Interview with Disney's Frozen star Patti Murin
There simply couldn't be a better casting for the role of Anna - the endearing, younger sister of Snow Queen, Elsa - in Disney's latest Broadway musical Frozen than the equally endearing Patti Murin. Bringing a Disney Princess to life on stage as an original Broadway cast member is an honor only a handful of actresses can claim and not only does Ms. Murin get to delight audiences eight times a week with her renditions of popular tunes from the two-time Oscar-winning animated classic such as "Love is an Open Door," "For the First Time in Forever," and "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?", but she also gets to introduce them to several new musical numbers, penned especially for the Broadway adaptation by the film's composers Robert Lopez and Kristen-Anderson Lopez. In particular, her emotionally-charged ballad "True Love" towards the end of Act II is a gift from musical theatre heaven.
Of course, starring in Disney's Frozen at Broadway's St. James Theatre has also catapulted Ms. Murin's career to lofty new heights. She made her Broadway debut in the 2007 premiere of Xanadu and would return to the Great White Way as the title character in the short-lived premiere of Lysistrata Jones in 2011, before joining the National Tour of Wicked as Glinda in 2012. She has also appeared off-Broadway in Playwrights Horizons' 2014 production of Fly By Night and in the 2013 "Shakespeare in the Park"t production of Love's Labour's Lost, and on television as Nina Shore in NBC's "Chicago Med," but Frozen is undoubtedly the career-defining credit on her ever-growing résumé.
We recently caught up with Ms. Murin to find out what's happening behind the scenes at Arendelle...
So you’re a few months into the Broadway run of Frozen now. Is everyone still living in harmony backstage at the St. James Theatre?
Oh yes! We’ve been out-of-town together at the out-of-town tryouts, so if people didn’t like each other, we’d know by now. But no, it’s still just a big love fest! (Laughs)
Now that Opening Night has come and gone and you’re fully into the routine, what’s the best part about doing this show eight times a week?
There’s still a lot of excitement because now we get to do the show and kinda interact with the audience a lot more. We can do all the stage door stuff and we’re getting all these great letters and notes and gifts at the theatre. I would say that the best part is that the audience is so excited and so supportive. No matter how tired you get, at the end of the night, when you come out of the stage door and there’s all those excited people who want to say “Thank You” and get your autograph, that’s what we’re doing it for now.
How would you describe the typical audience for Frozen? Is there a typical one?
No, actually not at all. Obviously, the matinees tend to skew a little bit younger and there’s a lot of kids – which is also exciting because for many of them, it’s their first Broadway show! That means a lot to us because we all remember our first Broadway shows. But then, the evening shows, there’s not a kid to be seen. It’s mostly adults and people out on date nights or out with a group of friends. So it really varies.
I have to say one of my favorite moments in the show – and perhaps one of the most moving moments – is your number “True Love”. Everyone knows those famous songs from the animated movie, but can you tell us a bit more about the new music that has been written especially for the Broadway show?
Ahh thank you. Well, Bobbie Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote 12 new songs for the Broadway musical and I think they blend seamlessly with the ones from the film to the point I have to ask myself now: “Wait, was that one in the movie?... No, that’s a new one!” The new songs expand the story and expand the characters. You see their points of view and get to journey into their minds a little bit more. That was the main point of all of the new songs. I have a new duet with Jelani Alladin, who plays Kristoff, called “What Do You Know About Love?” which is a metaphor but physically they’re also climbing a mountain whilst arguing about love. It’s exciting to see their relationship kicking off with that kind of banter. And then there’s “True Love” which is my solo in the second act.
It’s a tear-jerker, I tell you…
Yeah. It’s basically Anna accepting the fact that she’s going to freeze to death and she looks back on the life that she’s lead and the choices she made. She takes responsibility and still manages to find the positivity in it.
And finally, you mentioned that for a lot of youngsters, Frozen will be their first Broadway experience. For everyone else, if there’s just one thing you wish for them to leave the theatre with, after seeing Frozen, what would it be?
I hope that it’s the message of love – and not necessarily romantic love. Loving someone else can be a very powerful thing and allowing yourself to abandon yourself to that love is what’s going to change the world little by little.
Disney's Frozen Tickets are available now for performances through to March 9, 2019.