Frozen Gets Jazzy, Musical Event

Sunday night I attended a special Frozen musical performance at Vibrato Grill Jazz club with cast members Kristen Bell (Anna), Idina Menzel (Elsa), Josh Gad (Olaf), and Santino Fontana (Hans) singing the songs of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez accompanied by a live orchestra conducted by David Metzger.

Bell was funny doing her little girl Anna for “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”; Bell and Fontana had flirty fun with “Love is an Open Door”; Gad performed “In Summer” with a bravado that reminded me of Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz (in fact, Gad admitted to me afterward that Lahr and Oz were indeed an inspiration); and Menzel once again brought great power and intimacy to her Oscar-nominated “Let It Go.”

The packed house included the husband and wife songwriting team, composer Christophe Beck, directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, producer Peter Del Vecho, John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, and production designer Michael Giaimo, who also admitted that Oz was a touchstone along with Sleeping Beauty. Some of the post-performance conversation included Gad trying to convince Lee that they should do an Olaf sequel with a Godfather II vibe.

Catmull reiterated to me afterward that the climax to the twist on sisterly love had to be earned and that he instructed the Disney team to aim higher than Tangled.  And, in a preview of his upcoming book, Creativity, Inc. (Random House), the Pixar co-founder suggested that the secret to managing the two animation powerhouses has been to let them remain separate cultures (including technology).

Meanwhile, Frozen has earned more than $900 million worldwide. The soundtrack has held the No. 1 position on the Billboard 200 chart for four non-consecutive weeks, and is the longest-running No. 1 film soundtrack since 2003. Worldwide, the album has sold more 1 million units and 3.4 million tracks.  At iTunes, the album has peaked at No. 1 in more than 30 countries.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Movies, Music, Oscar, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

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