When Disney announced that it will mount a Broadway production of it’s mega-blockbuster animated feature “Frozen” many eyebrows were raised. At the time a large section of America was still bracing itself after enduring months of hearing “Let it Go” out of the mouths of practically everyone under the age of 13 on a near constant basis. (Don’t laugh, it was like the Zombie Frozen Apocalypse out there.) But now that the chorus of youngsters has dropped to a dull echo, there’s plenty of space for this show to move into.
The show will be work-shopped at the Buell Theatre in the Denver Center for the Performing arts August 17 – October 1 with single tickets going on sale May 1. The show plans to move to Broadway shortly after this tryout phase is over.
We have now learned who will be playing the main characters in the musical. While there are no ‘superstars’ of the stage or screen, there is a broad depth of experience involved. Caissie Levy will star as Elsa and Patti Murin will star as Anna in Disney’s new Broadway musical Frozen, opening at the St. James Theatre in spring 2018. Also joining the principal cast are Jelani Alladin as Kristoff, Greg Hildreth as Olaf, John Riddle as Hans and Robert Creighton as Duke of Weselton.
In the movie Elsa was voiced by Adela Dazeem, I’m sorry, I’m hearing her name is actually Idina Menzel. Menzel’s big Broadway breakout role was as Maureen in Rent and shortly there after as Elphaba in Wicked. So it’s no surprise that the Elsa cast for the Frozen musical has similar stage roots.
In fact, Levy has a little Elsa in her history already. Check out this video she performed for 54 Below in New York City last year blending “Let it Go” with the Beatles’ “Let it Be” to humorous effect.
At least we know our stage Elsa has the same chops as the movie’s Elsa.
The casting of the Broadway Musical also follows the color-blind casting of both the Disney California and Disney Cruise Line productions by placing Alladin in the role of Kristoff.
Additionally, Tony Award winning Rob Ashford has joined the creative team as Choreographer. Christopher Gattelli, previously announced as choreographer, has chosen to leave the show ahead of rehearsals in June.
Based on the 2013 film written by a trio of Oscar winners, Frozen features music and lyrics by the creators of the film score Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Up Here, Winnie the Pooh, In Transit) and EGOT-winner Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, Up Here) and a book by Jennifer Lee (Zootopia, Wreck-It Ralph), the film’s screenwriter and director (with Chris Buck).
Full cast bios below:
CAISSIE LEVY (Elsa). On Broadway, Ms. Levy created the roles of Fantine in the 2014 revival of Les Misérables, Molly in Ghost (also West End & cast album), and Sheila in the 2009 revival of Hair (also West End & cast album), and played Elphaba in Wicked (also Los Angeles) and Penny in Hairspray (also 1st national tour & Toronto). Off-Broadway, she starred as Julie Nixon and Patti Davis in First Daughter Suite (The Public Theater), Sara in Murder Ballad and Maureen in the national tour of Rent. She has played solo to sold-out audiences throughout the US, UK & Canada, was a guest soloist with The United States Military Academy at West Point, backed up Sir Rod Stewart in Las Vegas and most recently made her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Pops. Her debut solo album, With You, is available on iTunes.
PATTI MURIN (Anna). Broadway/national tour: Lysistrata Jones (Lysistrata), Wicked (Glinda), Xanadu (Euterpe). Off-Broadway: Love’s Labour’s Lost (Shakespeare in the Park); Fly By Night (Playwrights Horizons); Lady Be Good! (Encores!). Almost Broadway: Nerds (Sally). Can currently be seen as Dr. Nina Shore on NBC’s “Chicago Med.”
JELANI ALLADIN (Kristoff). Broadway debut. Off-Broadway: Sweetee (Signature Theatre – upcoming), Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope (York Theatre). Regional: I and You (TheatreSquared), Choir Boy (Studio Theatre DC, Marin Theatre Company), The History Boys (PalmBeach Dramaworks), Violet (Clarence Brown), Josephine (Asolo Rep – world premiere). Graduate of the NYU Tisch New Studio on Broadway.
GREG HILDRETH (Olaf). Broadway: Cinderella, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Peter and the Starcatcher. Off-Broadway: The Robber Bridegroom. TV: “The Good Wife” (recurring), “Royal Pains.” Film: Radium Girls, Wall Street II.
JOHN RIDDLE (Hans) was last seen on Broadway in Kander and Ebb’s The Visit starring Chita Rivera. His other stage credits include Tony in West Side Story (Casa Manana), Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid (St. Louis MUNY), Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees (PCLO), Evita (1st national tour), Little Dancer (Kennedy Center) and My Paris (Long Wharf). Other: The Secret Garden in concert at Lincoln Center, Cincinnati Pops. Last year, John debuted his solo show, Keep It Simple at Feinstein’s/54 Below. He can be heard on John Kander’s Hidden Treasures from Harbinger Records. CCM grad.
ROBERT CREIGHTON (Duke of Weselton). Recently conceived, co-authored and starred as James Cagney in Cagney Off-Broadway. Broadway credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Durdles), Anything Goes (Purser), Chicago (Amos), The Little Mermaid (Chef Louis), The Lion King (Timon) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. TV: “The Family,” “Elementary,” “Law & Order,” “Life on Mars.”
ROB ASHFORD (Choreographer) is a Tony Award, Olivier Award, Emmy Award®, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award-winning director/choreographer. Rob was most recently Kenneth Branagh’s associate on the film Murder on the Orient Express. Theatre credits on Broadway include Cat On A Hot Tin Roof; Evita (Tony Award nomination); How to Succeed (Tony Award nominations for direction and choreography); Promises, Promises (Tony Award nomination); Thoroughly Modern Millie (Tony Award Best Choreography); Shrek; John Water’s Cry Baby (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Fred Astaire Awards); Curtains (Tony Award nomination) and Wedding Singer (Tony Award nomination). Other credits include The Entertainer (Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company), Romeo and Juliet (Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company), The Winter’s Tale (Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company, Olivier nomination Best Director), Harlequinade (Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company), Macbeth (Park Avenue Armory, New York and Manchester International Festival), and at the Donmar Warehouse, the Olivier Award-winning productions of Anna Christie, A Streetcar Named Desire (Olivier nomination for Best Revival) and Parade (Olivier nominations for director and choreography). Directed and choreographed “Peter Pan Live!” and “The Sound of Music Live!” (NBC – DGA Award nominations for both). Directed The Barber of Seville and Carousel (Lyric Opera Chicago). He choreographed and staged the 2015 Academy Awards with Neil Patrick Harris, the 2014 Academy Awards with Ellen DeGeneres and the 2013 Academy Awards with Seth MacFarlane. For the Academy Awards 2009, won the Emmy Award for Best Choreography for his work on Baz Luhrmann’s production number featuring Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé. He has also choreographed the opening number for Neil Patrick Harris for 4 years and James Corden last year for The Tony Awards, and staged tributes at the Kennedy Center Honors for Barbra Streisand, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jerry Herman, Barbara Cook, Tom Hanks, Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep. Films include choreography for Beyond the Sea, Disney’s Cinderella, A Million Ways to Die in the West and Ted 2. Rob is an Artistic Associate for The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company and is a Trustee of The Joyce Theatre in New York City.