Dream Casting: Who will play Elsa in the West End production of Frozen The Musical?
| By Jade Ali
Frozen fever has touched every corner of the Earth at this point in time. When Disney’s animated film was released back in 2013, no one really anticipated just how big it would become. But the hype spread like wildfire and it now holds the record for the world's highest-grossing animated movie of all time. Considering how stage adaptations for such Disney Renaissance classics as Aladdin and The Lion King found overwhelming success, it was only a matter of time before Disney gave their most popular film the full Broadway treatment. Frozen The Musical opened on Broadway early last year and the feel-good show has managed to thaw even the iciest of hearts. Now at long last, the heartwarming Frozen musical has announced its long-awaited transfer to London's West End. But sadly, the wait isn’t quite over yet as the acclaimed musical won’t open its doors until Autumn 2020 when the Theatre Royal Drury Lane finishes its ambitious refurbishment project.
Until Frozen the Musical takes to the stage at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, we have plenty of time to speculate and learn the new songs written especially for this stage adaptation by the award-winning duo, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The big question now, however, is who will be cast in these beloved roles? The actors starring in the Broadway production were confirmed to be staying put in New York whilst a new cast will be put together in the West End. That means the role of everyone’s favourite ice queen is open…
But before we all grab our tiaras, let it go and take a look at who we’d think would make the perfect Elsa below.
Vicki Manser – Vicki already knows exactly how to play a powerhouse queen, in fact, she knows how to play three different queens already, as she is currently appearing in the Olivier Award-nominated SIX The Musical as alternates for Anne Boleyn, Anna of Cleves and Catherine Parr. Since graduating with a BA Honours Degree in Professional Dance and Musical Theatre from Urdang Academy in London, Manser has gone on to complete runs in the Olivier Award-winning Sunny Afternoon, Beautiful the Carole King musical where she covered the title role, and Swing in Bat Out of Hell. As well as her stage credits, Vicki has acted as Resident Choreographer at Sharpe Academy and has recently taken on the role as Artistic Director.
This is one multi-talented superstar that is rising through the theatre world with flare, her singing and dancing on par(r) with each other, both being equally incredible. Manser has proven herself to be a wonderful leading lady by alternating and covering various lead roles. Her talent that she is currently showcasing in the raved-about Six the Musical, which displays her ability to play multiple leading roles, is a testament to her skill and one that shouldn’t be overlooked. She looks great in a crown and more than deserves one all of her own via the role of Queen Elsa of Arendelle.
Idina Menzel – There’s probably a tad more emphasis on dream for this casting choice, but it’s wrong to have a list of dream Elsa candidates without her. Idina Menzel, for those of you who don’t know, is the voice behind Elsa in the animated film. She’s also a complete and utter Broadway legend. Menzel began her illustrious career when she originated the role of Maureen Johnson in the popular musical Rent. This was her first professional theatre job and, when the musical transferred to Broadway due to its popularity, it was her Broadway debut and earned her a Tony Award-nomination. She later reprised the role of Maureen for the film adaptation of Rent (2005). It was in 2003 that Menzel starred in Wicked on Broadway as Elphaba, for which she received a Tony Award (2004) for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. She later reprised the role when Wicked opened in the West End at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre in 2006. As well, as her successful career in musical theatre, Menzel also has a career as a solo artist and has six solo albums.
Idina Menzel has one of the most incredible voices in the world and plays a huge role in the success of Frozen’s iconic song ‘Let It Go’, which is arguably the pivotal moment of Frozen. Imagine just how incredible the songs written just for the stage musical would sound with the outstanding vocals from Menzel. She’s a queen in her own right already, so it’d be beyond perfect to have her take to the West End stage again and as none other than Elsa. We can only dream.
Natalie McQueen – You probably know this incredible leading lady from her current starring role as Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5 The Musical at London’s Savoy Theatre. The role was originated by Dolly Parton herself in the 1981 film and McQueen has stepped into the legend’s shoes with ease. Before she took on the role of everyone’s favourite backwoods barbie, McQueen recently finished a seven-month run in Kinky Boots, which was just over the road, at the Adelphi Theatre, where she played the role of Lauren. McQueen made her professional theatre debut at just the age of 8 when she played the role of Young Eponine in Les Miserables. Up until 2013, she worked in the music industry before returning to the West End to join the cast of Wicked, where she understudied and played Elphaba and Nessarose.
McQueen would be an incredible choice as Queen Elsa for sure. The role will require real leading lady strength and someone with strong pipes, and she offers this tenfold. Her talent is undeniable and it’s practically a certainty that she would lead a musical as big as Frozen with grace and icy power.
Izuka Hoyle – Here’s another already established queen for you. Hoyle played Catharine Parr as part of the original cast of Six the Musical. She also recently appeared in Sylvia alongside Beverly Knight at the Old Vic, Working at Southwark Playhouse and The Selfish Giant at Vaudeville Theatre. As well as her wowing us via her stage roles, she played Mary Setton in 2018 film Mary Queen of Scots, which was released in UK cinemas in January 2019 (and still showing, if you’re interested). Hoyle received the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Scholarship to attend Arts Educational Schools London and graduated in 2017, from which she jumped headfirst into a promising career. She’s definitely made a name for herself and it’s only just the start for this up and coming actress.
Frozen is already as big as any franchise can be and the musical, following the success over on Broadway, is likely to hit the West End by (snow)storm. It will, however, need a star to lead in the role as Elsa and Izuka Hoyle would bring so much to this queen. Her stage presence is strong enough to captivate an audience and she commands a stage effortlessly. Most recently, I had the pleasure of seeing her in Killer Queen at MTFestUK at The Other Palace and she had me utterly enchanted. Hoyle definitely has the capabilities, and then some, to take on such a demanding role!
Jodie Steele – Steele is no stranger to the theatre and her stage credits are simply astounding but it’s likely that you would recognise her from her role as Heather Chandler from Heathers the Musical at The Other Palace and again in its West End transfer at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Anyone who saw the award-winning Heathers the Musical would agree that Heather Chandler was certainly an ice queen and Steele was an absolute show-stealer in the role. She is currently starring in Rock of Ages Musical on its UK tour in the role of Sherrie Christian. Her previous credits include alternate Elphaba in the UK and International tour of Wicked, Myth (The Other Palace), Zelda (The Other Palace), Jesus Christ Superstar and War of the Worlds (Dominion Theatre).
Jodie Steele is going to continue to rise in the world of theatre and this leading lady will be desperately sought after. Her voice is unique and powerful, and she definitely has that ‘all eyes on me’ quality that the role of Elsa will require. Tickets to Frozen the Musical are already going to be in high demand when they go on sale, but the show would rise to new heights with Steele in the lead.
Miriam-Teak Lee – Having recently graduated from Arts Ed, Lee has seemingly eased her way into the theatre world after making her professional debut in On The Town at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, which saw her win Best Actress in a Musical at The Stage Debut Awards. She then went on to join the original cast of hit musical Hamilton as cover for Angelica, Eliza and Peggy. Lee has recently been announced in the lead of Max Martin musical & Juliet, which will come to the West End’s Shaftesbury Theatre in November 2019. This is one actress that isn’t playing around, and after everyone sees her as a leading lady later this year, the word will be out about just how talented she truly is.
There’ll be lots of people desperate for the role of Elsa and many people will have their own #DreamCast Elsa in mind, but consider the extraordinary talent that is Miriam-Teak Lee. If you aren’t aware of what this amazing actress can do then look her up, listen to her beautiful voice and understand that she was made to play the role of a queen. Lee’s going to go on to do great things and the role of Queen Elsa should and could be one of them.
Dare to dream with Disney's Frozen musical
These are just six dream Elsas that would each be brilliant in the role. They could all bring something different and equally as incredible to the part. It’s still a while until Frozen the Musical arrives at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in the West End and until then, dreaming and speculating is all we can do. Perhaps we’ve already hit the nail on the head with who your dream Elsa is, or perhaps you have someone 'Elsa' in mind. Either way, we’ll have to shiver in anticipation on this huge casting decision, but let’s be honest, we’re all still going to get tickets whatever the outcome.
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