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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Disney Says “Let it Go” to "Frozen" on Broadway

by Beth Keating
May 19, 2020

Theatre goers on March 11 had no idea they were witnessing the final performance of Frozen on Broadway that evening. 

The Disney Theatricals production is the first Broadway show to fall victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, with several other expected-to-open-soon New York productions closing before they actually raised their first curtain.  Cancelled shows include Hangmen and a revival of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? A musical about Michael Jackson, and Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, have moved production to next year.

As widely reported, a Disney press release late last week announced, "The Broadway production of 'Frozen' will not reopen as a result of the industry-wide shutdown and resulting economic fallout.” One of three current Disney productions on Broadway, the Frozen closure comes almost two years to the day of its Broadway debut. Frozen opened March 22, 2018, and dropped its final curtain March 11, 2020, having performed for 1.3 million guests with 825 performances (and 26 previews).

A musical stage adaptation of Disney’s 2013 mega-hit animated movie, the royal sisters from Arendelle resided at the St. James Theatre, grossing $155,193,552 (as of March 8).  Broadway’s variation of Frozen included additional musical performances to the iconic, earworm-inducing  songs from the original movie. The show had been nominated for numerous Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, and Tony Awards, including 2018 Tony nominations for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score.

Performances of shows on New York’s “Great White Way” have been shuttered since March 12, when theatres went dark in compliance with Governor Cuomo’s stay-at-home edicts. The Broadway League has since announced that shows will remain closed through at least Labor Day, and has begun extending refunds for shows through September 6th.

The North American Tour and international productions of Frozen in Australia, London, Tokyo and Germany are still moving forward, pending scheduling changes due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the financial and pandemic reasons for the show’s closing, Disney noted that the timing of the closing will allow the company to economically reuse the costumes and theatre props in other touring productions.

Disney juggernaut The Lion King (the top grossing Broadway hit of all time, running for 22 years since 1997, performing to more than 70 million people with 9,300 showings and six Tony awards including Best Musical) and Aladdin (running for six years since 2014, with more than 2,500 performances and a 2014 Tony for actor James Monroe Iglehart) are expected to retake the stage when Broadway reopens.

Ticketholders should receive automatic refunds, but further refund information is available at https://frozenthemusical.com/

Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

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