It was after the performers took their final bow that I looked over to my left and saw a young boy trying to hug his Olaf plush while clapping furiously. He was beaming. I was beaming. And then, as if sensing something, he looked over at me and recognized a kindred Frozen-obsessed spirit. We shared the briefest of moments, seemingly nodding at each other in approval. Without speaking, we both agreed: “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” absolutely sleighed.
Just two years after taking the world by snowstorm, everyone’s favorite icy tale with a warm heart of gold has made the jump from screen to stage at Disney California Adventure—and we couldn’t be happier after seeing it.
Directed by Tony Award-nominated Liesl Tommy, the musical spectacular combines traditional stage production with brilliant special effects. Swirling, spiraling projections encircle the audience and create an immersive backdrop for the snow-coated kingdom of Arendelle. But what truly breathes life into the wintery world are the show-stopping performances. So whether you’re a hardcore Frozen fan or a casual Disney groupie, the show will surprise, delight, and pull this instant classic back into the limelight. Here’s why:
1. It’s the story you know and love.
Save for a few missing beats and added moments, the show and film share the same beloved and love-driven storyline. Even potentially more so than the movie, though, Anna and Elsa’s sisterly bond is at the center of the stage production, shining just as bright as the glowing projection screen. I found myself relating to Anna (except for the whole ice-cursed sister ordeal); I even found myself relating to Olaf (you get it).
2. It’s the story you know and love, plus incredible, immersive special effects.
Welcome to the world of Arendelle, literally. With “Aurora Borealis” curtains flanking the stage and a giant projection screen changing backgrounds scene by scene, the sky and stage actually feel awake and I actually felt like I was in the story (dream come true). There are two particular moments—the opening song and the wolf chase scene—that make such incredible use of the effects, I forgot where I was.
3. “Let It Go” will leave you speechless.
One word: Chills. If you thought the power of Idina Menzel’s zeitgeist-capturing showstopper had melted even slightly since the film first came out, think again. From the towering ice staircase that stretches over the audience to Elsa’s seamless dress transformation, to the soapy snow that falls from the ceiling, the dazzle of it all ends up further empowering—rather than overpowering—the already larger-than-life lyrics and liberating moment. Seriously, the entire show could be this moment on loop.
4. Olaf and Sven will leave you breathless (with laughter).
Similarly, if you thought Olaf and Sven couldn’t get any more entertaining, think again (again). Brought to life by character engineer Michael Curry, who co-designed the animal creations of The Lion King on Broadway, the lovable reindeer and happy snowman are imbued with even more charm thanks to their respective performers. Visible to the audience (but not at all distracting), the actors move and react in their costumes with colorful, cartoonish energy, often stealing the spotlight—and most of the laughs.
5. The finale will leave you with all the feels.
I won’t spoil anything, but the final song number is a real tear-jerking, goosebump-inducing experience. The finale is one of the only major changes to the cinematic plot and was added, according to the director, to “bring everything full circle.” It ultimately becomes a “metaphor for the entire story.” And while this may go unnoticed by every kid in the audience (as well as some adults … *raises hand*), the moment is nonetheless a powerful farewell: waving goodbye while also asking everyone to come back again and again … and again. Encore, encore! The show—and snow—must go on.