Mahar’s ‘Frozen Jr.’ performances start May 3

Students rehearse a scene from “Frozen Jr.” at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange.

Students rehearse a scene from “Frozen Jr.” at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Students rehearse a scene from “Frozen Jr.” at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange.

Students rehearse a scene from “Frozen Jr.” at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Students rehearse a scene from “Frozen Jr.” at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange.

Students rehearse a scene from “Frozen Jr.” at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The cast of “Frozen Jr.” on stage during rehearsal at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange.

The cast of “Frozen Jr.” on stage during rehearsal at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Some of the cast of “Frozen Jr.” on stage during rehearsal at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange.

Some of the cast of “Frozen Jr.” on stage during rehearsal at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Students rehearse a scene from “Frozen Jr.” at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange.

Students rehearse a scene from “Frozen Jr.” at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 04-12-2024 1:20 PM

Modified: 04-12-2024 5:02 PM


ORANGE — It appears all COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in the kingdom of Arendelle.

Students in Ralph C. Mahar Regional School’s Theater Department in 2020 were about six weeks away from the opening night of “Frozen Jr.” when the production was shut down due to restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Four years later, many of those youngsters have graduated and a new group of thespians is working on the abbreviated version of the beloved Disney film.

“We’re ready to go. They know the whole show,” Director Julie Bouchard said during a rehearsal in the Kermit Cook Auditorium this week. “Everybody’s off-book at this point.”

This year’s rehearsals started on Jan. 21, with a two-weekend, five-night run set to start on May 3.

Like its full-length counterpart, “Frozen Jr.” tells the story of two sisters — Elsa and Anna — who work together to save their kingdom after a spell traps it in perpetual winter. Each sister is portrayed by three different actresses during different chapters of the characters’ lives.

This is the first Mahar play for Arabella Malo, who plays adult Elsa alongside Audrey Elwood, who plays adult Anna.

“I’ve been learning a lot. This is my first year,” Arabella said. “My brother [plays] Kristoff and he was Grandpa Joe in the ‘Willy Wonka’ play, and so I saw how much fun they were having, and my other brother was in it, too. So I was like, ‘I want to do something with the family.’

“I think it’s really a good story between sisters, and Audrey’s a really good friend of mine. So I think it’s fun that we’re both doing it together,” she continued.

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The production is a Malo family affair, with Alexander playing ice harvester Kristoff, Brinley playing middle Elsa and Colton serving in the ensemble.

The “Frozen” media franchise is near and dear to many young people’s hearts, and Audrey said it is surreal to play a character she has loved since she was a child.

“It’s a lot different,” she said. “It’s weird knowing a part your whole life and then having to act that way, when I don’t necessarily act like Anna does. I’m more like Elsa and I find that [Arabella’s] more like Anna.”

Bouchard said although COVID-19 has been kept at bay during this year’s rehearsals, her cast has been dealing with some serious injuries. Most notably, Audrey tore a meniscus and an ACL during a basketball game.

“She has been just driving through this, like, unstoppable, shows up every day. She’ll be having surgery after the show, going to physical therapy to do what she needs for work,” Bouchard said. “I’ve really, actually, never had to deal with a severe injury like Audrey has. But we have got clearance from the doctor that she’s OK. She will have to be in a leg brace, but it hasn’t stopped her.”

Any play with the “Jr.” suffix is crafted to be more appropriate for the young people performing it. Bouchard said the plays are typically shorter in length, consist of fewer songs and come with a CD of all musical accompaniment.

“It’s nice for the younger audiences. When you have a younger audience, especially when you do family shows, you can’t have kids sit here for … two and a half, three hours,” she said. “So with our 20-minute intermission, it’s going to run for about an hour and a half, an hour and 40 minutes.”

Shows are set for 7 p.m. on May 3, 4 and 10, and for 2 p.m. on May 5 and 11. Tickets, which are $15, are available at the door and at tinyurl.com/FrozenJrMahar.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.