Disney’s hit ‘Frozen’ to become Broadway musical

Disney’s hit ‘Frozen’ to become Broadway musical


When Lauren Searl, theater student and junior, tagged along with her mom and sister to watch “Frozen” for the first time last December, she did not have huge expectations. However, she ended up enjoyed the movie a lot more than she thought she would. Searl later went on to see it three more times in theatre and even plans to see a sing-along version with her friends.

w.Broadway2.2.27“I absolutely love all of ‘Frozen.’ I think it’s such a well-done, heartfelt story,” Searl said. “The animation is just gorgeous, and it has some really well-done female characters, which isn’t something you see a lot in animated films. The music is great. It’s just all around lovely.”

Searl is just one of many people who has seen “Frozen” in theaters, as the movie has become Disney’s highest grossing animated film of all time in the box office, according to CBS.

In fact, it has become so popular that it will be turned into a Broadway musical, although the date has not yet been set.

Musical director Lamonte Kuskye said there are many factors that determine whether a musical adaptation of a movie will become successful, with the ability of music to enhance the characters being a main one.

“Not every movie should be a musical. There are a lot of factors, (some) rather complicated, that give it the possibility of being a musical,” Kuskye said. “The music always adds a depth to a straight play; music brings something else because of all the instrumentals involved. It takes the heart to a place you can’t through dialogue alone. If in the story there are opportunities for music to enhance, then you may have a good musical.”

Searl said she has high hopes for “Frozen” as a musical because the story is driven by characters’ internal actions, emotions and relationships, which she said she believes will make a successful musical. She said she thought musicals like “Once” were hits, while ones like “Legally Blonde” and “Sister Act” were not because of the storylines.

In addition, Kuskye said musicals are typically longer than movies, which allow the characters to be more developed and can make the musical overall more successful. He said this was true of “Beauty and the Beast.”

w.Broadway1.2.27“In ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ (the musical) really developed the character of the beast. You felt for him in the movie, but in the musical, it was deeper. You felt even more connected by the strife,” Kuskye said. “And in the ending of Act 1, there was this incredible song, ‘If I Can’t Love Her.’ You heard what he was thinking, so you just can identify more with him.”

Searl said she hopes the character of Hans is more developed in the musical adaptation of “Frozen.”

“Hans could be a really fascinating character. He was a really good twist, but it would make more sense and be more satisfying to an audience member if there was a real reason to why he did what he did,” Searl said.

Still, although there are many advantages of musicals over movies, there are also many unique aspects of movies that can’t be shown through musicals, according to IB Film teacher Jim Peterson. He said one is the emotion of characters through their faces.

“With film, you can get a close up. The screen is somebody’s eyeball. … A good director is able to show characters’ emotions with choice of camera angel and shot size,” Peterson said. “You can get a lot out of non-verbal communication on film. An actor just looking at the camera, if you get in a tight close-up, can convey a lot of emotion.”

Peterson also said some emotion is lost through musicals because the audience is far away from the stage.

“You’re so far away; you’re separated by rows and row and rows. Even if you’re really rich and can sit up front, you’re still separated by vast space, and you lose some of that intimacy that you can get with film,” Peterson said.

In addition, there will always be people who don’t like musicals because they lean more toward reality-based works, according to Kuskye.

“There are still some people who don’t buy into musicals,” Kuskye said. “In order to enjoy musicals, you have to have a certain element of fantasy, or as we call it in a theater class, life as it should be. Some people who don’t buy into musicals may think it’s cheesy. Like, ‘That’s not real; nobody’s going to start tap dancing in the middle of a street.’ But you’ve got to buy into that, that this is life as it should be, where people do break into dance.”