By GUY D’ASTOLFO
If ever there was a Disney film that was destined to become an ice show, it is “Frozen!”
Much of the magical musical about royal sisters Anna and Elsa takes place in an icy world.
“Frozen!” won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2014, and the song “Let It Go” also picked up an Oscar. It premiered as a Broadway musical earlier this year.
But before that, the blockbuster was transformed into a Disney On Ice show, and it’s no surprise that it has been embraced by audiences worldwide.
Disney On Ice Presents Frozen! makes its way to Covelli Centre this week, for seven performances today through Sunday.
Jackson Stevens has been touring with the show for five years, as an ensemble member.
The Brampton, Ontario, native said the show is dazzling to watch. But its enduring hold on people is more than visual.
“What is unique about this film, why it resonated with so many, it that it displays a sense of love between sisters, whereas other [Disney] films are about romantic love,” said Stevens, calling from a tour stop in Allen, Texas. “Sibling love is so much more available to people, especially to young kids with siblings.”
Stevens said the ice show – like the movie – takes audiences on a journey of love, and uses “fantastic” production elements to make it realistic.
The production uses innovative sets and props to establish each location as it goes through the film, from the kingdom of Arrendelle to the icy north mountains where Queen Elsa has fled.
IF YOU GO
What: “Disney On Ice Presents Frozen!”
When: 7 p.m. today and Friday; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Covelli Centre
Tickets: $17 to $57 (fees may apply) at ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-745-3000 and at the box office.
The queen has the magical power to control ice, which is also brought to life.
“There are special effects for her ice powers,” said Stevens. “We’re going to make it snow, up to a full blizzard.”
The scene in which the community of trolls spring to life is also in the Disney On Ice version. “It transitions into the upbeat number ‘Fixer Upper,’ which is one of my favorites,” said Stevens.
The musical number that has become the signature of “Frozen!” is “Let It Go.” Stevens said it is a “phenomenal” scene.
“The audience is over the top [during the scene],” he said. “Everyone there knows every word, so we have to turn up the sound.”
Like the movie, the level of fan enthusiasm for “Disney On Ice Presents Frozen!” is unparalleled.
Stevens was in two other Disney On Ice shows – ”Toy Story 3” and”Rockin’ Ever After” – but “Frozen!” is a rare phenomenon, he said.
“It’s setting records,” said Stevens. “Almost every performance is sold out.”
After eight years with Disney On Ice, Stevens is a veteran performer. One would never guess that he is a latecomer to figure skating.
“I grew up playing hockey,” he said. “Figure skating wasn’t my sport. At age 20, I put on figure skates for the first time.”
Stevens began skating at age 4 and played competitive hockey as he grew up.
After being hired by Disney On Ice, he had some catching up to do to get on par with the other skaters.
“It’s definitely a different sport,” he said. “I had an air of confidence and was sure I could make the transition but let me tell you, it is very different. The physical engineering of a figure skate is different. I’m still learning.”