'Frozen' photo gallery in Denver. To see more, click the forward arrow on the image above. Rehearsal photos by Jenny Anderson.
Disney's Thomas Schumacher: Creative team will benefit from additional early performance before Denver audience
By John Moore
Senior Arts Journalist
The first performance of the highly anticipated developing Broadway musical Frozen takes place in Denver on Thursday, Aug. 17. And the second performance, as of right now, will be the next evening, it was just announced.
According to the original Frozen schedule, Friday, Aug. 18, was to have been a full work day, with no public performance that evening. But Frozen Director Michael Grandage and Disney Theatricals President Thomas Schumacher have decided the Frozen creative team will benefit more from getting several performances in the books before implementing any potential changes.
“Frankly, we want to get on a roll, and one performance isn’t enough to help us do that,” said Schumacher. “If we can have a second preview right away, then we can size up more than just one audience.”
The newly added performance will take place in the Buell Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, which means an additional 2,800 seats have just been made available to the public at denvercenter.org, starting at $25.
Pre-Broadway productions don’t always follow the same performance schedules audiences come to expect from established touring productions that visit Denver. Instead, shows still in development target specific “work days” to stop and incorporate lessons learned from early performances in front of live audiences. Those might include script, set or costume changes that can only be safely incorporated with additional, dedicated rehearsal time. The team still has planned “work days” scheduled for Aug. 22 and 29.
The entire seven-week run of Denver is, in essence, a preview period for the show’s opening next spring at the St. James Theatre in New York. For those unfamiliar with the term, a preview performance is essentially any that takes place before a designated opening night. In Denver, the official opening night is Sept. 14, after which any significant potential changes would not be implemented until the Denver run closes on Oct. 1.
Schumacher said the Denver audience’s role in the creative process is of vital importance to the creative team. The audience contributes to the creative conversation simply by the way it responds to the story with its laughter, applause and tears. That’s why the creative team wants as much feedback as possible before considering any major changes.
“You can't go by just one audience, because there will be diversity from one audience to the next depending on the time of day and day of the week,” Schumacher said. “Certain people love to come to a weekend matinee, and that is a very specific kind of crowd. The weekday audience is a different crowd. The people who hear about this newly added performance and buy a ticket tomorrow is a different audience than the people who bought their tickets four months ago. The people who bought their tickets four months ago are big Frozen fans. But I think this show also has so much appeal to the traditional audience that might not realize what we are even doing yet. They might not know yet that that this is actually a big, brand-new, proper musical. And when they come, we are going to learn from them as they watch the show, too.”
The bottom line, Schumacher said: “We're in rehearsal. Previews are part of our process. And we want to get enough of them under our belt to take full advantage of what we learn from our Denver audiences to keep the momentum going.”
Tickets for the added performance top out at $75, Schumacher said, since it’s such a late addition to the performance schedule. He added that the Denver engagement of Frozen is selling very well.
“Today we have sold more tickets for Frozen than for The Little Mermaid pre-Broadway run in Denver 10 years ago,” Schumacher added. He attributed that to Frozen being staged in the Buell Theatre, which has a much higher capacity than the Ellie, which hosted The Little Mermaid.
And yet, there are still 24,000 seats available to the public for Frozen in Denver, he said. Weeknights have the best availability.
Pictured above: Top right: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin in 'Frozen' rehearsal. Above right, from left: Michael Grandage, Thomas Schumacher and Christopher Oram. Photos by Jenny Anderson.
John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center’s Senior Arts Journalist.
Frozen: Ticket information
At a glance: From Disney, the producer of The Lion King
, Mary Poppins
and Beauty and the Beast
comes the beloved tale of two sisters torn apart and their journey to find themselves and their way back to each other. Be among the first to see this highly anticipated new musical before it makes its Broadway debut. This Broadway-bound Frozen
, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators. Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run 2 1/2 hours.
- Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions
- Aug. 17-Oct. 1
- Buell Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex
- Single tickets are onsale now. Tickets start at $25, with a limit of eight tickets per account
- Call 303-893-4100 or BUY NOW
- Sales to groups of 10 or more click here
Previous NewsCenter coverage of Frozen
Exclusive first interview
with Caissie Levy, Patti Murin
Don't get scammed
buying your Frozen
Your first look at Frozen
announced: Caissie Levy to star as Elsa
Meet the entire cast
tickets go on sale May 1
Disney confirms director Michael Grandage
2016-17 Broadway season to include pre-Broadway Frozen