Thoughts on Frozen the Musical

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Well, I was able to see the pre-Broadway tryout for Disney’s Frozen the Musical tonight. Here are my initial thoughts as I sit at home and sip a late night bourbon …

Overall I thought the musical was fantastic, Disney has done a superb job translating the story from animated movie to live action theater piece.  Patti Murin and Caissie Levy kill it as Elsa and Anna, with Caissie/Anna being a fantastic physical comedienne.  John Riddle as Hans is such lovable goofball that you forget that he’s the villain of the story until the Act II denouement … the audience literally gasped, as it seemed to come from nowhere ( even though if  you’ve seen the animated movie and you know it’s coming ).  If you have had the chance to see the Disney-park-lite version of Frozen at California Adventure then you’ve already seen Olaf, as he’s come straight over from that version, as a puppet a la Lion King. But the show stealers are Christoph and Sven, Jelani Alladin as Christoph and Andrew Pirozzi  (unrecognizable as Sven) are just a joy to watch. and when Sven tap dances … well … cuteness overload…. The rest of the cast brings their “A” game to the loosely-based Hans Christian Anderson story and Timothy Hughes as the King of the Mountain Folk/quasi narrator “Pabbie” brings a gravitas to his part along with a certain amount of eye-candy … ( you’ll have to wait to see what I mean … lol )

Now for some nit-picks. All-in-all, the first act seemed really rushed. I kind of thought the entire cast might have had to pee they whipped through the story and songs so fast that there was hardly a spot for applause after any of the first act songs.  The Act I closer, Let It Go, really needs another verse ( or two ) as Patti Murin is just getting onto the groove of the song when it just suddenly seems to end.  This being the out of town tryouts there were a few technical glitches in the effects, costumes not flying entirely off stage and having to be retrieved mid-song by the actors and tossed off stage and a missed lighting queue or two, but that’s to be expected.

The second act starts off rather odd, though fun, at Wandering Oakens Trading Post and the song Hygge ( or huug-a as it’s pronounced), with Oaken sounding like a cross  between Tim Conways Mr. Wiggins character and John Sigvard’s “Ole Olson” ( deep cut this ) and the entire cast in a Norwegian/Swedish sauna  doing a “naked”  fan dance with eucalyptus branches.  Again, odd, but rather endearing. This makes the rest of Act II a lot more fun and the cast really seems to come together and the story just flies by, with the ending being kept intact from the film that true-love doesn’t always come from where you expect it.

I’ll be really interested to see how this plays out when it finally reaches Broadway next winter and then eventually comes back to Denver in a few years.  I can imagine a few tweaks will really bring everything into tight focus and Disney will have another Beauty and the Beast on it’s hands … this will run for decades …

oh – and the Denver-centric merchandise is really cool ….

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Daily Tao / 063 – Articulation

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Rain dripping from eaves
Sounds nature’s poetry.
We speak and write to
Explain to ourselves.

Knowledge of Tao lodges in the same part of the mind as poetry. That is why the ancients expressed themselves in verse : There is the same quick perception.

When we are in touch with Tao, it is not our academic learning that is speaking, but the spirit of Tao itself. The old texts are very specific about this. That is why there is such a vast difference between the words of scholars and the words of a practitioner, just as the words of academics differ from the words of poets.

At the elementary stages of study, we need to articulate our experiences and let Tao flow through us. Followers of Tao frequently use writing, art, and even poetry as tools for self-discovery. By articulating their experiences, it helps them to understand the stages they are going through. Once they can do this, it satisfies and neutralizes their rational minds. The process clears away intellectualism and leaves the true Tao, which is not subject to words or images.