Review: Tuacahn’s ‘Frozen – The Broadway Musical’

Promotional image for Tuacahn's production of "Frozen" in Ivins, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Tuacahn Center for the Arts, St. George News

REVIEW — It would be easy to be a bit cynical about Disney’s desire to capitalize (with a capital “C”) on their massively popular film franchise which began with “Frozen” in 2013. After all, from practically the moment the first installment became successful a stage musical (and a requisite film sequel) were planned.

Promotional image for Tuacahn’s production of “Frozen” in Ivins, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Tuacahn Center for the Arts, St. George News

But hold your frozen fractals for a moment: Disney Theatrical Productions, instead of creating a rushed, copycat cash-grab version of the film have put together a more complex story – while adding 13 songs hoping to offer something with increased depth within the expected spectacle.  In short, despite some flaws, Tuacahn’s version is at times quite stunning, moving, funny and altogether entertaining.

The stage musical should come with a parental warning, however: This is not your grandkids’ “Frozen” – the film that an entire generation knows from memory.

There are plot changes, character alterations and yes, those many new songs written by the phenomenally successful team of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. And though none of the new songs eclipse the genius of the film’s originals, one in particular offers a jolt of much-needed showstopping comedy.

The basics follow the film – in the Kingdom of Arendelle two young daughters of the royal family Anna and Elsa (for this performance the adorable and talented Bentley Nuila and Harper Griffith respectively) learn of Elsa’s magical but dangerous icy power.

Now grown, Queen Elsa, fearful of her uncontrollable gift flees, causing the kingdom to freeze and leaving Anna determined along with some new-found friends to find her sister and bring her home – restoring their relationship and saving the village from its frigid future.

Promotional image courtesy of Tuacahn Amphitheatre, St. George News

With so many songs, much of the show falls on the shoulders of the two adult leads who must not only carry the challenging arrangements but the well-defined personalities. Making her Tuacahn debut Daisy Wright (who we are proud to say is a St. George native) is delightfully spunky as Anna and holds her own with co-performer Cayleigh Capaldi who plays the stoic Elsa with a graceful strength and brings down the house with the Act 1 closer “Let It Go.”

Newer songs such as “Dangerous to Dream,” and “What Do You Know About Love,” are welcome additions to the famous originals like “For the First Time in Forever,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” and “Love is An Open Door,” which became classics the first time we heard them. Best of all is the addition of “Hygge” the hilarious number that opens Act 2 with its sauna -induced (and completely G-rated) sauciness that is an undeniable crowd-pleaser aided in no small part by the charm of big-voiced Randal Keith as Oaken.

While the technical spectacle Tuacahn can now consistently deliver doesn’t always add to the narrative, here the massive set pieces and LED images serve to create an impressive winter wonderland complete with enough blizzards that most assuredly blew the theater’s snow machine budget for decades to come.

Promotional image courtesy of Tuacahn Amphitheatre, St. George News

Expect to see snow falling in Anastasia (naturally) and in Jersey Boys (trickier) even if the script doesn’t require it! Props to the technical wizards led by the Scenic and Video Design team of Adam Koch and Steven Royal as well as the sonically reassuring prowess of the orchestra conducted by Christopher Babbage.

Since not all of the new songs add much to the story, the show seems unnecessarily long and certain animated characters from the film including Olaf and Sven (as full-sized puppets) don’t always transfer to the stage with the same punch, but there’s no doubt Tuacahn has a hit on their hands bringing some chilly fun to a predictably hot summer.

“Frozen” performs weekly through Oct. 17th with ticket prices ranging from $35 to $146. Children under 3 are not permitted. Contact or 435-652-3300 for tickets and information.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.

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