The much-anticipated Australian premiere season of the hit Broadway Disney musical ‘Frozen’ is playing the Capitol Theatre in Sydney.
Based on the 2013 film written by a trio of Oscar winners which has been labelled the “first feminist fairy-tale” and “the most progressive Disney movie ever”, ‘Frozen’ shattered the antiquated stereotypes of passive, submissive, damsel-in-distress female characters, instead celebrating sisterhood over the traditional romantic male-female love narrative.
Courtney Monsma, who performed in the Australasian tour of Disney’s romance-heavy ‘Aladdin – The Musical’ will make her leading lady debut in the pivotal role of Anna when the musical hits Sydney.
“Normally when you are playing a [lead female] role, your journey – even if you’re not with the male love interest on stage – is thinking about the love interest, or thinking about following the man, or going on the journey to get the man, or being there for the man,” she says.
Caissie Levy (Elsa), Patti Murin (Anna) and the Company of 'Frozen' on Broadway. Image © Deen van Meer
“But with ‘Frozen’, my whole show is chasing and saving my sister and bringing us back together, and it is really refreshing to have that mindset. It is really nice to experience that moment on stage where I am weighing up the male love interest and family, and it really puts out that theme that sisterhood is super important.” Expanding upon and deepening its groundbreaking themes of self-belief, resilience and empowerment, ‘Frozen’ follows the freedom from confinement and oppression of Elsa (played by one of Australian musical theatre’s most prominent leading ladies, Jemma Rix) and her sister Anna.
“To play a strong female role is so incredible and it is so current,” Courtney says. “Being a part of this opportunity and sharing it with Jemma, I’m noticing how that beautiful woman energy is fuelling my role.”
Having the freedom and ability to be yourself, and the love and acceptance of others, are key themes of ‘Frozen’ – and for Courtney these messages are most powerful in the moments after Elsa flees the kingdom of Arendelle once her magical powers are revealed.
“Everyone is freaking out, and the prince that Anna has just confessed her love for says to her [about Elsa], 'How can you trust her?' And Anna replies, 'Because she’s my sister'. And I think that line sums up everything about the show.”
Jemma Rix and Courtney Monsma (playing Elsa and Anna)
While children and especially young girls are arguably the target audience for ‘Frozen’, Courtney says, “I don’t think ‘Frozen’ is just for the female gaze. I think it’s for everyone in the sense that you don’t need to be saved by a man or someone, but rather sometimes the thing that you need is to find it within yourself or the people close to you like your family.
“[And] the live show is such an example of the story being for everyone,” she continues. “I can sit there and enjoy every single moment the same, if not probably more so, than I would as a child.
“[So] while I do think it is important, especially for women, to come and be empowered by the show, it is definitely very empowering for all genders, and I’m glad that it is here at this time. It’s a beautiful sense of escapism.”
Disney's ‘Frozen The Musical’ plays the Capitol Theatre from 1 December.