To start your FREE subscription to the Triangle Review, click

Edited and Published by Robert W. McDowell

September 15, 2022 Issue
PART 8 (September 16, 2022)

A FREE Weekly E-mail Newsletter Covering Theater, Dance, Music, and Film in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill/Carrboro Area of North Carolina Since April 2001.


Disney's Frozen at DPAC Will Make You Believe in Magic!


The Durham Performing Arts Center will present Disney Frozen on Sept. 14-18 and 20-25 and Sept. 27-Oct. 2 (photo by Deen van Meer)

Disney's Frozen, playing now through Sunday, Oct. 2nd, at the Durham Performing Arts Center, is everything that you would expect from a Disney Theatrical Productions' Broadway musical. The roles are well-cast; the acting, singing, and dancing are well-executed, under the direction of Michael Grandage.

The songs are delightful, and Rob Ashford's choreography is imaginative. Christopher Oram's set is phenomenal, and Natasha Katz's lighting and Finn Ross' projections team up to meld so perfectly with the "special effects" and the seamless set-changes that one would be tempted to answer "Yes" when asked "Do you believe in magic?"

Fans of Hans Christian Andersen will appreciate this re-telling of an episode from "The Snow Queen," and fans of early X-Men comics will appreciate this exploration of the theme: "How do I live with a dangerous power that I can't control?"

Having seen the 2013 Walt Disney Pictures animated musical fantasy is not necessary to enjoy this national tour of the 2018 Broadway musical, but I feel that my having taken time to watch it recently was a definite plus. Likewise, attending the show in the company of my six-year-old granddaughter, Carra, greatly enhanced my experience of the play.

Hearing her exclaim: "He's my favorite," "I love that song," and "This is the greatest night of my life" (along with hearing her sing along at times) -- well -- money could not buy a better experience!

Reviewer Kurt Benrud and his six-year-old granddaughter, Carra, wait for Frozen to transform the DPAC stage into a winter wonderland

And, judging by the number of young girls wearing their Elsa and Anna dresses that I saw in the lobby before and after the show, I would guess that the experience of other parents and grandparents at this event matched mine.

The play differs from the film in that the sequence of events is altered slightly (i.e., Anna meets Kristoff prior to arriving at Oaken's trading post). Also, a crowd-pleasing song ("Hygge") that features Oaken (played by Michael Milkanin) has been added (among others).

Weselton's treachery is not nearly as explicitly obvious (but the character -- played at DPAC by Jeremy Morse -- is every bit as amusing). And "Let It Go," Elsa's best-known song (sung opening night by Caelan Creaser, subbing for Caroline Bowman), is performed as the first act finale (rather than earlier in Elsa's self-imposed exile). The spectacle that this choice enabled elicits well-deserved thunderous applause -- speaking of magic, truly phenomenal!

Caroline Bowman stars as Elsa in Disney Frozen at the Durham Performing Arts Center (photo by Deen van Meer)

As spectacular as the entire cast's performances were, I must say that the character of Anna (excellently portrayed by Lauren Nicole Chapman) stands out in particular as exceedingly "better than the movie." Likewise, the subtle use of what I call "background choreography" is probably the best that I have ever noticed. For example, "the action" would be taking place downstage-center, while subdued versions of the dance-moves continued upstage, reminding us that "other stuff is taking place," but never distracting from the focus of the scene.

AND: A tip of the hat to the creative way in which a "reindeer" (Sven, played by Dan Plehal) and a "snowman" (Olaf, portrayed by F. Michael Haynie) are integrated into the live show.

Caroline Bowman stars as Elsa in Disney Frozen at DPAC (photo by Deen van Meer)


Catch this show if you can -- it's well worth your while.

Bring your granddaughter if possible -- she'll love it, and you will love that she loves it.

For extra credit:

Watch the 2013 movie beforehand.

Read the 1844 Danish fairy tale, "The Snow Queen."

Peruse as many issues of original X-Men comics as you can get your hands on.

The Durham Performing Arts Center will present Disney Frozen on Sept. 14-18 and 20-25 and Sept. 27-Oct. 2 (photo by Deen van Meer)

From the Department of Picky-Picky (and
this applies to all popular musicals):

How easily could DPAC arrange to place a screen of "supertitles" above the proscenium arch (as opera companies sometimes do)?

The Durham Performing Arts Center will present Disney Frozen on Sept. 14-18 and 20-25 and Sept. 27-Oct. 2 (photo by Deen van Meer)

Disney's FROZEN (In Person at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16-18 and 20-25 and Sept. 27-Oct. 2), with music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and book by Jennifer Lee's, based on the 2013 animated Walt Disney Pictures musical fantasy, which was inspired by "The Snow Queen," an 1844 Danish fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen, directed by Michael Grandage and associate director Adrian Sarple, choreographed by Rob Ashford and associate choreographers Sarah O'Gleby and Charlie Williams, and presented as part of Truist Broadway at DPAC, and starring Caroline Bowman as Elsa, Lauren Nicole Chapman as Anna, Dominic Dorset as Kristoff, Will Savarese as Hans, Jeremy Davis as Olaf, Tyler Jimenez as Pabbie, Evan Duff as Weselton, Michael Milkanin as Oaken, Collin Baja as Sven at certain performances, Dan Plehal as Sven at certain performances, Aria Kane as Young Anna at certain performances, Saheli Khan as Young Anna at certain performances, Mackenzie Mercer as Young Elsa at certain performances, Sydney Elise Russsell as Young Elsa at certain performances, Belinda Allyn as Queen Iduna, Kyle Lamar Mitchell as King Agnarr, and Brit West as Bulda, and Caelen Creaser as the Head Handmaiden, plus an Ensemble including (in alphabetical order) Alicia Albright, Belinda Allyn, Caelen Creaser, Colby Dezelick, C.K. Edwards, Michael Everett, Natalie Goodin, Tyler Jimenez, Tatyana Lubov, Adrianna Rose Lyons, Robin Masella, Michael Milkanin, Kyle Lamar Mitchell, Caleb Summers, Daniel Switzer, Zach Trimmer, Brit West, and Peli Naomi Woods and Swings Kristen Smith Davis, dance captain Dustin Layton, Tony Neidenbach, assistant dance captain and fight captain Jessie Peltier, Brian Steven Shaw, and Natalie Wisdom (Durham Performing Arts Center in Durham). DIGITAL PROGRAM: TRAILERS: and DPAC NEWS RELEASE: 2022-23 TRUIST BROADWAY AT DPAC SEASON: THE PRESENTER/VENUE:,,,, and DIRECTIONS: PARKING: DPAC COVID-19 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: THE TOUR:,,,,,, and TOUR CAST: TOUR CREATIVE TEAM: ENRICHMENT MATERIALS: LESSON PLANS: THE SHOW:,,, and TICKETS: $28.50 and up, plus taxes and fees. Call 800-982-2787 or click here to buy tickets. GROUPS (10+ tickets): 919-680-2787,, and INFORMATION: 919-680-2787 or Susie Potter's Review.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights' Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with North Carolina Reading Service. Click here to read his reviews for Triangle Review.


WHAT: Triangle Review is a FREE weekly e-mail performing-arts and film newsletter, edited and published by Robert W. McDowell since April 2001.

TO SUBSCRIBE: To start your FREE subscription today, sign up in the subscription box at the beginning of this e-mail; or e-mail and type SUBSCRIBE-TR in the Subject: line. TO UNSUBSCRIBE: E-mail and type UNSUBSCRIBE-TR in the Subject: line.

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? E-mail all questions, comments, and Letters to the Editor to For Letters to the Editor, please include a daytime telephone number in your e-mail.

COPYRIGHT: Editorial content in all formats © 2022 Triangle Review and the author of each article. Reproduction in any form without authorization of Triangle Review and the respective authors is prohibited. Triangle Review maintains an archive of past issues. To request copies of past articles and/or issues, e-mail