More songs, deeper characters make Frozen musical different from the film
Disney’s Frozen The Hit Broadway Musical is not going to just be about Let It Go, the iconic Oscar-winning song from the 2013 animated movie Frozen.
Apart from featuring the seven familiar favourites from the original film it is based on, the stage musical will also boast 12 new tunes written just for the Broadway show, which flesh out the characters.
Australian cast members Jemma Rix and Matt Lee, as well as its resident director Benjamin Osborne, were in town for its regional media launch on Tuesday at the Avenue Singapore lounge at Marina Bay Sands, and spoke about what audiences can look forward to when the production opens in Singapore in February.
One new number is Monster, sung by Princess Elsa (Rix) – who has the magical ability to create and manipulate ice and snow – in the musical’s second act, and explores how she is going to save her kingdom of Arendelle. Actress Rix, 37, belted it out for the media with gusto and vulnerability.
The song, she said, is about Elsa coming to terms with how she has accidentally frozen Arendelle, but also questioning if she is a monster and what she should do.
“Although it is quite heavy, it is also deep and reflective, and shows that Elsa is a good person deep down.”
There is also I Can’t Lose You, a duet between Elsa and her sister Anna which expounds on why Elsa has to hide away and why the siblings cannot be together.
It is numbers like these that differentiate the musical from the film, said Rix.
“Everybody can feel what Elsa has felt before – feeling excluded and unsure of who they are in the world. I think she inspires people by embracing who she is and her full power, with love and light,” she added.
Osborne, 46, said that the additional music has created more backstories for the characters, such as the male love interests Kristoff and Prince Hans, and complements what was written for the film.
Actor Matt Lee, 41, who has 25 years of experience on stage and screen, said he had originally auditioned for the role of Prince Hans, but the team felt he was not mean enough, and asked him to give Olaf a try instead.
When he got the part of the sentient snowman known for providing comic relief, he recalled being excited, but also nervous because the character is a fan favourite.
He said: “I am now much happier with where I am. With Olaf, the glass is always half-full and playing him is so much fun.”
Olaf is presented as a puppet with eyes that blink, eyebrows, a mouth, as well as moveable arms. Although Lee controls the puppet, he must also tell the story through his facial expressions, which can be seen during the performance.
Rix has come to identify with Elsa’s reserved and reflective side.
“I never thought I would play a Disney princess, who have tended to be small and petite, with button-like features,” she said. “I am strong and tall, with strong features. But my voice style matches Elsa’s, and I feel personally connected to Elsa’s story.”
She is also glad to be playing the same character as her idol, American actress-singer Idina Menzel, who voiced Elsa in the movie. Rix also played Elphaba in the musical Wicked when it was staged in Singapore from 2011 to 2012 – a character Menzel famously portrayed.
Rix is careful not to channel Menzel when acting as Elsa.
“Everyone is doing the same job, but we are doing it differently. We should not be doing a carbon copy, or the magic of who you are is lost. Everyone is unique, and creativity and uniqueness should be embraced.”
And she is happy to be back in Singapore after more than 10 years.
“Being here really warms my heart. It just feels magical to be here again, because I had such a wonderful time the last time.”
Book it: Disney’s Frozen The Hit Broadway Musical
Where: Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue
When: Feb 5 to March 5. Tuesdays to Fridays, 8pm; Saturdays, 2 and 8pm; Sundays 1 and 6.30pm
Admission: $88 to $268 via Marina Bay Sands (str.sg/wrKM) and Sistic (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)
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