Sunday, May 29, 2016

'Frozen' Live Musical Debuts at Disney California Adventure!

Time to throw myself back into the blogging life. And why not start with one of the biggest pieces of recent Disney news?

Earlier this year, to many fans' protests, the Aladdin live musical at Disneyland had its last show, after a 13-year run at the Hyperion Theater in Disney California Adventure.

What was to replace it?

Frozen.

Which only added to fans' bitterness over the change.

All this hype and hesitation came to a climax when the Frozen live Broadway-esque show premiered just two days ago.

Reaction: mixed feelings.
Source

And despite two technical difficulties, the show proved to be a surprising success, due to its incredible effects, puppetry and color-blind casting.

Let's address each on its own.

Broadway-style Effects

This show, this story, needs lots of technical effects. For one, Elsa has ice powers. To make this work onstage, special effects are needed. And of course, it's typical for Disney to pull a few tricks out of their sleeves to keep the audience interested.

And man, do the effects absolutely blow one away!

Let's start with the set. It's designed to easily transition into each scene, with a giant door at the back. Either the door is also a screen or high-tech projections are used. But it's truly amazing to watch in action (which you can find at the end of this post).

The set is made up of technical details as well as standard pieces. The floor rotates, and various doors either drop down or roll onstage. Elsa's ice bridge is a similar piece to Pride Rock in The Lion King on Broadway (a show that also influences the puppetry in Frozen).

Now onto some icy magic -- or rather, magical effects. I'm talking about Elsa's signature song, "Let it Go." Instagram user @bruinrogue captured the first bit of her song, giving us an idea of how Disney brought Elsa's magic to life (hint, hint: door.)



But the part that really takes your breath away is when Elsa discards her royal robes for her iconic blue dress.

A video posted by mary (@mousekears) on




It's all in the style of Cinderella on Broadway, an effect that always amazes me, despite (now) knowing how it works.



This should serve as enough to convince you that the show effects are spectacular, just what you'd expect from a Broadway-style show. There's plenty more, trust me. But we'll close with the moment Anna completely freezes -- an effect even I don't fully understand yet.

A video posted by mary (@mousekears) on


Humorous Puppetry

Almost all the characters in Frozen are human. Key word: almost.

To bring reindeer Sven and snowman Olaf to life, Disney opted for puppets, instead of the typical costume characters seen in other Frozen shows. Quite a refreshing change, honestly, because Olaf being the same size as Anna was a little overwhelming.

Again, Frozen looks to The Lion King for inspiration, by bringing Julie Taymor-styled puppets to the stage. Sven is performed by a partially-visible performer, whereas Olaf is completely visible. Just like Pumbaa and Timon, respectively.





This gives the puppets a whole new level. Not only are the performers portraying a character, but they're adding their own personalities as well. And the puppets are extremely animated.

Race Doesn't Matter

Perhaps the most acclaimed aspect of the Frozen musical is its color blind casting. One of Anna's friends is Cuban. One of Kristoff's is African-American. Fans wanted this in the animated film itself, so many are satisfied it happened in the live musical.

A photo posted by Kate C (@katecphotography) on


Apparently, Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular also did color blind casting, so the fact that Disney is honoring the previous show is a nice touch!

But color blind casting aside, the entire cast (and it rotates) is incredible. Bravo to the casting team and performers!

All Together

With all these factors combined, my final opinion on Frozen at the Hyperion is this: take me to Disneyland so I can see my guilty pleasure in person!

And finally. Here is the entire show, courtesy of SoCal Theme Parks 360.



What do you think of the show? Comment below!

See y'all real soon!

***UPDATE***

But even Disney isn't perfect. Live shows are always at risk of malfunctions, forgotten lines and technical mistakes.

Twitter user Jesse Rhian shared this video of Elsa's dress malfunction not quite happening as planned. It does eventually work, but spoilers on how the effect is created are shown. Even so, the effect is altogether amazing.



2 comments:

Thanks for commenting!
I try to respond to every comment, so check back to see my reply. Let's start a conversation!
Thanks again for making my day. <3