GLEN GARDNER – There’s nothing better to warm your heart and soul on a frigid winter’s day than a hefty dose of “Frozen.”
The award-winning ShowKids Invitational Theatre (SKIT) will offer its rendition of the wildly popular Disney creation with six January performances of “Frozen JR.” in the Voorhees High School auditorium on Route 513 in Lebanon Township.
SKIT’s “Frozen JR.” debuts 2 p.m. Jan. 18, followed by another show that night at 7:30 p.m. The next show is 2 p.m. Jan. 19, along with performances at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25 and the finale at 2 p.m. Jan. 26.
SKIT, which has earned widespread acclaim for many of its past efforts, is typically pulling out all the stops for “Frozen JR.”
“You haven’t seen it until you’ve seen our version,” says Carolyn Newman, producer-director of the non-profit youth theatre troupe that’s earned 177 Perry Award nominations for New Jersey community theatre excellence. “This show is powerful, so much more spectacular than any other, except Broadway. It’s simply above and beyond anything else you’ve seen.”
Among the highlights of the show, which runs about one-and-a-half hours, will be a variety of special effects including animated screen projections and actual snowfall onstage, along with lavish costumes and the appearance of Sven the Reindeer, who’s made the trip all the way up from his winter home in Florida.
“We’re making this show as beautiful and strong as we possibly can,” says Newman, who founded SKIT in 1987. “It’s going to be wonderful and not to be missed for any person of any age.”
While “Frozen JR.” is appropriate for all ages, parents are requested that their young children sit quietly and enjoy the shows without distraction to other audience members. Age 3 is the recommended limit. Young guests will be able to meet and take photos with the cast members following the show.
The SKIT ticketing system can be accessed via showkids.org, allowing guests to select their seats and print their own tickets. The SKIT ticket office can be reached at 908-638-5959.
“Frozen JR.” is based on the original 2013 movie as well as the 2018 Broadway musical, bringing Elsa, Anna and the magical land of Arendelle to life onstage. The show features all the memorable songs from the animated film, with music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, along with five new tunes written for the Broadway production.
A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, “Frozen JR.” expands upon the sometimes-chilly emotional relationship and journey between princesses Anna and Elsa. When encountering danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the potent bond of sisterhood. They’re supported strongly by a cast of beloved characters who supply plenty of magic, adventure and humor to the show.
Bolstering the SKIT show is a bevy of volunteers, including three choreographers – Perry Award-winning Maria Mantak, Jaclyn A. Smith, a dance studio owner in Philadelphia, and Krisy Nasto, a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia pediatrician.
As usual, SKIT’s 45 actors participating in the production are high school-age and younger from mostly Hunterdon and Warren counties, with several lead roles double-cast.
Elsa, who sings the iconic “Let It Go,” will be portrayed by 17-year-old Allisa Conover of Ringoes during the Jan. 18 evening performance and the 2 p.m. shows Jan. 25 and 26. Abbie Griffin, 16, of Hillsborough, is cast as Elsa for the 2 p.m. shows Jan. 18 and 19 and the 7:30 performance Jan. 25.
Joining Conover in the “Summer Cast” (7:30, Jan. 18 and 2 p.m. Jan. 25 and 26) are Sera Bunca, 18, of Asbury, as Anna; Julianne Magistrado, 15, Washington, as Middle Anna; Maddie Nasto, 10, Mount Laurel, as Young Elsa; Emma Nasto, 13, Mount Laurel, as Young Anna; Aidan Lavigne, 16, Bethlehem Township, as Hans; Harrison Fox, 17, Phillipsburg, as Weselton; Dakota Krouse, 13, Alexandria Township, as Steward; Andrew Pedri, 9, Drums, Pa., as Olaf and Sabrina Bunca, 15, Asbury, as Mrs. Oaken.
Besides Griffin in the “Winter Cast” (2 p.m. Jan. 18 and 19 and 7:30, Jan. 25) are Hannah Willsey, 17, Clinton Township, as Anna; Olivia Terpin, 14, Clinton Township, as Middle Anna; Aubrey Whitmore, 11, Lebanon Township, as Young Elsa; Julia Morrissette, 13, Clinton Township, as Young Anna; Harrison Fox, 17, Phillipsburg, as Hans; Aidan Lavigne, 16, Bethlehem Township, as Weselton; Andrew Pedri, 9, Drums, Pa., as Steward; Dakota Krouse, 13, Alexandria Township, as Olaf and Abby Okupski, 17, Clinton Township, as Mrs. Oaken.
Portraying Sven the Reindeer for all the shows is Riley Conaty, 12, of Clinton Township.
This SKIT production is made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment of the Arts, through the funds administered by the Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission.