A talking snowman who dreams of summer, the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood, a princely suitor, a castle made of ice, magic trolls and snow! Frozen Jr. at Young Stars Theatre has it all! South Pasadena’s local youth theatre company, YST, is one of the very first companies in the country to produce the newly released Frozen Jr., the youth version of the breakout Broadway hit based on the Disney film and this Jr. version has all the irresistible songs, loveable characters and tear-inducing themes of loving yourself delivered by an earnest, young cast, singing their hearts out!
It’s the story of two young princesses, Elsa, who has mysterious ice powers, and her sister Anna, who is being kept in the dark about Elsa’s powers for her own safety. Tragedy strikes when their parents are lost at sea and the girls must fend for themselves and learn how to rule a kingdom. Once Elsa’s powers are exposed at her coronation, the townsfolk and powers that be turn against her causing her to flee, hiding herself away in an isolated ice castle of her own creation. Anna heads out to bring Elsa back, meeting an intrepid crew along the way, and eventually both young women learn to love and accept themselves, each other and recognize that true love, in all its forms, has the power to transcend and heal.
Jack Bennett, assisted by Ellia White and Cassy Nehring have done a fantastic job transforming Fremont Centre Theatre into a wintery fairytale with dynamic lighting design by Sam Phillips helping to create the magic of Elsa’s ice palace and transformation. As the headstrong Elsa, Ridley Downs is fierce while Sophia Marshall-Pelayo brings a lovely maturity to the role. Both nail the power ballad “Let It Go”, a show highlight for sure. As the sweet, wide-eyed Anna, Karen McGovern is absolutely charming and you just can’t take your eyes off Ava Broneer! Both actresses are hysterical assuming the role of Oaken in each other’s casts.
Corwin Daley brings his comedic chops to bear nicely as the “fixer upper” Kristoff, with Jacob Noveman giving the role a sweet, charming touch. Hans, the handsome prince, is played with elegance coupled with intensity by Jack Wisinski and surprising ferocity by Hudson Barone. The scene stealing Olaf the talking snowman is played with passionate abandon by Henry McLaughlin, last seen as the diminutive Lord Farquaad, and the inimitable Sophia Corral, last seen tearing it up as Donkey in Shrek.
As is custom with YST, you’ve got some of the littlest littles just singing for the back row and having the time of their lives on stage playing the little and middle versions of Anna and Elsa, the King and Queen, the Oakens, forest trolls and townsfolk. They are a darling ensemble that gives you your money’s worth!
Frozen Jr. continues at the Fremont Centre Theatre through May 26, 2019. As of May 16, tickets are still available for both Friday evening performances. There is always a stand-by line at the door for any cancellations. Tickets available at www.youngstarstheatre.org or at the door. Reservations recommended. Fremont Centre Theatre is located at 1000 Fremont Avenue in South Pasadena, California, 91030. (626) 269-3609