Review: Northport Theatre Troupe’s Frozen Jr. – Frigid Fun

Isabella Fournier

Northport High School’s Theatre Troupe can be seen as a child of sorts to the school’s main theater club, the Northport Powdered Wigs. Historically, Theatre Troupe has produced lower budget, though high quality productions, from their home in the Little Theatre. 

However, like many clubs and performance groups in the school, they were hit hard by the emergence of Covid-19 in March of 2020. After a strenuous spring of lockdowns and a subsequent autumn came with a hybrid schedule, the performers jumped head-first into production when the coast seemed relatively clear of Covid in March of 2021. 

The spring version of Frozen Jr. was cast, rehearsed, and promptly canceled in a series of months that saw clubs struggling to adjust to a fully in-person school environment, jumbled sports schedules, and of course, the final push towards exam season. 

When the 2021 school year entered the rearview mirror, it seemed for a moment that the Theatre Troupe was finally ready to “Let It Go” in an attempt to move onto a new project. However, resilient as they are talented, and refusing to be deterred from the original musical, CJ Gray and Danielle Pothos salvaged the remnants of the spring production to create something fun, familiar, and frosty.

With Covid-19 prompting last minute casting switches and costume difficulties, my expectations going into Frozen Jr. were staunchly neutral. Prior to the lights dimming at Thursday’s performance, CJ and Danielle announced to the audience that the original cast members in the roles of Young Elsa and Olaf were unable to perform that night. Danielle would step in as Young Elsa, and another member of the cast stepped in as Olaf, learning the role that morning. 

This being the Theatre Troupe’s first production since 2019, the start seemed unpromising, but I was pleasantly surprised with the subsequent event over the next two hours.

The musical doesn’t start exactly like the movie, relying on more musical elements to showcase the relationship between royal sisters Anna and Elsa. Danielle and Elliote Salisbury are adorable and fun as younger versions of the two sisters, while Julia Weissman and Alex Curatolo give the two characters a little bit more depth as they’re pushed apart by the early events of the story. With this, the performance really picks up when Lacey Zaharis first takes the stage as an adult Anna. 

Bubbling like the animation coming to life, she enthusiastically sings and dances through her first few scenes. She’s exciting to watch and easy to root for as she quite literally walks into Scarlett McCann’s Hans. Scarlett — who is as charming in the role as she is subtly smarmy — and Lacey sweetly sing “Love Is An Open Door” with chemistry that’s reminiscent of a Hallmark meet-cute. It’s a scene and song that can only be described as fun. It’s enjoyable to witness the two exchange flirty dialogue, both fully in their character’s persona. 

Another actress who fully held her own is Isabella Corea as Elsa. She’s frigid to the other characters, yet easy to root for from the audience, despite only appearing in a few scenes until intermission. It’s Corea’s performance throughout Act Two that most-aptly embodies the title Frozen when her two showstopping solo numbers (“Let It Go” and “Monster”) quite literally send chills through the audience. 

Her vocals are as impressive as her subtle acting choices, which fully sell every choice Elsa makes from start to finish. Isabella and Lacey’s chemistry is electric as their voices meld together for “For The First Time In Forever (Reprise)” in a number that is an unexpected favorite thanks to their strong acting and voices. Corea is undeniably a talented actor with a beautiful voice, and she’s already been snatched up by Powdered Wigs in the lead female role of the upcoming production of Urinetown

Two other actresses who cannot be forgotten in the production are the double-Alex-duo of Alex Senior and Alex Curatolo as Kristoff and Olaf, respectively. 

Senior has a natural folksy charm to her stage presence and voice that works well in the character of the lovable ice harvester. Senior plays her own guitar and brings a warmth to the stage that perfectly contrasts the cooler charm that Scarlett initially introduced to Hans. It’s easy for the audience to see how Lacey’s Anna so quickly falls for the sweet iteration of Kristoff that Senior brings to the stage with her. 

The two vibrantly duet “What Do You Know About Love?” in a song that crackles with believable flirty-tension between the two, and they make sure to never leave the audience in short supply of a couple to root for throughout the story. 

Finally, beside an already talented cast, Alex Curatolo manages to thrust herself into the standout category with the likes of Isabella and Lacey thanks to her magnetically amusing performance as Olaf. Clearly talented in many ways, Curatolo comically steals the show with the odds stacked against her. Having learned the role the morning before the Thursday performance, she shines with charm and a comedy je ne sais quoi that doesn’t leave an un-amused face in the audience. 

It’s an enjoyable performance to witness, stacked with enough talented actors and singers to mostly overlook the production’s low budget. The lighting and sound quality is decent, though not great, and the sets are fairly minimal. 

The plot relies on magic which leaves the audience relying mostly on imagination and the thrill factor of watching actual actors on stage. The slight tech issues are mostly forgettable, as are the scene changes which sometimes go a bit past their soundtrack transitions. It’s less the fault of the Theatre Troupe and more a reflection of the things that unavoidably plagued their production, many of which they overcame. 

In the end, Frozen Jr. left many more positive emotions than negative. Gray, the stage manager of Powdered Wigs, clearly knows what he’s doing behind the scenes, and Pothos is clearly comfortable on-stage. The two are a powerful duo and they direct the show incredibly well, considering they’re both students — like the rest of the cast. 

Alex Curatolo is impressively funny and magnetic. Lacey sparkles like a sun and couldn’t be better suited as a Disney Princess. Isabella sings and holds herself with the composure and talent only worthy of the queen she plays. They are all talented and overcompensate tenfold for the things that were weaker in the production. It’s a fun reminder of how enjoyable live theatre is, and why we missed it so much during the pandemic. 

All in all, I look forward to buying tickets to their spring production.