Here are seven questions I am bound to be asked after seeing “Frozen” on Friday night.
1. Is “Frozen” an EVENT?
Yes. It’s like “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Lion King.” It’s like Billy Fuccillo: huge. Depending on the age of children in your life (and the size of your wallet), bring ’em. We saw three-year-olds dressed as princesses. We occasionally heard three-year-olds. We also knew it was an event when we tried to park free where we always do in a nearby lot, now supervised by a man near a sign saying EVENT PARKING: $5. We had no cash, so we motored over to street parking by the library.
2. Is “Frozen” loud?
You bet! My husband says it seemed even louder in Act II, and I think he’s right.
3. Is “Frozen” wonderful to look at?
Fabulous. As my newspaper colleague Indiana Nash noted in a recent column, there are over 16 trucks hauling the set, the lighting, and the costumes all around the country after the opening of the run in Schenectady ends: precious cargo. The actors are sumptuously clothed; the ice twinkles; the enormous set pieces glide gracefully on and off stage. We have come a long way since the Greeks used three-sided periaktoi as scenery.
4. Is the story of “Frozen” interesting?
Kind of. It’s about sister love, romantic love, self-discovery. There’s a quest involved, which introduces us to new characters that generate some colorful and funny set pieces, like “Hygge,” which opens Act II, and “Fixer Upper.” They’re not real relevant to what’s going on, but they’re amusing and highly energetic, with “Fixer Upper” showing off Rob Ashford’s choreography. And, at the end, Queen Elsa (Caroline Bowman) asks, “Is everyone all right?” The answer is obvious: yes! The conniving Hans (Austin Colby) has been vanquished; ditto the intrigues of Weselton (Jeremy Morse, last seen at Proctors in a hysterical turn in “Waitress”); Elsa herself is free from the magic that has wreaked havoc on her relationship with her sister, Anna (Caroline Innerbichler); and Anna has found TRUE love with Kristoff (Mason Reeves). These changes all happen in about 15 minutes, with a lot of running around the stage. Very tidy denouement.
5. Is the music of “Frozen” good?
Metza metza. The show gets off to a speedy start with a seamless presentation of six short numbers that establish time, place, characters, and conflict: the book is by Jennifer Lee, and the music and lyrics are by Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez. “Let It Go” brings down the house, of course. “Love Is an Open Door” sparkles, and “In Summer” charms. And music director/conductor Faith Seetoo pumps up the pit band.
6. Is “Frozen” well performed?
No. It’s brilliantly performed. Read the bios of everyone, from star to ensemble member, and you can see how good they are to have risen to the top at casting calls. Michael Milkanin scores as silly Oaken; Evan Strand’s Sven is unimaginably sweet; F. Michael Haynie makes Olaf as endearing as he is in the movie; Arwen Monzon-Sanders and Jaiden Klein are two child performers that even W. C. Fields would have loved; the leads shine. And director Michael Grandage knows exactly what to do with this material.
7. Is “Frozen” better than “Hamlet”?