Similar to its other animated features, Disney has refashioned Frozen, the heart-warming tale of sisters Elsa and Anna, into a Broadway musical.
The stage-adaptation of the 2013 Academy Award-winning movie opened on March 22, Thursday, at the St. James Theatre in New York. Tony and Olivier winner Michael Grandage, who was also behind award-winning musicals such as Merrily We Roll Along and Guys and Dolls, directed the stage adaptation. Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (also of Coco), the same songwriters behind the original movie, were also involved and has even written a dozen new songs for Frozen on Broadway.
But how did it do? Here are the reviews from the critics who were able to catch the musical's first show on Thursday.
Bland And Uninspired
Unfortunately, unlike the original animated movie, the Frozen musical was received with lukewarm reception. The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney thinks that the adaptation struggled to "establish a consistent, unifying tone and to settle on a center in a story inherently bifurcated by having two heroines kept apart for most of the action."
"[it] ends up being merely adequate, a bland facsimile when it should have been something memorable in its own right," the critic added.
Rooney did say that the musical was a lot better than some of Disney's previous productions such as The Little Mermaid (which failed to capture the charms of its source).
Johnny Oleksinski of The New York Post agrees. In the title of his review, he wrote that the musical was devoid of the "heart and fun" of the movie. He also described the two-hour show as "visually drab, mechanical and often boring. Cold, if you like."
Greg Evans of Deadline said that Frozen on Broadway felt rushed, depriving the audience of the opportunity to enjoy and fall in love with the characters.
The New York Times reviewer Jesse Green claims that the performances of the leads, Caissie Levy (Elsa) and Patti Murin (Anna), were never the problem. Both delivered powerful performances and found nuances to their characters. Levy's rendition of "Let It Go" was worthy of praises. However, he also pointed out that the supporting characters were not as compelling.
Marilyn Stasio of Variety argued that, while the musical tried to make a villain out of Duke Weselton (Robert Creighton), the real conflict of the story was internal: Elsa battling the Snow Queen within her that will bring destruction to her hometown of Arendelle. This, the author said, is difficult to dramatize on stage.
For those who still want to see the stage adaptation, Peter Marks of The Washington Post came bearing good news: his daughter liked Frozen on Broadway. While he personally thought that the production was a little lackluster, his daughter Lizzie said that the stagecraft was "sufficiently cool."
Tickets for Frozen on Broadway are now available from Ticketmaster.