My passions in life our Disney and Broadway. And I have been very fortunate to watch the two merge over the past twenty years. In 1992 in my Senior High Year Book one of my close friends wrote “My greatest wish for you is that Disney has a show on Broadway!” Little did he know that Beauty and the Beast, the Lion King, Aida, Tarzan, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin were around the corner.
Instead of a short blog I could write an incredible thesis about the development of the Disney name on Broadway. I want to focus on the newest addition to the Disney Portfolio “Frozen”. For those that do not know Frozen is penned by the incredible creators of Avenue Q. What is Avenue Q? Avenue Q, took Off-Broadway and Broadway by storm back in 2000 by speaking to an entire generation. That group being “Generation X”. We did not have a voice on Broadway until Avenue Q appeared. Using Sesame Street style puppets ranting expletive language Avenue Q got to the core of a generation looking for their “Purpose” and trying to understand that “Everything in Life is only for Now”. While several block away the leading lady of Frozen Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) was soaring to new heights in “Wicked.” Giving a voice to every young girl/women that felt alone because she was different, or bullied or lost and giving the green girls of the world a chance to “Defy Gravity”.
As a theater goer that has seen both shows several times. I can hear the rumblings of Lopez in songs such as “Summertime” and “Reindeer are much better than People”. But the true torch song from Frozen is “Let it Go.” And it speaks to a whole new generation the way Defying Gravity spoke to a generation in 2003. It teaches everyone to not hide who they are, and to not be afraid of becoming the person full of flaws on the inside. In reality the people that matter will love you no matter what. I love the message Frozen sends to girls. Many times in society young women hide their emotions in ways that young men do not. That repression comes out in bullying other girls through not physical but emotional and mental abuse.
I started to expose my children to theater at very young ages. Much younger than I believe many do. Why? Primarily I wanted to see their reaction to my passion. And I think there is no better reflection of society. Where else can you go with a live audience, and see a live production and be in a moment. I took my oldest daughter to see “Beauty and the Beast when she was 3. I was fully prepared to leave the show with her. But she sat mesmerized through the entire production. Except at the very end. She started to cry. I asked her why she was crying. I knew she understood the Beast would not die. She said she was crying because it was almost over. And she did not want it to end. I was completely caught off-guard. For a 3 year old to understand that level. Now 8 years later she is my theater buddy. I firmly feel like her mother she is has sympathy and an overly sensitive nature that at times hinders her but at others makes her an extraordinarily compassionate young lady.
I absolutely Love Frozen. I can see it heading to Broadway in the same manner I can see Tangled on the Great White Way in the near future. Disney has given us a Queen and Princess that do not need saving in the traditional way from a “beast” or a “villain” but from themselves. And what an incredible message that sends to a generation.