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Palace Youth Theater in Lorain brings 'Frozen' to life on stage – jj

Palace Youth Theater in Lorain brings 'Frozen' to life on stage


A July heat wave did not discourage young actors who will bring Disney’s smash hit “Frozen” to a Lorain stage.

The Palace Youth Theater will perform the live action “Disney’s Frozen Jr.” for the company’s 42nd annual summer production.

Shows start at 7 p.m., July 26 and 27, and 2 p.m., July 28.

Tickets cost $12 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors.

The 2013 movie earned millions at the box office and critical accolades, including Academy Awards as best animated feature and for the song “Let It Go.”

Palace Youth Theater had a unique opportunity to stage the musical’s area premiere, said Producer Jodi Bailey, who also is president of the company, and Director Justin Bilewicz.

The movie was wildly popular, but the stage play has not yet become widespread itself.

Normally, the shows become available for youth or community theaters once the plays have ended their Broadway stage runs, Bailey said.

For “Frozen Jr.,” it was odd for the rights to become available while the musical still is playing in New York, she said.

A national tour with a professional troupe will not hit the road until later this year.

“So, we purchased those rights immediately,” she said. “And what’s cool about it is, we’re the first in Northeast Ohio to do the show.

“With the show being on Broadway, we thought it was very unique that we got the rights for it. We’re very excited to do this.”

The show has strong female lead characters for young women, said Bilewicz, now directing his fifth show for Palace Youth Theater.

The popularity of the movie doesn’t hurt.

“Everybody loves Disney,” Bilewicz said. “This is a very hot show. It’s very entertaining.”

The production also requires some technical flair.

It will have moving stage elements and costume reveals in the middle of songs, Bilewicz said.

The characters Olaf, a snowman, and Sven, a reindeer, will be portrayed by puppets — life-size, wearable figures with actors inside them.

Bilewicz credited Jacob Whitson of Imaginos Productions LLC for creating the costumes.

“For an audience and young actors to see that, is kind of amazing,” Bilewicz said.

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The Lorain Palace Youth Theater program will stage “Disney’s Frozen Jr.” for this summer’s annual production. The company is producing the northeast Ohio premiere of the stage version of the smash hit movie “Frozen.”

The family friendly show runs about one hour and 45 minutes, with intermission.

The plot stays true to the movie, but the junior shows tend to have shorter playing times than the theatrical and movie versions, Bailey said.

However, the popular songs “Let It Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” remain in the production, she said.

The cast

The local production has 45 children in the cast and nine staff.

Palace Youth Theater has actors ranging in ages 8 to 18 from around Lorain County, Bailey said.

This season, actor Alana Snowden will finish her 10th and final year with the program, while dance captain Tori Bucci will complete her 11th and final year.

Cast and crew rehearse from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, for the length of the summer program.

The students engage in daily classroom lessons about theater.

Topics include acting, singing and dancing, improvisation, makeup, puppetry and various elements of producing a stage.

The players learn about character sketches and becoming that character on stage.

“They learn all different kinds of things,” Bailey said. “It’s a very intense six-week program.”

The cast had a chance to rehearse by singing at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.

“We try to teach the kids, ‘yes, this is fun and great,'” Bailey said. “But there are kids that are not able to do this, and we want to kind of give back.

“And they loved it. Loved it.”

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