Frozen the musical: The new London production thats bigger and better than Broadway

Frozen: West End musical trailer from Disney

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Three years after Frozen exploded onto the Broadway stage, British fans are finally getting their chance to visit the magical kingdom of Arendelle. There has been a Theatre Royal on the same site since 1663 but it’s doubtful the various resident theatre ghosts (four at the last count) have seen anything quite as spectacular as this latest musical. New productions of the Disney blockbuster are opening in Japan, Germany and Australia this year, but the show’s own songwriters promise the London version is “the new flagship of the Frozen franchise.”

By now, anyone with a child or within six degrees of separation from one (basically anyone on the planet) will be all too familiar with the anthemic Oscar-winning earworm Let It Go, closely followed by Do You want To Build A Snowman and For The First Time In Forever. The composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez wrote a batch of new material for the 2018 Broadway launch, and have added a very special new song for London.

An excited Kristen said: “This is an even better version, a better physical production than Broadway even. It’s the new flagship of the Frozen franchise… It looks like they’ took what we learned from Broadway and just plussed it.”

Director Michael Grandage added: “It’s not a blueprint of what we did in America. There’s a new ice palace, for God’s sake!” One of the spectacular new set-pieces created by Production Designer Christopher Oram is a huge staircase and ice-encrusted bridge while wide-eyed girls (and boys) from six to sixty will be dazzled by the bedazzled costumes and sets throughout.

Behind the scenes of Frozen the musical

London’s new ice queen is Les Miserables star Samantha Barks, who has to sing that epic song at the moment of Elsa’s great transformation. It’s an immense vocal number that takes place during a breathtaking transformation of the entire stage and her own costume.

She said of the nightly challenge: “It’s the most thrilling part of the show for me. Things have to go right, but it results in absolute magic.”

The 30-year old is paired with Stephanie McKeon as on-stage royal sibling Anna and declared that when they met, “It felt like we’d known each other our whole lives.”

The London production features the new song, I Can’t Lose You, not originally featured in the Broadway production. While Anna and Elsa already sang together on For The First Time In Forever, for the first time, ahem, the sisters now have a proper duet just for themselves.

Samantha said: “It allows you to delve deeper into their relationship showing how their love manifests differently from each other in a way that’s really powerful.”

The Disney cartoon hit such a strong chord with young children and their families because it is rooted in the deep, unbreakable love between the sisters, something the London production will explore even more.

Stephanie said: “What makes Frozen so interesting is that its love story is not necessarily a romantic one. It’s about the golden bond between two sisters who are very different, and the way they are prepared to fight for it.”

Alongside the human drama, Ashley Birchall and Mikayla bring Sven the reindeer to life, while Craig Gallivan romps away with the best lines as Olaf the Snowman, in between foolishly dreaming of tropical beaches.

Craig admits he is living his own dream every night: “It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen on stage before. The sets are absolutely epic, the magic is breathtaking, and the songs sound better than ever!”

Diehard fans of the cartoon will be in heaven as everything they know and love is recreated before their eyes, but the show also delights in surprising audiences, nowhere more than in the bonkers Act 2 opening number Hygge, set in a Scandi sauna.

Urban hipsters will know that the Scandinavian word hygge means “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”

Audiences should prepare to be hygged like they’ve never been hugged before when Frozen officially opens tomorrow.


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