Since the early ’80s, when the Disney organization made its first assault on Broadway with Beauty and the Beast, it has regularly raided its animation vaults for musical subjects. Some have been inspired adaptations (The Lion King), some rote copies (Mary Poppins) and some painful (Tarzan).
This season’s Disney entry, Frozen — the most successful animated film of all time — is in that middle range. It makes no artistic leaps to become a stage entity, is underwhelming in its special effects and seemed aimed strictly at kids.
Robert and Kristen Lopez have expanded their film score a bit, most notably in the second act opener, “Hygge,” sort of a cross between “Hakuna Matata” with the production values of “Be Our Guest.” Caissie Levy and Patti Murin star as Elsa and Anna, the royal sisters separated by an ice gulf and snowman Olaf is represented well by a puppet manipulated by Greg Hildreth.
But if you want to talk commerce instead of art, Disney has another hit on its hands. On Tuesday night, the St. James Theatre was packed and souvenirs were flying off the concession stand’s shelves. So what if there are probably no Tony Awards in Frozen‘s future?
Hap Erstein is on his annual New York tour for ArtsPaper. Follow his tweets @SirHapster.