A magical performance

The Cannon Falls High School Theater Department put on the musical Frozen Jr. this year and it was a great success.

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Nathan Baszuro

The cast of Frozen Jr. bows together at the conclusion of their performance.

The evening of Friday, November 12 marked the first public performance of the Cannon Falls High School Theater Department’s production of Frozen Jr. There were additional performances on November 13 and 14. The musical is a theatrical adaptation of Disney’s Frozen, starring Sophia Hanson as Elsa, Kendall Lawless as Anna, Tristin Qualey as Kristoff, Cannon Quade as Hans, Bowen Maki as Olaf, and Meagan Pedersen as Sven. 

Directed by Tania Legvold, Frozen Jr. utilized lighting, special effects, props, costumes, and a little glitter to dazzle the audience with the magic that is essential to Frozen’s storyline. Frozen Jr. was written by Jennifer Lee with music written by Jennifer Lee and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. 

Music is a major piece of the intricate puzzle that makes up Frozen Jr. Including classics like “Let It Go,” performed as a solo by Elsa, and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” as a duet between Elsa and Anna, Frozen Jr. remained true to the original movie. However, the musical included new songs that weren’t in the original movie. For example, “Hygge,” performed by the jovial Oaken and his merry family was not included in Frozen. Most songs were backed by a soundtrack, but pianist Kathy Illa also accompanied the performers. Unlike past productions, there was no band in addition to the piano or a soundtrack to create the atmosphere of a wintry wonderland.  

Anna, Kristoff, and Sven can be found together throughout the show as they journey to save Arendelle. (Nathan Baszuro)

Ice and snow are easy to find in Minnesota, especially approaching winter, however, not indoors. Frozen Jr. had to adapt an animated movie that could use unlimited special effects onto a stage. In the short couple of months between auditions and the performances, the director, cast, and helpful community members brought Frozen Jr. to life through props, lighting, and costumes. Director Tania Legvold described how the magic works: “Live theater audiences come in knowing they aren’t watching a movie (where effects are a given), and they are willing to ‘suspend their belief’ that something magical has happened.  So our ‘effects’ may be very simple, but the audience will go with it because they are engaged in the story.” The props were created before the show, but tech people were essential to the production during the show. Changing props on and off the stage between scenes could give the illusion of different settings, all within one auditorium. “The scenery pieces, particularly for Elsa’s ice castle, were largely done by techies who moved them on and off stage throughout the show,” said Lauren Ritz, one of the few people working behind the scenes and switching props. “Conveying Elsa’s magic was a really big aspect of the show, and a lot of it was done by actors, the Snow Chorus, who ran and danced with special fans to give the appearance of magic.” 

The audience remained captivated throughout the play, admiring the hard work the actors had put in. The auditorium was filled with children dressed up as the main characters, community members, parents, and friends of the cast. After the show, the cast were given flowers and congratulations, and the audience stepped out into the frozen evening to go home.