Disney’s latest animated feature, Frozen, instantly became a pop culture icon when it was released last November and has gained popularity ever since.
The film, which is loosely based on “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen, was re-vamped several times before it finally became the musical phenomenon we know today. With an ensemble cast of big names from both the television and theatre worlds, quirky characters, relentlessly catchy songs and beautiful animation, this movie was destined to be a hit.
The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature and has been nominated in the same category at the forthcoming Academy Award, along with another nod to “Let It Go,” the power anthem sung by Elsa, for Best Original Song. Disney films haven’t made this much money from an animated feature since the company released The Lion King in 1994.
Perhaps the biggest driver of Frozen’s success is its spectacular music. The film features 10 songs written by husband-wife team, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Robert worked on music for the controversial and award-winning Broadway musicals Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon. The songs in Frozen already have countless YouTube covers and have undoubtedly worked their way into recitals and audition books of performers everywhere. The cast even recently reunited to perform the songs in a one-night-only cabaret celebrating the music of the successful film.
The music in Frozen has more of a theatrical feel than traditional animated Disney musicals, so it’s no surprise that a Broadway adaptation has already been announced. While Disney insists they are in no rush to release the show, we can’t help but let our minds go wild with casting ideas.
Guest contributor and ACU student Matthew Silar, senior acting and directing major from Chicago, Ill., and I have collaborated to present a dream cast for “Frozen’s” Broadway debut.
Elsa: Megan Hilty
Best known for her role on NBC’s Smash and known to theatre lovers for taking on the role of Glinda in Wicked, Hilty definitely has the pipes needed to take on this role. Don’t believe us? Take a listen to “Don’t Forget Me” from Smash and you’ll know that Hilty can belt anyone’s face off. She can handle “Let It Go,” no questions asked. With her voice and acting ability, we think she could take Elsa to new levels.
Anna: Laura Osnes
Most recently seen on Broadway in the titular role of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Osnes is a two-time Tony nominee whose other Broadway credits include Bonnie & Clyde and Anything Goes. Her crystal voice is enough to make anyone melt, and we have no doubt she has what it takes to play Disney’s quirkiest princess. Let’s just say it, she’s perfect for this role. She might even charm her way to another Tony nomination if she were to play Anna on the Great White Way.
Kristoff: Jonathan Groff
Jonathan Groff is the actor who voiced Kristoff in the movie. If you know anything about Groff, you know it was a shame that he only got 40 seconds of singing time in Frozen with the playful, yet pathetic “Reindeer(s) are Better than People.” Groff is fantastic performer with a rock-star voice. He has been on the TV show Glee and has been seen on Broadway in Spring Awakening and off-Broadway Red. We’d love to see him re-create his film role on stage and have a full-length song. Not to mention, he looks the part.
Hans: Santino Fontana
Another performer we picked to re-create his role from the film, Fontana is little-known outside the theatre world. His Broadway credits include Prince Topher in Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (opposite Laura Osnes) and The Importance of Being Earnest. When Fontana auditioned for the role of Hans, he sang “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story. (The audio clip is pretty hilarious and can be found online). Fontana would make a great addition to Frozen’s Broadway cast. And it might even be funny if the creators worked in his audition number.
Olaf: Ben Platt
It would be a travesty if everyone’s favorite snow man who likes warm hugs was written out of the Frozen stage adaptation. Disney has the magic to make it happen (see examples from their productions of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast) and we would like to see Platt give the role a try. Audiences will recognize him from his role as Benji in the movie Pitch Perfect and he’s had Broadway experience in The Book of Mormon. Platt would be a great choice to bring Olaf to life on stage.