ISM Stories

ISM Students Ready to Warm Hearts with Disney’s Frozen Jr.

The cold never bothers Minnesotans anyway... at least, not when we’re getting to see our very own students warm up the stage! This month, The International School of Minnesota is recreating the magical kingdom of Arendelle in Disney’s Frozen Jr.

Each year, ISM students and the Performing Arts department create a production that never fails to dazzle our school and local community. With a cast and crew of 34, we have a healthy mix of lower school and upper school students—both veterans and first-time performers. Director James Lekatz adds that “Not only did we double our cast from last year, but this is the largest number of siblings I’ve ever directed in a production.

With three sets of siblings making up 20 percent of the production, Frozen Jr. truly is a family affair. Twin sisters Minjun and Yewon Jang help keep the show in line as crew members, while another set of siblings, Zyva, Saher, and Aayan Iqbal, take the stage as cast. Though some sets of siblings stick to similar roles, siblings Quinn and Elizabeth Mark went in opposite directions. Elizabeth memorizes lines as a cast member and Quinn “likes helping backstage to make sure everyone gets to where they need to be” as the Assistant Stage Manager. This year’s production team took the meaning of “family-friendly” to the next level.

This Spring’s show has opened the doors for old performers to continue to hone in on their craft while giving newcomers the opportunity to learn the ropes, both on stage and behind the scenes. Long-time performer and Elsa in Frozen Jr, Siena Becchetti, loves being part of musicals because it gives her a chance to interact with students in other grades. She also says: “I have always loved being on stage. I’ve also been a theater kid since 3rd grade, and I don’t intend on stopping now.

Not only does the spring musical provide students with opportunities to grow their production skills, but it bridges the gap between grade levels. 8th grader Emma Tan says, “It’s fun to work with people from all different grades and get to know people more. It’s great how inclusive the musical can be.

Although Frozen Jr. is an hour-long adaptation of the movie and musical that you know and love, Lekatz says the show may surprise viewers: “At certain moments of the show, heightened theatricality appears. These types of moments in movies don’t work; only in theater can they translate to an audience to show new perspectives on characters, internal conflicts, stage atmosphere, and storytelling.

Quinn Mark adds, “The chaos backstage with each production is always different” and in order to create the theatrics Lekatz talks about, our production team relies heavily on our crew members to keep the ship sailing. The audience will no doubt see how much effort the cast has put in for the set and dance numbers.

For this production, rather than having a live orchestra pit of a few musicians, this production uses pre-recorded tracks of a FULL Orchestra,” says Lekatz. “While there are pros and cons to having a live orchestra, this music sounds incredible in the PAC, and sounds like the music you would expect.

ISM’s student body has spent the last several months creating “frozen magnets” for sale outside of the show in our very own version of the Arendelle Market. The market will also feature special treats from ISM Executive Chef Ted Norris that are made in house.

ISM is also offering additional engagement opportunities after the performance on Friday, March 30, as interested attendees can stay for a Backstage Tour and Q&A.

After the matinee performance on Saturday, April 1, showgoers are invited to attend the Arendelle After-Party where they can participate in a dance party, build their own (dessert) snowman, meet their favorite characters, and take photos. If you have plans other than coming to see our first-class performers, you should “let them go” and make room for an adventure to Ardendelle.

Tickets—$15 for adults and $8 for students, $10 for the Arendelle After-Party—may be purchased online or at the door, with performances at 7:00 p.m. March 30, 31, and April 1 and 2:00 p.m. on April 1 and 2 in the school’s state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center.

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