Broadway’s “Frozen” In Talks with New Creative Team Members

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Left to Right: Christopher Oram and Michael Grandage

Last month, news broke that the Broadway-bound Frozen production had parted ways with director their director and choreographer. Now, rumours are circulating that award-winner director Michael Grandage and scenic designer Christopher Oram are in talks to join Frozen‘s creative team. Recently, Bob Crowley, the original scenic designer, parted ways with the project, but Disney seems to be moving forward quickly with the deadline of the developmental workshop looming.

Grandage and Oram previously collaborated on the Tony-winning play, Red, starring Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne. The production won numerous Tony Awards, including Best Director, Scenic Designer, and Play. From 2002 to 2012. Grandage acted as the artistic director of London’s Donmar Warehouse, where many of his productions won Tony and Olivier Awards. Currently, he is the artistic director of the Michael Grandage Company, where he produces works in all media forms both nationally and internationally. Oram has also won numerous awards while working with the Donmar Theatre, including Tony and Olivier awards for Costume and Scenic design. This year, he worked closely with Kenneth Branagh for his theatre company’s 2016 series. While Oram and Grandage have worked on musicals in London, they do not have extensive experience on Broadway. They helmed the short-lived revival of Evita, starring Ricky Martin, which closed with losses. In London, Grandage staged a critically-acclaimed revival of Guys and Dolls, which he is set to direct as a 20th Century Fox film in the near future.

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Photo Courtesy of D23, “Frozen: Live at the Hyperion”

While changes are not unknown to Broadway, a number of creative departures and delays in the production has caused concern that there may be upheaval amongst the team. Musicals often change directors, casts, and choreographers last minute. The hugely successful Thoroughly Modern Millie promoted newcomer Sutton Foster to the lead role days before the show premiered. The London production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is currently in transition to Broadway and despite the success of the show in London, director Jack O’Brien has taken the reigns instead of original director Sam Mendes.

It also seems that Renaissance England will become snowy Arendelle sooner than expected. Last week, Something Rotten! announced January 1st as their final performance. The show, embarking on their first national tour the same month, has been housed at the St. James Theatre on W. 44th Street since April 2015, but the rumour on Broadway puts Frozen in this historic theatre for 2018. Currently, the theatre is undergoing renovations to expand into the neighbouring alley with plans to tear down the back wall to expand the stage. This major project is expected to start soon after Something Rotten!‘s final show and would add depth to future shows. The current production features very few special effects, relying on traditional theatre techniques as an alternative. Already, Disney has been experimenting with turntable stages and rotating staircases for Frozen, something the St. James Theatre would not be able to accommodate currently. Construction of an expanded back wall would be able to accommodate the proposals for Disney’s latest musical venture.

Frozen will have its premiere at the Denver Centre for the Performing Arts in August 2017 with a planned Spring 2018 arrival on Broadway, in time for Tony-contention.

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