INDIANAPOLIS — When a princess’s heart grows distant, her subjects try to thaw her cold facade.
By now, most young girls and their parents know that the task is solved in Disney’s classic “Frozen”. But what really warms the heart, on stage and in the audience, is the magical relationship between Princess Elsa and her younger sister Anna.
First a movie in 2013 (yes, it’s been 10 years) and now a touring Broadway musical, “Frozen” is a childlike study of social identity, familial ties and finding one’s voice. Just don’t tell your child that the musical has some clever, inspiring moments. Just let them enjoy “Let It Go” and one day realize how important families and communities are.
The production is on a 10-day run through November 26 at the Old National Center in Indianapolis. Since its premiere in Los Angeles in 2019, the North American tour of “Frozen” has played about 1,000 performances in 44 cities. The Indianapolis engagement marks the tour’s 45th city and 2 millionth. guest, a milestone noted by the cast at the end of the show on Thursday.
The first act introduces Elsa demonstrating magical powers as a child by creating snow – one of many brilliant special effects throughout the show. She has difficulty controlling her powers and turns her Arendelle kingdom into an endless winter.
Elsa perhaps expresses the deepest character feelings and changes. In “Dangerous to Dream”, she learns that as a princess she must abide by the rules of rule: “I guess a queen can change the rules, but not the reason they’re in place.” As Elsa, actress Caroline Bowman is a perfect choice with a voice that radiates emotion.
Elsa shuts her sister out of her life and goes to North Mountain. Although audiences may not want her to admit acceptance of an overwhelmingly cold attitude in “Let It Go,” Bowman delivers a powerful rendition accompanied by dazzling special effects.
I went to the show with my two grandsons aged 10 and 5. The eldest was taken by the play and to a lesser extent the family message as she has two brothers to contend with. The younger granddaughter laughed out loud at Lauren Nicole Chapman’s physical antics as Anna and Preston Perez as love interest Hans. Chapman is also a great choice with her natural spunk and comedic moves.
The lighting is fantastic. It’s captivating to see Arendelle Castle, with its comforting green and pink walls, become a dangerous icy wasteland.
Calculated spots of humor fit between Elsa’s gloomy reflections. It is worth noting that Jeremy Davis brings the snowman Olaf, a puppet, to life with a voice full of wonder.
He’s funny as hell as Olaf dreams of summer despite the impact that warm weather will have on his existence.
The first act is visually and emotionally alive. The second act slows down with a diversion to a trading post and some sort of hidden people in a colony (my 10 year old told me I had to watch the movie to find out).
In the end, “Frozen” learns that acts of love can thaw cold hearts. And it’s a message that never disappoints.