Kids may be Finding Dory, blissing out in Zootopia, and uncovering The Secret Life of Pets this year, but Frozen retains its icy grip as the top grossing animated film of all time. It's no wonder then that Disney, the king of synergy (especially when it concerns its princesses), opened two new attractions based on the regal entourage from Arendelle at its theme parks this past summer.
"Frozen – Live at the Hyperion," debuted in late May at Disney California Adventure (the park that is adjacent to Disneyland). The stage musical replaces a presentation of Aladdin that had been running at the 2,000-seat Hyperion Theater since 2003. The show's creative and production team includes members who worked on the park's Aladdin musical as well as Tony award-winning vets. The ambitious new show follows the Broadway-caliber formula established by its critically acclaimed predecessor.
And by ambitious, I mean the 65-minute "Frozen" production includes a cast and crew in excess of 200, elaborately staged scenes, and some engaging special effects. Befitting its movie roots, the show incorporates imagery that merges filmed sequences with the live performances. It also introduces charming interpretations of Sven the reindeer and scene-stealer Olaf the snowman crafted by Michael Curry. The pioneering puppet designer helped develop similar live theater characters for the Broadway adaptation of “The Lion King.”
The story is basically a condensed version of the film and is anchored by musical numbers including "For the First Time in Forever," "Love Is an Open Door," and, of course, the ubiquitous "Let It Go." That showstopper includes pixie dust flourishes such as Queen Elsa ascending a grand staircase enhanced by projection-mapped snow crystals.