By Julianne Mosher
Do you want to build a snowman? Well, if not now, then you definitely will after watching the latest production of Frozen Jr. at the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts.
Based on the popular Disney film, Frozen, this show takes shape as a junior version of the hit 2018 Broadway musical performed by local kids with very big talents.
Directed and choreographed by Katy Snair with musical direction by Vincent Donnadio, the show will have viewers smiling from start to finish. Ranging in age from 8 to 17, the 17-member cast is extremely talented and clearly love what they are doing.
But first, a synopsis. The story follows two inseparable sisters who are princesses in the kingdom of Arendelle. The eldest, Elsa, was born with magical powers that allow her to create ice and snow. But as a young child, Elsa doesn’t know how to control her powers and while building a snowman wither her sister Anna, she accidentally harms her. While Anna is healed by the mysterious Hidden Folk (spiritual forest people), their parents decide it would be best to protect Anna by keeping the two apart.
Anna has no memory of the accident and does not understand why her sister avoids her, locked away in her room wearing her silk blue gloves. When the parents are lost at sea, Elsa continues to stay away, quietly keeping her secret hidden from her sister and the outside world.
Ten years have passed and it is time for Elsa to become Queen, but on coronation day her magic unintentionally brings an eternal winter to the kingdom. Accused of sorcery, she flees into the mountains to hide. Anna enlists the help of Kristoff the icemaker to help her find her sister and free Arendelle from the spell. This is a true story of love and acceptance that will thaw the coldest of hearts.
The show starts with young Elsa (Jillian Cerrato) and young Anna (Erin Risolo) playing and spending time with each other, quickly growing into pre-teen Elsa (Anabelle Koelmel) and Anna (Bailey DeLauter). While these four may play the littler versions of the main characters, they shine just as bright with their charisma and talent. Then, right before our eyes, we meet adult Elsa (Amanda Sidman) and Anna (Alexa Oliveto) who are true stars of the show.
For performers just starting off their careers, they are in for really great futures in whatever they choose to do. Both Sidman and Oliveto are able to hold their notes in a very music-heavy production while dancing in floor-length gowns with ease.
During the coronation, we meet Kristoff (Jacob Donlon), Anna’s love interest. Without giving too much away, he’s going to be your least favorite character, but one of your favorite performers on the stage.
Other standout performances came from Derek Hough (Hans) and his trusty reindeer sidekick, Sven (Michael Krebo). One favorite moment from the viewing was the first time Krebo came out dressed as the friendly reindeer, which was used as a talking puppet head that looked like the character. Emily Weaver’s rendition of the lovable snowman, Olaf (who likes warm hugs), was fantastic, too, making the audience laugh constantly.
Other costumes, designed by Kelly Mucciolo and Tim Conway, look straight out of the movie. Not only is Anna’s signature green dress on point, but Elsa’s costume change during “Let It Go” into her famous blue shimmering dress made the audience gasp, cheer and clap.
The set is minimal, but is welcomed by animated projections on a screen towards the back of the stage depicting different locations in the Kingdom of Arendelle, including the inside and outside of the castle, the snowy mountains and Elsa’s ice castle. During certain songs, you might expect to see some snow fall from the ceiling of the theater.
And one last nice addition to the day out is your chance to meet Elsa and Anna in the lobby for a photo. Don’t miss this adorable, wintery event perfect for pre and post-holiday fun.
The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown presents Frozen Jr. through Jan. 21. All seats are $25. To order, visit www.smithtownpac.org.