I made a new friend last night. Her name is McKenzie and she is the world's biggest Frozen fan. Since I'm, well, not a Frozen fan, I asked McKenzie for her help writing this review and she agreed to give me feedback with thumbs up or thumbs down throughout the show.
Frozen has become a cultural phenomenon that I've managed to completely avoid until now. But last night Vivint Smart Home Arena was full of women around my age with (mostly) daughters in tow who have not been so lucky. Princess dresses were out in full force as were blinking souvenir magic wands and absurdly overpriced sno-cones in cups shaped like a snowman's head.
As soon as the lights went down in the arena kids began clapping and squealing. My friend McKenzie, though, she just leaned forward enraptured. And it was after an opening number featuring many Disney favorites and an announcer calling Frozen “One of the greatest love stories of all time” (eat your heart out, Romeo) the real show began.
Frozen on Ice opens and a young Kristoff and Sven selling ice on a frozen tundra and then with Princesses Anna and Elsa as children. Snow falls from the arena rafters to the ice as the young girls play and build a snowman. Then, Elsa zaps Anna with her icy magic and locks herself away. This is all in the movie folks.
In fact, the Ice version of Frozen and the film version aren't that different. There are the same songs. “Do You Want To Build A Snowman,” “For The First Time in Forever,” and “Love is an Open Door” all are represented in the production and all got sing-along treatment from the crowd. My friend McKenzie leaned over to me during “Love is an Open Door” and said, “This is a good one. Write that down.” Got it.
So, just like in the movie, there's a party and Anna agrees to marry a man she just met. “Hans is a bad guy!” my co-reviewer tells me (spoiler alert!). Elsa gets angry and reveals her icy underbelly to the entire village and then runs away. Anna follows, and meets Kristoff. Wacky high jinx ensue. Meanwhile, Elsa has made a castle of ice using only her fingers. You laugh, but I bet that's still easier than dealing with a general contractor.
After the obligatory “Let it Go” solo skate by Elsa, the show broke for intermission. “What was your favorite part?” I asked my companion. She shouted, “The Elsa part!” And, she told me, she was excited for the show to start again, because Olaf the snowman would be coming out soon. And indeed, he did, with a musical number about a snowman who loves tropical weather. Talk about fatalist.
And so the production continues in the same way as the movie. Anna and her sister fight again. Anna gets zapped with the ice magic again. Kristoff takes Anna to meet his troll family who inform them that Anna's heart has ice in it now and she will die without the kiss of true love, “This is a silly part,” says McKenzie. I agree. Kristoff fights off a creepy snow monster and then leaves. Hans, her fiancee, reveals his true self, “I don't like this. I told you Hans was a bad guy!” says McKenzie. Anna realizes Kristoff loves her, but it's a kiss a from her sister that brings her back to life.
Sisterly love, get it? Greatest love story of all time, indeed.
The closing number had all the Disney favorites back on skates. And as a parade of little princesses left the arena, they all lived happily ever after.