There’s something magical about seeing Mickey or Ariel on ice skates, even if it doesn’t quite make sense.
Since 1981, “Disney On Ice” has transformed some of Disney’s biggest hits into ice skating spectaculars, but of all those films, none fits the bill quite like “Frozen,” which tells the tale of a princess whose emerging ice powers plunge a kingdom into eternal winter. Fans of the movie will get a chance to see this match made in heaven at the UNO Lakefront Arena from April 30 to May 4.
Turning “Frozen” into an ice-skating show may seem like a no-brainer, but actually incorporating all those costumes and wintry special effects into a live performance is easier said than done, as Becky Bereswill, who stars as the ice queen Elsa herself, can attest.
“Our show is a huge production. We travel with 12 large 18-wheelers. The costumes are amazing and we have incredible effects … we have many, many snow machines, so it feels like it’s actually snowing inside the stadium. They’ve brought in a lot of new technology and effects that have never been seen before in an ice show,” Bereswill said.
Elsa’s emotional journey is expressed through the film by her growing ice powers, which allow her to conjure icicle castles and living snowmen out of thin air. Bereswill said that care was taken to recreate those powers in the rink.
“Elsa’s powers are a very important part of the story … when Elsa’s young there are sort of light flurries, and as Elsa’s powers grow and become more intense throughout the show, the snow becomes thicker … they have the palace that comes out in act one and act two, and you’ll see quite a bit of fireworks in the show as well. It all comes together to reveal Elsa’s powers.”
Bereswill’s skills in the rink are impressive, as well, nonmagical though they may be. Like most of the cast, she comes from a competitive figure-skating background. She started skating at 7 years old and went on to skate at the U.S. Championships and internationally.
“It was a chance to do a sport, but I also loved the expressiveness and the music, and it’s also a nice way to escape the Texas heat. … Before you know it, you’re skating every day, oftentimes before school. It takes a lot of discipline.”
Bereswill is used to skating in front of judges, but there are perhaps no judges harsher than devoted fans and no fans more devoted than those of “Frozen,” which made more than a billion dollars at the box office and made Elsa the 88th most popular girl’s name in America in 2014.
“There’s a lot more responsibility that we recognize, portraying these very famous sisters, Elsa and Anna. There’s so much that goes into the preparation of really studying every detail of the movie, and we worked very closely with the directors to pull those mannerisms to the ice.”
The hard work that Bereswill and the rest of the cast put in seems to have paid off, if the enthusiastic audience reactions are any indication.
“This show has definitely exceeded all of our expectations. … It’s something we couldn’t have imagined a year ago, the size of it, and the sets, and how well it’s been received, and our favorite thing as performers is that you can hear everyone singing in the audience, these thousands of little beautiful voices … and the songs and characters are so loved. That’s one thing we weren’t prepared for. We knew that people loved the story, but not how excited people were to get up and dance and sing along.”
Bereswill hopes that the New Orleans audience will be similarly uninhibited in joining the fun.
“We’re all really excited to come to New Orleans and we really encourage people to come ready to sing along and join us, and don’t be afraid to get up and dance to your favorite songs,” she said.
You can sing along and escape the heat with the “Frozen” gang at the UNO Lakefront Arena from Thursday, April 30 to Monday, May 4. Information about the show, including tickets and show times, can be found at http://arena.uno.edu/upcoming_events.aspx?un=1