On the day the producers of “Frozen” learn whether they’ve won a Tony Award for best musical – Sunday, June 10 – Charlotteans can get a glimpse of a work-in-progress that condenses that Broadway hit to an hour and adapts it for middle-school performers and audiences.
Northwest School of the Arts has been chosen as part of a national pilot program for “Frozen Jr.,” which will be licensed for school performances this fall and could be seen locally as soon as winter 2019. The school will give public performances of the pilot version June 8 at 7 p.m., June 9 at 11 a.m., 2 and 7 p.m, and June 10 at 2 p.m. in Charles LaBorde Theatre, 1415 Beatties Ford Rd. Tickets aren’t on sale yet; you’ll find them soon at nwsatag.com, probably about two weeks before opening night.
Disney Theatrical Group sent the pilot version of “Frozen Jr.” to a few schools across America, in order to learn what it looks like in performance. Disney has declined to give any details until the show is ready to be licensed; the company won’t say yet how many schools are involved in the pilot program, how the abbreviated show differs from the full one or what criteria it will use to revamp the pilot version.
Both the long and short stage musicals were inspired by the 2013 movie “Frozen.” It became the highest-grossing animated film in history and won Oscars for animated film and song (the anthem “Let It Go”). The husband-and-wife team of Kristen Anderson-Lopez – a former Charlottean – and Robert Lopez wrote songs for the film and Broadway version, which opened in March. They’ve received a Tony nomination for that score; book writer Jennifer Lee got the show’s third Tony nomination.
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The Broadway show retains the movie’s half-dozen songs – “Let it Go” closes the first act – but adds a dozen new ones. Which of those numbers will be in the “Jr.” version now or after it’s licensed remains to be heard.
This story is part of an Observer underwriting project with the Thrive Campaign for the Arts, supporting arts journalism in Charlotte.