 2022
Tuesdays at 7:30pm
Wednesdays at 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 7:30pm
Saturdays at 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sundays at 1:00pm and 6:30pm

WHERE:

The Cadillac Palace Theatre
151 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601

TICKETS:

$33+

For tickets and information, see the Frozen’s page on the Broadway in Chicago website.

Photos by Deenvan Meer

Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago.

Lauren Katz

About the Author: Lauren Katz

Lauren Katz is a freelance director and dramaturge, and new to the Chicago Theatre Scene. She recently moved from Washington DC, where she worked with Mosaic Theater Company of DC in Company Management, as well as directed around town with various theaters.

Click here to read more Picture this Post stories by Lauren Katz.

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