This year, Portland Stage’s biennial production of The Snow Queen comes on the heels of the Frozen phenomenon.[W]hen Portland Stage announced four years ago that it would shelve its stalwart holiday production of A Christmas Carol in alternating years to stage an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, some traditionalists balked. Nix Dickens for a B-list Danish fairy tale? Humbug! But critics and audiences praised The Snow Queen. In 2013, during its second run, the Portland Stage production opened at the same time as Disney dropped a little movie called Frozen, based on the same Danish story. The buzz around Frozen grew slowly, and the film didn’t become a bonkers global phenomenon until after Portland Stage’s show had closed.
Which means that this year’s The Snow Queen (Dec. 5–24, 207-774-0465, portlandstage.org) is the first that director Anita Stewart is staging in a post-Frozen America, and Portland Stage is (wisely) promoting its show as “based on the same story as Disney’s Frozen.” How do the two stack up? We took a cold, hard look.
Photo by Aaron Flacke, Courtesy of Portland Stage