“Disney on Ice Presents Frozen” to heat up Infinite Energy Arena
By: Jon Gallo
Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2016
As Taylor Firth sees it, her personality and demeanor are perfect for her job as somebody else.
“I can be awkward and I’m energetic,” Firth said. “I sometimes say things before I think. In many ways, I’m just like her.”
“Her” is Anna, one of the beloved princesses of “Frozen,” which will turn Infinite Energy Arena into Arendelle through April 24 when “Disney on Ice Presents Frozen” skates into Duluth.
“You look at Snow White, and she’s so prim and proper,” said Firth, 24. “Anna’s just more normal and real.”
It’s Firth who brings Elsa’s younger sister to life in an ice show based on a massively successful movie.
It wasn’t a question of if Disney would take “Frozen” from the big screen, where it’s the ninth highest-grossing film of all time ($1.28 billion) to ice. It was only a matter of when.
Anna and Elsa became household names shortly after their tale about sisterhood, love, friendship and finding one’s identity hit theaters in November 2013.
Call it the ultimate show of girl power. Expect a huge portion of the crowd to be dressed as Elsa, while others will choose to be Anna, who wants to reunite with Elsa after a childhood accident severed their relationship.
If you’ve seen the movie, you know what happens throughout the two-hour show: Anna and Elsa are joined by Kristoff — a Norwegian hunk who’s smitten with Anna — and Olaf, the most popular snowman since Frosty, who’s brought to life by Elsa’s magic.
“One of the reasons why ‘Frozen’ is so popular is there is a character who everyone can relate to because Elsa is reserved and Anna is more outgoing,” said Firth, a native of Grand Island, N.Y. “Kristoff is a big, strong mountain man, and then you have Olaf, who just wants to have fun.”
The characters will set the tone with smooth skating and acting as they lip-sync the story. This could be a debacle, but since the movie is so popular, the crowd recites the lines, which are very close to those in the movie, until the music hits. Whether it’s “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” “Fixer Upper,” “In Summer,” “Love Is an Open Door,” “For the First Time in Forever” or the epic “Let It Go,” expect the crowd to take over and participate in the biggest sing-along that Infinite Energy Arena has ever experienced.
“So many people love this movie,” Firth said. “When you are out there and you look up at the crowd and you have people of all ages singing these songs, it’s just incredible to see.”
Firth should know. She’s performed in front of hundreds of audiences during her Disney career, in which she previously was Jessie, the cowgirl from “Toy Story 3,” and Merida from “Brave.”
“Disney on Ice Presents Frozen” opened its tour in September 2014 and will end the U.S. portion of its tour in Cincinnati next month. Then, it’s off for stops in Japan, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
After the intermission following the first of two acts, the crowd will be greeted by Olaf, whose witty charm provides comedic relief during Anna and Kristoff’s journey to find the exiled Elsa, who has turned Arendelle into a neverending winter wonderland.
The producers show exceptional attention to detail. Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven — Kristoff’s trusted reindeer — are mirror images of their cartoon counterparts in the No. 1 animated movie of all time.
“Disney wants all of its characters to be identical to how they look in the films,” Firth said. “It puts pressure on you. I remember when I threw a snowball during the show as Anna. I was told I needed to throw it with my left hand because that’s how Anna threw it in the movie.”
“Frozen’s” use of props, lighting, pyrotechnics, projections, strands of illuminated “ice” and shiny snow that descended from rafters helps tell the story and makes it feel like its winter, even if the show is in April.
“So many people have seen the movie,” Firth said. “But we bring it to life.”