Disney’s Frozen: The Broadway Musical

Seeing a Broadway show is always an EVENT.

Even for someone raised in the New York City area, heading into the theater district for dinner and a show carries a special allure- a certain sense of excitement and glamour that is unmatched. The lights, the glitz, the historic theaters and world-class performances – what could possibly be better?

A flourish of Disney magic, perhaps?

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Disney’s Frozen on Broadway is an unforgettable experience. Exuberant, beautiful, transporting, and yes, magical.  

Your evening begins in the historic and elegant St. James theater, complete with crystal chandeliers, red velvet seats and “gilded” walls.

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Arriving to your seats, you find the stage before you beautifully wrapped in a carved wood border imported straight from Arendelle. As the curtains open, you are instantly transported into this faraway land and into the childhood of our two favorite sisters. The mini actresses that greet you set the first mood of the show: young Anna exudes excitement, energy, and fun, while Elsa is more reserved, wanting to follow the rules.  The girls’ portrayal of sisterly love and childhood innocence is profound and deeply impressive for such young talents.

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The unfolding storyline will not be a surprise to most audience members. And yet, there are countless new elements in this live production that will simply captivate. Stunning set pieces, original songs, and entirely new scenes have been created for a seemingly all-new experience. It goes without saying that the vocals and acting are top-notch, and the show is at times funny, touching, and exciting. The breathtaking visual effects – Disney’s forte- take the show to the next level.

As the story begins, the stage transforms from one scene to the next into the many rooms and courtyards of Arendelle Castle, with all its soaring windows, grand arches, and great halls. The stage seems to stretch endlessly high to accommodate the huge rooms and windows, and the stone walls magically expand, contract and glide across the stage to reconfigure the rooms. The action moves seamlessly from the girls bedroom to the glowing, candlelit ballroom, and then onto one of my favorite backdrops: the moonlit castle garden, filled with lush purple flowers growing in vines along the towering castle arches, as Anna and Hans fall in love.

As Elsa’s magic develops over the timeline of the story, so too do the dramatic and beautiful visual effects that both capture her magic and transform the stage from the warm and cozy castle into the frozen world that Arendelle becomes. Lighting is used in unique and spectacular ways to represent the icy flourishes of magical cold that Elsa sends flying across the land.  The fierce, windy ice bridge stretched across the stage was truly a work of art- I didn’t want that scene to end. Elsa is of course at her magical best in her Ice Palace, both while she is creating it and when she is defending herself against her foes. These effects are stunning. One of the most unique visual effects of the show was in the final scene when Elsa’s magic moves across a line of people, freezing them slowly in place until they seemingly form a small iceberg.

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photo via FrozenTheMusical.com

Another masterful element of the show was the creation of the non-human characters. Olaf, a fan favorite, is a puppet who is brought to life by a wonderful puppeteer who actually adds a new dimension to the character on stage. The trolls from the movie are presented as “Hidden Folk” – human actors transformed into other-worldly beings. And finally, Sven, the reindeer, was a beautiful creation with incredibly realistic movements and personality – good luck taking your eyes off of him.

The show ends with a fun surprise…here’s a hint:

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If you are wondering about what you might find at intermission, rest assured that opportunities abound to bring home a Frozen souvenir. A classic Disney shopping experience awaits in the lobby, with everything from high-end jewelry, stuffed Olafs, and clothing to themed drink cups and lollipops at the concession stand.

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It’s also worth mentioning that while the show is a perfect choice for children- and there were many children in the audience- my own two hard-to-impress teenagers were also captivated. The show has broad appeal.

As a natural skeptic, I had my doubts about whether the show would feel completely fresh and alive, given the fact that I know the story so well. After all, I’ve seen the movie countless times with my children and heard the hit-songs a gazillion times. I can confirm that this is not a concern. The show is a “must-do” for Disney fans as well as anyone else simply looking for a fantastic entertainment experience.

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This post originally appeared on PlusTheMagic.com , a blog about all things Disney.

Review was written by Amy with contributions from Zoe Swiss.


The Puzzle Parlour

With a steady supply of below-freezing temperatures in the forecast this winter, my family has been looking for some unique ways to have fun, stay warm and avoid cabin fever. We recently discovered one perfect solution: The Puzzle Parlour, a new escape room destination in White Plains.

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The Puzzle Parlour describes itself as a “live-action adventure unlike anything you have ever experienced”. For us, this description was 100% accurate! This was our first time trying an escape room, and it won’t be our last- the experience was an instant hit with the whole family. The premise is simple: immersive storytelling, teamwork, and puzzle-solving. The clock is ticking…you have one hour to solve the mystery and escape the room!

Several storyline experiences are offered at the Puzzle Parlour, but after a quick review of the options, we chose the adventure entitled “The Surgery”. Upon arrival, a member of the Puzzle Parlour team explained the backstory to us: it seems we had been enjoying the vacation of our lives when we unexpectedly woke from a groggy sleep in a dark, dismal operating room. As our guide explained the details, she led us down the hall and dropped us into the story by leaving us alone…in a room with no windows and several locked doors!puzzle parlour surgery clues

My family jumped into action, exploring the room. With plenty to see, touch and manipulate, everyone in the group was able to actively participate in discovering clues. The room was filled with interesting props, mysterious wall hangings, and fixtures which were not what they originally appeared to be. After a few minutes of intense discovery, we finally figured out a way to unlock the door…which led to another locked room! Our experience had four separate rooms in total, with each room presenting a completely different set of problems to solve, all while the clock ticked down.

One of the most fun parts of an experience like this is watching the true personalities of your group bubble to the surface. Who takes charge? It may not be who you expect! Who catches the tiny details that everyone else misses? Who cracks under the pressure, and who proves themselves worthy of becoming the next Sherlock?  You’ll have a blast watching it all unfold.puzzle parlour surgery

The Puzzle Parlour was a great way to spend an afternoon. It would be the perfect activity for a girls-night out, an employee team building exercise, a teenager’s birthday party or an afternoon with your family. And don’t worry about not being able to solve the puzzles: if you get stuck, hints are available. You won’t need to use them though…I have a feeling you are up to the challenge!

The Puzzle Parlour is conveniently located in the heart of downtown White Plains. For more information or to buy tickets,  visit the Puzzle Parlour at http://www.thePuzzleParlour.com.

Bannerman Castle: Adventure Awaits

A trip to Bannerman Castle, on Pollepel Island, has all the irresistible elements of a wonderful adventure. A boat, a castle, a hike amongst the ruins; some mystery, some history: a lovely afternoon.

A castle? On an island? In the middle of the Hudson River?

Now that I’ve discovered it, I wonder what took me so long to find it. Apparently, the castle and the island are two of the best kept Hudson River secrets.

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Who built it? Who lived there? How old is it?

The answers to these questions are fascinating and surprising, and for someone with an interest in history, these stories alone are worth the trip – but this adventure is so much more than history.

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Ready for your adventure? The fun begins as you board a boat in Beacon for the first leg of your journey. You’ll glide along the gorgeous Hudson River, passing Denning’s Point and the Hudson Highlands along the way, reaching the island about 30 minutes later. The Estuary Steward was our boat, and the ride along the Hudson was definitely part of the fun.

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Approaching the island from onboard the Estuary Steward

Once on Pollepel Island, you’ll meet your guide on the dock: a member of the Bannerman Castle Trust. Your guide will lead you on a walking tour of the island, and is guaranteed to be a wealth of knowledge about the people who lived here, beginning with the Native Americans who first used the island as a look out point. The story your guide will tell continues through the years of bootleggers, smugglers, and Revolutionary War involvement, and finally winds up at the time of Frank Bannerman –the man who built the castle, and a summer home, on the island. The castle is actually an armory, and the full story is worth the wait. Wes, our guide, was an exceptional storyteller who made the history funny, engaging and irresistible. When you start your tour, look for Wes!

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Wes, our guide -and an amazing storyteller

As you hike around the island, you’ll take in incredible views of Storm King, Breakneck Ridge, and even West Point in the distance. These are vistas you just can’t see anywhere else; this vantage point is unique and breathtaking. The ruins of the castle and the Bannerman summer home, with their crumbling brick and stone, evoke another time and place. The gardens are lovely and are being tended and expanded every week.

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Looking south from the island. Breakneck Ridge is on the left, Storm King is on the right, and West Point is directly down the river.

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Hiking from the house on the hill down to the water

Bannerman Castle is a MUST-DO! Bring your camera and book your tickets early. Tours do sell out.

Bannerman Castle is open to the public thanks to the non-profit organization Bannerman Castle Trust. Donations keep the island open for future tours – visit them on the web here:



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