I came home last night from Disney’s newest production, “Frozen”, teeming with excitement, acclaiming it to be one of my favorite Disney movie (which is a big deal, if you know me, because I am a huge Disney fanatic). Everything was flawless; the music was incredible, the characters were humorous and likable, and the storyline was spectacular, depicting the tale of two sisters that couldn’t be more different but are bonded by their love.
Yet somehow, I sat in the cushy chair in the dim theater feeling slightly uneasy, as if I’d seen it all before. The music seemed familiar to me and it struck me as the harmonies of Anna and Elsa floated towards my ears. The score mirrored “Wicked”, a musical that made it’s debut in 2003 that follows the lives of the Wicked Witch of the West, otherwise known as Elphaba, and Glinda the Good from “The Wizard of Oz”. The voices sounded similar too, which only made me love “Frozen” more because “Wicked” is my favorite musical (which is saying a lot, considering how much I adore theatre).
After stumbling out of the movie theater into the freezing weather that had me wondering if the Snow Queen from the film herself had turned Ohio into a Winter Wonderland, another revelation hit me. Not only does the music of the movie mirror “Wicked”, but the stories also parallel one another, specifically the characters of Elsa and Elphaba.
The story of “Wicked” shows that the malevolent, flat character of the Wicked Witch isn’t so wicked after all, despite what Dorothy may say. We see the green teen known as Elphaba go through her college years struggling with this power inside of her that she just can’t seem to control. However, she finds hope when she meets an unlikely friend, commonly known as Glinda the Good, and when she is summoned to meet the Wizard of Oz, who plans on using her power. When she discovers the Wizard’s truly evil intentions, she refuses to work with him and he turns Oz against her, condemning her as being evil. She is outcasted and despised by many.
Elsa and Anna are princesses in Disney’s “Frozen”. Elsa possesses the power of winter: snow, ice, etc. She hides in shame of this power because she fears how it will harm others, but is forced to face the public when crowned as queen. When she is exposed for who she truly is, she hides away in a secluded mountain and creates an eternal winter. She never had the intentions of harming anyone and all she wanted to be was alone. However, the people in her kingdom weren’t about to let that happen. They saw her as a monster, a freak of nature, a nuisance to society.
Two kind-hearted girls outcasted from society due to their inability to control their powers? I’d say that Elsa and Elphaba are one in the same, not to mention that their names sound nearly the same. The similarities don’t stop there, however.
Glinda is glorified by the Wizard, making her look like an angel in the eyes of the public. She never stops caring about Elphaba, though, and never stops doubting her goodness. Anna is praised when she begins a trek to find her sister to end the eternal winter. She still believes in her sister, despite what others say.
Both are betrayed by their close companions that they trust. Elphaba runs away with Glinda’s fiancé, wedging a barrier between them. Elsa accidentally sends a shot of ice into Anna’s heart, harming her physically and breaking the trust Anna had instilled into her sister. In the end, they overcome this betrayal and still offer themselves to save their best friends. Glinda begs Elphaba to let her tell the truth to the people of Oz when they plan to slay her and Anna throws herself in front of a sword controlled by the antagonist to protect her sister.
Here’s the biggest piece of evidence that bonds these two musical adventures together: Idina Menzel, the woman who played Elphaba in Broadway’s original production of “Wicked”, voices Elsa in “Frozen”.
Crazy, right? Idina Menzel took on two roles that were the epitome of the loneliness of being exiled, but also demonstrated kindness and being a true friend. That says a lot about Ms. Menzel, her character, and the powerful message she is conveying.
In conclusion, if you haven’t seen “Frozen” or “Wicked”, go see both because you’ll learn a lot from a white-haired snow queen or a green-skinned witch, otherwise known as the lovely and talented Idina Menzel.
(For the record, I think it was completely unnecessary for Demi Lovato to record a remake of “Let It Go” from “Frozen” for the credits–Idina Menzel’s voice is flawless for this song and personally, I think her version is better.)