A private reading of the stage musical version of the hit Disney film Frozen was held in Manhattan last week, according to the New York Post.
The reading featured Betsy Wolfe as the ice-loving princess Elsa; Patti Murin as Anna, the devoted sister; and Okieriete Onaodowan as Kristoff.
The out-of-town premiere of the musical will play Denver Center's Buell Theatre in August 2017. (Denver is also where Disney's stage adaptation of The Little Mermaid tested its legs in 2007 prior to its Broadway arrival.) The production will be directed by Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Peter and the Starcatcher) and choreographed by Tony winner Peter Darling (Billy Elliot) with costume design by Bob Crowley (An American in Paris, Mary Poppins). Casting for that production has yet to be announced.
The Post also reports that the musical will find its home at Broadway's St. James Theatre, which will undergo a multi-million-dollar renovation, in spring 2018.
Frozen is being produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher. It's the latest in a series of stage adaptations of Disney animated films that has included Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Tarzan, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.
Frozen songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez have written additional tunes for the score, including a new song entitled "True Love," according to the Post. The songwriters were in attendance at the April 25 Actors Fund gala, where they spoke to Playbill about development on the upcoming stage adaptation.
“The movie only has seven-and-a-half songs, and we’ve written about 23...As many songs that are in the movie, we've doubled it, and then there are reprises,” said Anderson-Lopez. “There’s a lot of new material – using some of the motifs that you already know from the movie – but going much deeper into all of the characters.”
Lopez added that during development, the focus will be on adapting iconic moments from the movie so that they have the same impact on the stage. “The story is still the same,” said Lopez. “We just needed to adapt the same story. We can’t really do huge, big action sequences on stage; you can’t really do close-ups on stage, so all of those moments that are so iconic from the film need to transform and become musical theatre moments onstage. That’s the focus of our work.”
“Every time Elsa has a giant close-up and you learn so much story through her eyes, it became a song,” added Anderson-Lopez.
“We have a very short time to develop this and make it what it is,” she continued. “It’s the first time we’ve ever written it at the same time that it’s being designed, so there’s a lot of talk, a lot of communication.”
The production reunites Lopez and Anderson-Lopez with original screenwriter and co-director Jennifer Lee, who is writing the musical’s book.