FROZEN WILL WARM YOUR HEART

As the last show in this season’s FSCJ Artist Series, FROZEN will be coming to Downtown Jacksonville April 27-May 4th.  With music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and book by Jennifer Lee, the show is based on the 2013 film.

Lauren Nicole Chapman, who portrays Anna, spoke with me about the production and the cast.  She and fellow cast member Jeremy Davis (Olaf) have been part of the FROZEN family since its workshop days.  The workshop is the period when the show is being read and fine-tuned prior to being taken into rehearsals for Broadway, so Ms. Chapman (who was workshop ensemble) has been able to see the writers’ vision of Anna through the character’s development.  Being able to actually bring the character to life and make it her own is part of “a dream come true.”

At the heart of the story is the relationship between two sisters.  Ms. Chapman has known co-star Caroline Bowman, who has portrayed Elsa since the tour launched in 2019, since before the tour opened.  She says they have a beautiful friendship that really blends into their characters.  “Anna and Elsa are really very alike.  They just deal with anxiety in different ways.  Ultimately, the sisters are each trying to protect each other.”

In addition to the three principals already mentioned, the cast principals include Nicholas Edwards (Kristoff), Preston Perez (Hans), Evan Duff (Weselton), Collin Baja and Dan Plehll (alternating as Sven), Norah Nunes and Emma Origenes (alternating as Young Anna), and Avelyn Lena Choi and Savannah Lumar (alternating as Young Elsa).  Before the show, as the young Anna and Elsa go on, Ms. Chapman and Ms. Bowman spend bonding time together.  Any time a new actor is making a debut (Jacksonville will be the debut for Mr. Edwards), the cast will gather and lift that actor as a show of lifting them and supporting them.

There is a lot of “Disney magic” with this show.  Ms. Chapman says she has four people around her for costumes, hair, etc. every time she goes offstage.  She has nine wigs.  The company has 20-21 trucks to transport the set, costumes…  Try to imagine the magic behind taking apart and putting together that many pieces in 24-48 hours between shows!

This show is for all ages.  It does have differences to both the movie and the Broadway production.  For instance, there are 12 new songs not in the animated version, as well as the song, “I Can’t Lose You” between Elsa and Anna, which is not included in the Broadway version.  Some set design, like the bridge, had to be adapted for mobility, but it doesn’t take away from the story.

A lot of young ladies watch a show like this an try to imagine having such a role in time.  I asked Ms. Chapman what advice she would offer.  “Learn everything you can, be well rounded, but most importantly, lead through kindness.”  So hone your acting skills, work your choreography, but treat others well, because you never know who might be the connection to your next role.

FROZEN is at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts April 27-May 4th.  Ticket prices vary based on show and seating.  For tickets, go to fscjartistseries.org or call (904) 632-5000.

by Cessy Newmon

About Cessy Newmon