The musical is based on Disney’s 2013 animated hit Frozen, which turned Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Ice Queen into a box-office-busting ($1.3 billion worldwide), award-scooping (two Oscars, plus a Grammy and a BAFTA) phenomenon. Not bad for a film about two sisters that was directed by a woman.
And while it’s easy to dismiss it as a story about two princesses with unusually thick hair and a goofy snowman who doesn’t realise he can melt, its real power comes from subverting Disney’s most famous tropes: the woman with magical powers is good, the handsome prince is evil and it’s the women who save the day. And, as The New Yorker pointed out, it also passes the feminist Bechdel test – both leads are female and they talk about things other than men. That’s not only rare in Disney films, but in Hollywood full stop.
“It’s a story about sisters and their bond,” says Rix. “It’s not a romantic story where everyone lives happily ever after. I remember when that [Anna sacrifices herself to save Elsa] happened at the end, that it felt unusual, but I really liked it because we didn’t need to have that happen, yet we are so filled with the story of love and support.”
Adds Monsma: “It’s so relatable to everyone. You think it’s just for kids, but the themes are so universal. And that’s like all Disney movies – you think it’s for a child, but you’re sitting there equally affected.”
The Sydney production is the first international version of the $US30 million musical, which premiered on Broadway in 2018 with an expanded repertoire of 20 songs, up from the film’s original eight, including a new duet between the sisters called I Can’t Lose You.
And while anyone who has seen the film – and the countless costumed mini-Elsas – can visualise Elsa’s sparkly blue ice queen gown, that’s not the costume Rix is looking forward to the most.
“Elsa wears pants,” says Rix, laughing. “She has business to do in Act II and she’s not running in a dress. That princess is running in pants.”
Frozen: The Musical is at the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket, from July 7. For tickets go to frozenthemusical.com.au