This past Fall, Disney released Frozen 2, a sequel to its enormously popular 2013 animated film. Few among us were immune to Frozen’s popular refrain, ‘Let it go,’ so it is no surprise that, in addition to all the toys, clothes and accessories, a musical version of the film opened on Broadway in 2018. Now in its third season of operation, Curtain Call Performing Arts Company is set to launch the area’s first production of Frozen Jr., at The Staircase Theatre. Running January 17 to 26, this will be an intermediate youth musical production with a cast of child and teen performers ages 10 to 18 bringing the story of Arendelle sisters, Queen Elsa and Princess Anna to life with plenty of magic, fun, and adventure.
The family friendly show promises all of the beloved songs from the original film (music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson–Lopez and Robert Lopez), as well as some brand new elements. “The stage version has all of the fun that the movie does but really lets us explore the story of Elsa and Anna on a deeper level. They meet more people on their journey, [and] there are five new exciting songs along with the iconic soundtrack from the movie,” says Danielle Viola, one of CCPAC’s two Artistic Directors. “It is a really great show for people who’ve enjoyed the movie, but also for individuals who haven’t seen it.”
While they concede that mounting Frozen Jr. is a ‘huge undertaking,’ Danielle and co–Artistic Director Kat Baranowski come across as a pair who truly thrive on challenge. In the last few years they have produced 13 pieces. Including The Musical, Seussical Jr., Alice in Wonderland Jr., Jungle Book KIDS, and Cabaret, as well as the adult production Next to Normal in July 2019 on the HTI stage. Their intermediate students have been working together since September, building their singing, dancing and acting skills with this run of Frozen Jr. as the culmination of efforts.
Curtain Call Performing Arts Company runs a regular schedule of classes and productions in the Hamilton Mountain/Binbrook area; led by Baranowski and Viola, young women themselves, they have been friends since kindergarten. Viola is a Brock grad with a dozen years of vocal training and a decade of competitive dance to her credit. She began performing in musicals at age 8. Baranowski is a dancer, choreographer, director and educator. In addition to performing in a number of area musical theatre productions, she has been dancing and instructing at Broadway Bound Dance Studio for over nine years, and has taught hiphop and ballroom dancing in Catholic and Public Schools throughout the GTA.
“We are a small company with an even smaller production team... and are very lucky to have an amazing group of volunteers that help us along,” Danielle explains. It’s truly a family affair with the networks of both artistic directors pitching in on productions, from their fathers building sets and mothers running front of house, to Viola’s brother lending his multimedia skills, friend Miranda Martin Kinsman stage managing (with Riley MacNab as assistant stage manager), and the performers’ own parents creating props (Paula Miller) and costumes (Jen Andrews).
The Frozen Jr. cast includes Adasynn Malec (13) as ‘Elsa,’ who says that, “my favourite thing about being Elsa is that I get to play around with different emotions, and I get to be in her shoes in the different trials and tribulations that she has to go through.” Starting at the age of 8 when she took a song and dance class with Danielle Viola, Malec confesses that she’s “been falling in love with theatre ever since.”
Emma Clarke (15), who plays feisty younger sister ‘Anna,’ loves “how excited and optimistic she is even in the hardest times on her journey.” She adds, “I have been doing theatre ever since I was little, but I’ve officially been doing shows for four years.”
Rounding out the other fan favourites, ‘Olaf,’ is played by Elora Andrews (11); ‘Sven’ by Emma Scott (11); and ‘Kristoff’ by Raelee Steele (13). All have performed in previous CCPAC shows. “Our leads are an awesome group of kids who have really done an amazing job creating these characters,” Viola says. “It is tricky making an animation come to life, but they have risen to the challenge.”
“This musical has a lot of heart and a great story line that all ages can enjoy,” she declares. And, as an additional thrill for the smaller patrons, there will be ‘meet and greets’ with Elsa and Anna after the matinee shows! V
January 17, 18, 24 & 25, 7 PM
Matinees: Jan.18, 19, 25 & 26, 2 PM
The Staircase Theatre
27 Dundurn St. North, Hamilton
Tickets: $15 (General Admission)
To buy online, visit bruha.com, or www.curtaincallpac.ca