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Community Players gets chilly with performance of Disney's "Frozen, Jr."
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Community Players gets chilly with performance of Disney's "Frozen, Jr."

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Beatrice should expect a cold front emanating from Community Players this weekend, as the Stars of Summer students prepare to perform Disney’s “Frozen, Jr.”

The show brings to life the enchanting 2013 modern classic, as sisters Anna and Elsa face frigid danger, and discover the hidden potential and powerful bond of sisterhood.

“Frozen, Jr.” is the latest production from Community Players’ Acting Up program. Acting Up began in 2011 as part of the theater’s focus on educational outreach, and teaches students about all aspects of putting together a show.

Tyler Rinne, Community Players’ Associate Artistic Director, said the program is usually meant for 8-15 year-olds, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic delaying this production, 16-year-olds were allowed to participate this year, as well.

“I think it’s just one of those modern Disney classics that kids want to play those characters, and it’s been really exciting for our audiences to want to see, as well,” Rinne said. “This version of the show, specifically, has a lot of extra songs in it, and some really fun songs. There’s a really cute dance number towards the middle with the Oaken family that is all about hygge, which is about looking at the positive side of your situation, as well as some songs that really show a deeper meaning for all of the characters.”

Playing the closed off ice queen, Elsa, is Cecily Wiedel.

Wiedel said an added song to the production, “Dangerous to Dream”, helps add to Elsa’s character and how she’s feeling before her coronation.

“Elsa is basically fully introverted by her parents because of the power she was given as a baby. And when she is being coronated, she finally gets to talk to her sister and it’s overwhelming for her because she’s never had human interaction since she was seven or eight. And when she messes up, she feels it’s her fault and she runs,” Wiedel explained.

Playing the friendlier and outgoing sister, Anna, is Bailey Schwab.

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“In the end, she kind of figures out who she is, and she just likes to share her light everywhere she goes…We get to be Disney princesses, which is so much fun, and we get to do every little kids dream,” Schwab said. “We get to go up on stage and just sing our hearts out, and we get to share joy and light with everyone around us, and I think that’s a really great opportunity.”

Callen Behrends appears as the ice harvester Kristoff, while his reindeer Sven is brought to life by Ashton Hofeling-Hyberger. Magical snowman Olaf is played by David Maurstad, and Jonah Erikson portrays the suspiciously charming prince Hans.

Additional cast members include JaeLeigh Askew, Avery Busboom, Carter Craven, Neeley Duff, Marie Erikson, Iza Kaufman, Moonshine Kaufman, ClaraAnn Kirkendall, Hayley Kuhlman, Carlee Kujath, Collin Mann, Eloise Maurstad, Ryleigh McColery, Tandon Paben, Sofie Poole, Ethan Rosenthal, Addison Schafer, Mallory Schwab, Chris Slama, John Slama, Marie Slama, Natalie Stander, Brielle Toland, Leena Tunink, Sophia Tunink, Arianna Vasquez, and Ivory Vasquez. 

The production is directed by Rinne, with music direction by Katie Umland.

“It’s been nice to work with the kids in that capacity and have a nice, big ensemble group on stage again. One of the cool things I like about this program is the broad range of ages,” Rinne said. “I love seeing those older kids take the really young ones under their wing and teach them what’s expected of them on stage, not just here but anywhere, and also help them build the confidence and just have fun together.”

Wiedel said she hopes audiences leave the show learning that love is more than it seems, that you can love anyone and that you have to trust those you love.

“You have to go through the hard times in order to get there and build relationships with people,” Schwab said. “And I think this show just shows a lot of heartfelt moments with family. In the end, the overall message I would say is everyone is one. We’re all a big family, we’re in this together, show a bunch of love to people.”

The magical musical opens Thursday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. and runs July 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m., and July 24 and 25 at 2 p.m. 

Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $8 for children and students, and can be purchased at the box office, located at 412 Ella Street, which is open weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. and two hours prior to performances.

Reservations can also be made by calling 402-228-1801, or online at www.beatricecommunityplayers.com.

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