Winter is coming, and just when you thought it was safe to go back in the snow . . . it is! Disney has another new “Frozen” show (the first recently opened in Disney California Adventure Park—the shows are not the same), and this time it floats.
“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” debuted this past Sunday aboard a Very Merrytime Cruise of the Disney Wonder, the freshly refurbished second ship in the Disney Cruise Line (refurbishments include new restaurants, additions to the kid spaces, and basically everything, down to the drawers in the staterooms). While I have never seen a stage show aboard a Disney Cruise Line ship that is anything less than awesome, “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” is next level stuff—like Broadway level stuff. [With the actual Broadway version of “Frozen” opening in 2018, one can’t help but wonder if the Wonder is a preview of sorts.]
The show is a mix of puppetry and passion, humor and heart, a telling true to the film and still fresh and unique. It has all of the songs and characters that we love from the movie, some breathtaking special effects, and innovate uses of technology.
Yes, I said puppets. While some of the characters portrayed through puppetry, created by Michael Curry who also designed those used in Disney’s Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “The Lion King,” are fairly obvious (Olaf, Sven), others were a surprise—namely those used to showcase the childhood montage of Anna and Elsa. The fact that said puppets were operated by the adult versions of the characters was a nice touch that aided in continuity while allowing the audience a glimpse into the future that we all know so well.
The technology added a depth (literally) to many of the scenes, and some cold wisps of magic throughout. The costumes were faithful to the film, even the wolves (which were incredible) kept their animated menace—to the point that younger children may find them as frightening as I did.
In adapting the animated feature into a stage production, Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Executive Kevin Eld curated a team of incredible creative talent, each with impressive Broadway credits and theatrical accolades: Tony Award-nominated director Sheryl Kaller (“Next Fall,” “Mothers and Sons”), Tony Award-winning costume designer Paloma Young (“Peter and the Starcatcher”), choreographer Josh Prince (“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”), scenic designer Jason Sherwood (“Paint Your Wagon”), and writer Sara Wordsworth (“In Transit”).
Of course, the popular music and lyrics by the creators of the “Frozen” 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 (“Gotta Dance,” “Aladdin,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Elf”).
Honestly, I don’t know if those credentials make me elated or gassy, but “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” is somewhere in that zone.
Should you and yours find yourselves aboard the Disney Wonder, do not miss the performance of “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular.” It is easily one of our family favorites, not just from the sailing, but among all Disney offerings, and that’s saying something.
We won’t let go of this memory for a very long time.
Photos: Disney Cruise Line/Matt Stroshane, photographer