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Q&A: Caissie Levy of ‘Frozen: The Broadway Musical’

Category Actor Spotlight

|by Matthew Wexler |

Meet the actress who plays Elsa in 'Frozen: The Broadway Musical'

One of the most anticipated shows of the season is  Frozen: The Broadway Musicaland audiences of all ages are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the wintry kingdom of Arendelle. Fans of the Academy Award-winning film will recognize familiar characters and also be treated to a host of new songs by Kristen Lopez-Anderson and Robert Lopez. All eyes are on Caissie Levy, the Broadway star playing Elsa, as the show arrives in New York City for a March 22 opening at the St. James Theatre.

Tackling the complex character of Elsa (and that infamous song “Let It Go”) is no small feat, but with five Broadway shows under her belt including Fantine in the revival of Les Misérables and Molly in Ghost, Levy is thrilled to be at the forefront of a story that tells the tale of two powerful women.

Caissie Levy stars in ‘Frozen the Broadway Musical’ (Photo: Caissie Levy)

Caissie Levy stars in ‘Frozen the Broadway Musical’ (Photo: Caissie Levy)

How has the stage adaptation of Frozen evolved since its Denver tryout earlier this year?
Caissie Levy:
We previewed for a month in Denver and rehearsed every day, putting in changes and tightening the show. What’s amazing about Frozen is that there was no need to rewrite major plot point or songs because they’re all brilliant, but there are twelve new songs that are genius and add so much more to the story.

What we really found in Denver is Elsa’s story. We get to see more of her before she has to flee and her relationship with Anna and the joy that exists between the two of them.

But overall, it was about making sure that the story is clear for people who haven’t seen the film. (There are a few of them out in the world!) It’s also very funny and very adult. It doesn’t just cater to children. It’s gratifying to see that play out with adult audiences.

What do you think is Frozen’s appeal for adult audiences?
Caissie Levy:
I just saw the twentieth anniversary performance of The Lion King and was just as moved and awed by it as I was in the late nineties. It’s so sophisticated —the set and the costumes — and that’s exactly what Frozen has going for it. You’re visually transported into this other world.

And there are also grown-up relationships. These two sisters have to figure out their baggage before they can find their way back to each other. It’s refreshing for me to be playing a role that’s not about a man. It’s nice to have this be about female empowerment, especially in this day and age.

You’re known for playing strong, resilient female roles — where do you think that personally comes from (besides just getting the gig)?
Caissie Levy:
 I think you get the gigs you’re supposed to get, right? I connect to navigating the hard and the soft in myself — the strength and the vulnerability. That’s what I tend to bring to the parts I play just by the nature of who I am.  With Elsa, it works because I identify with her a lot — this need to please everyone and put everyone ahead of myself is something I certainly struggle with.

I think the reason people love this character so much — men and women alike — is that she’s been taught from a very young age that the way she is naturally, is bad, is wrong, needs to be denied. We all know how that can turn out when you raise a child under that cloud. What I love about Elsa is that she makes peace with the mess and embraces her flaws, and of course, that’s the very thing that makes her powerful, makes her special, and she ends up doing good in the world.

Does the real-life Caissie prefer the beach or the winter?
Caissie Levy:
I’m a beach girl! I’m Canadian so I got away from that winter. Give me that beach!

Can’t wait to see Frozen: The Broadway Musical? Get your tickets on ShowTickets

Caissie Levy will also be playing a one-night-only, exclusive New Year’s Eve engagement at Feinstein’s/54 Below, December 31. Doors open at 9pm. Advanced reservations required.

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