“Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” is a new musical based on Disney’s animated blockbuster film “Frozen.” It opened May 27 at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort.
This new theatrical interpretation for the stage will immerse audiences in the beloved world of Frozen and take them on the heartwarming journey of Anna and Elsa, with all of the excitement of live theater. Under the direction of Tony Award nominated Director Liesl Tommy, the show features elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects, and show-stopping production numbers.
An exceptionally large production for a theme park, the show features an opening cast and crew of more than 200, six full musical numbers and a 2,200 square foot video wall which combine for an unforgettable theatrical experience.
As would be expected from Disney’s theme park productions, new technologies – especially with projections, fabrics and special effects — will delight audiences in new and unexpected ways. Guests are immersed in the world of Frozen from the moment they enter the theater and are surrounded by a specially lit curtains.
As the musical unfolds, the scenic design and large moving set pieces create a cinema-style energy enhanced by state-of-the-art projections that create dynamic environments for the performers. Custom sound design envelops the audience in music and audio effects. And, of course, there will be snow throughout the interior of the theater – on stage and over the audience.
“While our production of ‘Frozen’ stays true to the heart and soul of the film, we have adapted it for the stage so it’s truly a musical theater production that befits our beautiful Hyperion Theater,” said Dana Harrel, creative entertainment executive with Walt Disney Imagineering. “The goal of this creative team is to take all audiences – including those who know the film, and those new to these characters – on this exciting and touching adventure with Anna and Elsa.
“We know that for many in the audience — adults and children alike – this production will be a first or rare theater-going experience, and we want to make it as magical as possible,” said Harrel.
The new adaptation features music and lyrics by the creators of the film score, Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“In Transit,” “Up Here”) and Robert Lopez (“Avenue Q,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Up Here”), and is adapted from the screenplay by four-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (“Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” at Hyperion Theater; Broadway: “Gotta Dance,” “Aladdin,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Elf”).
“Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” is directed by Tommy, who was recently nominated for a Tony Award®for her Broadway show “Eclipsed.” The choreographer is Christopher Windom and this is his seventh collaboration with Tommy. The musical supervisor/arranger/adaptor is Jason Michael Webb, whose Broadway credits include “The Color Purple,” “Motown: The Musical,” “Violet,” and “Memphis.” Clint Ramos, the principal costume designer, was also nominated this year for a Tony Award® for his work on “Eclipsed.”
“I am approaching ‘Frozen’ as I would any new work – to search the story for what resonates most emotionally, which is the story of the relationship between Anna and Elsa, their coming of age and conquering their worst fears,” explains Director Tommy. “It’s what made the movie so intensely satisfying and fresh. 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.”
A great amount of creative energies have been employed to bring “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” to the stage. Harrel and Tommy have assembled a team of creative talent from both Broadway and Disney to create this production. The principal designers are Robert Brill (scenery), Charles Lapointe (wigs), David Weiner (lighting), Aaron Rhyne (projections) and Broken Chord (audio), and Ramos (costumes).
The challenge of bringing the animated non-human characters of Sven and Olaf to the stage was assigned to master puppet designer Michael Curry, who co-designed with director Julie Taymor the animal creations of “The Lion King” on Broadway, the magic mirror in “Snow White: An Enchanted Musical” at Fantasyland Theatre, and many other Disney parades, shows and projects, as well as projects for Cirque du Soleil and the Metropolitan Opera. Curry’s intricate designs created for Olaf and Sven allow the performers to connect with the characters and bring them to life on stage in new ways.
An entirely separate two-act Broadway production of “Frozen” is currently being prepared by Disney Theatrical Productions and is slated to join Disney Theatrical’s New York productions of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” for spring 2018 at a theater to be announced. It will have a pre-Broadway engagement starting in summer 2017 in Denver.
(photos courtesy Disneyland Resort – Scott Brinegar, Paul Hiffmeyer, Piotr A Redlinski photographers)