The highly anticipated musical production of ‘FROZEN — Live at the Hyperion’ at the Hyperion Theater in Disney California Adventure will start performances this Friday with a splashy press debut tomorrow and the cast and crew have been hard at work on the spectacle that will be this new show.
In a world where diversity in entertainment is a hot button issue, Disney has long been a trailblazer in nontraditional, or colorblind casting for various roles. Recent casting announcements have confirmed that Disney is continuing the Hyperion tradition of colorblind casting in the new Frozen musical.
Characters in the show including Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Oaken, and the Duke of Weselton have been cast in the show with both white and non-white actors.
The Wonderful World of Disney ABC TV movie of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella broke the mold in 1997 as pop star Brandy stepped into the glass slippers. With Whitney Houston as her Fairy Godmother, Paolo Montalban as the Prince and a diverse set of supporting characters, Cinderella made waves at the time and achieved record ratings.
In 2003, Disney unveiled its first stage adaptation of Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular at Disney California Adventure and the show opened with a diverse cast, including Michael K. Lee as Aladdin, DeeDee Magno Hall as Jasmine and Orville Mendoza as Genie among the rotating list of performers. Throughout its run, nontraditional casting remained a staple as hundreds of other performers came through the doors of the Hyperion Theater.
In Disney’s The Little Mermaid on Broadway, the casting of several roles in the show upped the diversity of the cast including Norm Lewis as King Triton and a diverse ensemble as Ariel’s sisters. Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast made headlines in 1998 when Toni Braxton and Meshach Taylor took over the roles of Belle and Lumiere, respectively. More recently, the Broadway and touring casts of Newsies have employed colorblind casting for several roles.
‘FROZEN — Live at the Hyperion’ opens officially on May 27, 2015 at the Hyperion Theater in Disney California Adventure.
Creative casting is silly. They’re playing well-established versions of well-known characters. They should resemble who they’re portraying. This cast isn’t color-blind. And anyway, I don’t want to be color-blind. We SHOULD see people as different, just not treat them differently because of it. This whole thing is just a huge publicity stunt, as if this project needs it, but hey, it’s working.
Standing by for a blonde Jasmine, a Chinese Ariel and a white Tiana (oh wait… that last one would be racist…).