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ShowTickets Q&A: Caroline Innerbichler of the ‘Frozen’ North American Tour

Category Broadway

|by Jeryl Brunner |


“It’s so rewarding to basically play yourself.”

Caroline Innerbichler stars as lovable, wise and goofy Anna in the North American tour of Broadway’s Frozen. Directed by Michael Grandage, with costumes and sets by Christopher Oram, the tour recently launched in Schenectady, New York. On Dec. 4th, the show officially opened at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. Frozen also goes to Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Tulsa, Dallas, Cleveland, Charlotte and Chicago, with more cities to be announced, and you can still see the original production on Broadway (score tickets from $66). The production also stars Caroline Bowman as Elsa, Austin Colby as Hans, F. Michael Haynie as Olaf, Mason Reeves as Kristoff, Jeremy Morse as Weselton and Collin Baja and Evan Strand alternating as Sven. Anna and Elsa even sing a new duet, “I Can’t Lose You.” Innerbichler’s credits also include Little House on the Prairie, Guys and Dolls, Mamma Mia!, White Christmas, The Sound of Music, The Pirates of Penzance, Grease, The Little Mermaid and Bye Bye Birdie.

Caroline Bowman (Elsa) and Caroline Innerbicher (Anna) star in the national tour of Frozen (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

Caroline Bowman (Elsa) and Caroline Innerbicher (Anna) star in the national tour of Frozen (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

What qualities does Anna have that you adore?
Caroline Innerbichler: Anna is such a joyful person. She's very silly. She is really goofy. She can be really weird. I feel relieved that I finally get to play a character who is as strange as I am. It’s so rewarding to basically play yourself. It's not a lot of hard work for me to access that type of character. I'm very lucky.

How did you first discover Frozen?
CI: I was in a production of Fiddler on the Roof at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre in Minnesota playing Chava. Sometimes, on two show days, our cast would see a movie at the movie theater next door. As musical theater nerds all of us were excited to see the new Disney musical. I remember when Anna popped up on screen. She had two red braids with bangs and I had my hair in two red braids with bangs. Everybody from my cast slowly turned down the aisle and looked at me. And I thought, yep. That’s pretty uncanny. I get it.

Hearing the music the first thing I thought was, “This needs to be on stage.” The songwriters, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Bobby Lopez know how to write for actors. Every phrase makes it easy to get your point across. Even rhythmically, there are beautiful pauses and inflections in there. It makes it easy to do your job, which is to tell the story through music.

Can you talk about how you found out you were cast as Anna?
CI: It was a long journey. I auditioned for the role about 14 times over the span of two years. I remember the final callback was on stage at the St. James Theater (where Frozen is now playing on Broadway). It was my first time getting to read with other actors, which was very exciting. Normally they have someone sitting there reading the other lines just so that the focus can be on who is auditioning for the role. I got to read with Caroline Bowman (Elsa) and Austin Colby (Hans). I remember thinking, “God, they're perfect for this.”

Getting the call was very surreal. I truly did not understand what Rachel Hoffman, the casting director from Telsey + Company, was saying when she offered me the part. She said, "We’re going to offer you the role of Anna." I was on 33rd Street and 8th Avenue with sirens blaring. I replied, "Are you sure you are positive?" Then I burst into tears. I called my mom, boyfriend and sister. It was one of those truly magical moments of being involved in theater and putting in so much work. There are all those nerves during the audition process and then I had the reward of booking and getting that phone call. It’s so emotional. I thought, I really did it. I worked so hard at this business. So when you get a win at this level, which I had never experienced, it was a very special moment for me.

Have you been on tour before?
CI: Exactly ten years ago I did Little House On The Prairie: The Musical. We rehearsed at New 42nd Street Studios (where Frozen also rehearsed.) This time, when I looked out the window and saw Madame Tussauds, I thought, “This was me ten years ago.” It's crazy.

What are you most looking forward to with the tour?
CI: Every community you visit is so different. There is already such a beautiful, warm, welcoming feeling from everyone. They are excited to see new art. I love receiving and absorbing energy in all the different cities. Also, I love visiting local museums, parks and going on hikes. I love all the local food and I am ready to eat barbecue in the South. All this combines my main loves, which is making theater, telling stories and traveling.

Do you have a tip for being on the road?

CI: Pack a lot less clothing, because you really don't need it. You wear the same sweatpants to the airport. You wear the same rehearsal clothes and then you have fancy clothes for all the opening nights or press. Also, self-care and rest are so important. You have to stay hydrated, eat the right food and sleep.

What was one of the first Broadway shows you ever saw?
CI: When I was 13, I came to New York for the first time from Minneapolis, Minnesota and saw The Producers with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. I was in the fourth row center. My mom's roommate from college knew the set designer, who is a Tony Award winner. So we got amazing seats. I remember Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick playing off of each other, trying to make each other laugh. The whole audience busted up with them. At that point, I was starting to do community theater and taking voice lessons and dance classes. That piece is just so funny and irreverent, and seeing it at that caliber with those stars was so incredible. Watching that live experience with the audience and characters laughing together was beautiful.

***

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