Disney has released several professional photos from the new Frozen musical, so everyone can finally get a glimpse of some of the sets and the costumes that weren’t in the first official photo (which was the cover photo for one of our video posts).
The musical has now also been reviewed by the usual critics, or at least the ones who were willing to fly to Denver for an out of town try out. Slate.com has a round-up of the reviews with quotes and trends. The reviews from the Chicago Tribune and the NY Times agreed most closely with my point of view. Overall, the reviews are mixed, though all agree the show is likely to be a hit. Judging from the photos and the reviews, some small changes have been made from opening weekend. I don’t plan to see it (or review it) again until sometime during its Broadway run.
Photo Credit: Disney / Deen van Meer
4 thoughts on “Frozen the Broadway Bound Musical (Denver): Official Photos and Professional Reviews”
I hope that the constructive criticism provided by the reviews is going to push the key creatives behind Frozen: The Musical (Thomas Schumacher, Michael Grandage, Jennifer Lee and the Lopez’s) into making changes. Although the criticism from the NYTimes was not as aggressive as reviews from Metacrone, the fact that such an eminent newspaper is raising many of the same issues as this site (e.g complaining that Anna has been reduced to a ” more conventional Disney girl” and Elsa spends too much time singing “there is something wrong with me”) is proof that the script needs to be modified…
The changes made between Denver and Broadway will probably be relatively minor, but that doesn’t mean that the problematic elements will remain unaltered. The big feminist moments from the film (e.g Elsa singing ‘Let it Go’, Hans turning out to be evil, Anna saving the day with her “act of true love”) remain intact, but it’s the smaller moments surrounding these that seem to undermine this show. A few edits can go a long way towards improving the situation (e.g strengthening the ending, allowing Anna and Elsa to interact more, exploring Elsa’s fun and creative side), and these can be easily carried in the four months before Frozen: The Musical reaches Broadway…
It’s a bit disappointing that these changes need to be made in the first place, but hopefully the criticism provided by the NYTimes in particular will provide a wake-up call.
These photos make everything look darker than I remember, possibly because they emphasize the background over the better-lit foreground. The little “Elsas” also all stayed awake and engaged until the end of both performances I attended, instead of falling asleep halfway through Act 2, as described by the NY Times critic. That makes me wonder what changes they’ve made.
I was glad to see the lack of a unified artistic vision pointed out by critics, which I noticed, but didn’t talk about extensively. I knew others would bring that up. I decided instead to focus my detailed comments on the feminist aspects of the show that I knew most reviewers would ignore or downplay, as they have. If that makes me aggressive, so be it. There’s a reason the word witch is in the website’s title.
While it’s always nice to have validation, I don’t need the NY Times to tell me that what I saw is accurate. There’s a whole lot of offensive, sexist language in the NY Times review, as there often is in professional reviews. The theatre world as a whole is known for misogyny and racism, despite Hamilton. A veneer of formal, emotionally-detached language doesn’t actually mean a review is unbiased. A reviewer who speaks in more personal language can still be open-minded and accurate.
My comments were not intended to criticise this site in any way (If I wasn’t interested in you were saying, I wouldn’t be commenting). My point was, that for all their unconscious biases and microaggressions, the mainstream reviewers have a far greater degree of influence. The producers, directors and writers creating ‘Frozen: The Musical’ probably won’t read this blog, but they will definitely read the reviews from The Denver Post, The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times. Even if they only spent a paragraph or two criticising the portrayal of Anna and Elsa (compared to the four full posts from this site discussing the issue) they still made a number of points similar to the ones made here. The bottom line is that the likes of Thomas Schumacher and Michael Grandage have heard complaints about the portrayal of Anna and Elsa, and will now need to listen to them…
Okay, point taken. I’m glad you find something of value here and I appreciate that you take the time to comment.
If the reviewer who reduced Elsa to a tormented blonde and Anna to a self-important ginger decided that the little girls were falling asleep before the end out of self defense, that would certainly suggest that the misogyny should be taken seriously.
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