BROCKWAY — The cold will not bother Brockway Area Junior-Senior High School’s winter production even though the show has a brand new director and is trying a new form of set design.
Brockway is performing Frozen Junior on November 21-24 at the high school auditorium.
Frozen Junior is a condensed version of the hit Disney movie, letting go of some side plots and shortening the story into a svelte show that runs a little over an hour.
This is the first time Melissa Newcome has directed a Brockway stage production. She found that building this snowman of a play was something she had to learn as she went along.
“I have been involved in many shows but never at this level,” Newcome said. “Like the new actors in the cast, I was learning how to do this.”
Newcome was assisted by Justin Salada, who has directed previous shows. She said his insight was very useful in finding success.
“He was a good teacher, and the children have a way of letting you know what they need you to do,” Newcome added.
Newcome said that the show had seventh and eighth grade students who had not performed on stage before. She commended them for never giving up and working hard to figure out the show.
The production let go of the usual set construction that marked Brockway shows in the past. Frozen Junior has magic and snow storms as well as a magically-constructed ice castle. To show this magic, Brockway is using a projector on a screen behind the actors.
“There’s not actually a set,” Brockway sophomore Sarah Koehler explained. Koehler works on the sets for the show. “Most of the things in this musical are animated. There’s props, but most of the actual big backgrounds are projected. I think for this musical, it looks better. We can add snow and magic. This play has a lot of different locations, so using the projector means we don’t have to make full walls for a lot.”
While that saved set construction, it did mean spending a little more effort in choreography for the show’s magical star, Elsa, played by junior Mackenzie Hook.
“The hardest part is lining everything up with the magic,” Hook said. “It’s kind of hard because the powers have to line up with my movements and the projection, so I have to be careful where I stand. It’s like a new challenge.”
Hook is excited to play Elsa. She said the songs are a little below her vocal range, but she has been practicing and is confident that she has the songs down.
An advantage to playing the two leads is the opportunity to keep the dresses. Both Hook and Madelyn Newcome, who plays Anna, bought their dresses for the show.
“I chose to get my own dress,” Hook said. “I didn’t think the school’s dresses looked like Elsa. I looked up the best dresses, and my mom and I found the look we wanted.”
“I got the exact dresses that Anna wears in the movies,” Newcome said. “I feel like it would look better because the character is so familiar.”
Madelyn Newcome, Melissa Newcome’s daughter, said that playing Anna was easy for singing but harder for personality.
“Knowing that Anna’s a little more childish, it’s harder for me,” she said. “I have to act more like a child. I have to put in more time practicing the character than the songs.”
For the first time in forever when it comes to a high school musical production, the cast said that none of the signing parts were difficult. Liam Webster, who plays Kristoff, said the part was perfect for him.
“I have pretty much one song, and it’s not that hard,” he said. “Mainly, the whole musical, I act like I’m getting annoyed. I don’t really find that hard to play.”
Both Newcomes hope that the show captures the magic of the movie.
“Little kids love watching movies and seeing princesses,” Madelyn Newcome said. “I hope they get that same sense of awe from our show.”
“I hope they see their favorite characters come to life before their eyes,” Melissa Newcome said. “This show is about love that thaws the coldest of hearts.”
Brockway’s production of Disney’s Frozen Junior stars Mackenzie Hook as Elsa, Madelyn Newcome as Anna, Liam Webster as Kristoff, Phillip Shifter as Hans, Joseph Hertel as Sven, and Kasie Leach as Olaf. The show starts at 7 p.m. November 21-23 and at 3 p.m. on November 24.
Tickets are available at the door or on rovers.ticketleap.com.