Disney animated features don’t have the strongest track record on Broadway. While The Lion King remains a monster hit and the Beauty and the Beast stage production, which folded in 2007, boasts Broadway’s eighth-longest run, others haven’t fared so well. The Little Mermaid adaptation was a flop, as were the live musicals based on Tarzan and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
As Frozen has ascended to become 2013’s fourth highest-grossing film, though, Big Mouse has begun the process of taking Anna and Elsa to the Great White Way. News of developing the movie into a Broadway play came as Frozen won the Golden Globes’ Best Animated Film prize and as the soundtrack knocked Beyonce off the number one spot on Billboard’s charts.
Given Disney’s initial efforts to hide the fact that the film was about two sisters — going so far as to bury its pair of female protagonists in snow and presenting them alongside male characters while giving Olaf the snowman center stage — the movie is a textbook case of the way Hollywood routinely underestimates the enthusiasm and sheer number of female audiences seeking girl- and women-centric entertainment. Positive word of mouth, likely due to Frozen‘s subversion of previous damsel-in-distress and prince-awaiting tropes, has made it an enduring box-office hit.
Despite the film’s (in my opinion) fairly unmemorable songs, Frozen just might belong on Broadway, alongside other female-friendly productions like Wicked and Chicago. Disney CEO Bob Iger was quick to make the Frozen adaptation not sound like a rush job, stating, “We’re not demanding speed. We’re demanding excellence.”