From the producer of “The Lion King” and “Aladdin” comes “Frozen,” the Tony-nominated for Best Musical show, now on tour across North America and headed for Charlotte June 15-26.  

Heralded by The New Yorker as “thrilling” and “genuinely moving,” “Frozen” features the songs many know and love from the original Oscar-winning film, plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers by the film’s songwriters, Oscar winner Kristen Anderson-Lopez and EGOT winner Robert Lopez.

Oscar winner Jennifer Lee (book), Tony and Olivier Award winner Michael Grandage (director), and Tony winner Rob Ashford (choreographer) round out the creative team that has won a cumulative 16 Tony Awards.

An unforgettable theatrical experience filled with sensational special effects, stunning sets, costumes, and powerhouse performances, “Frozen” is everything you want in a musical: It’s moving. It’s spectacular. And above all, it’s pure Broadway joy.

The storyline in the stage production is much the same as it was in the award-winning movie. Set in the kingdom of Arendelle, a young princess named Elsa prepares for her coronation as queen while harboring an icy secret: she has exceptional powers.

While Elsa tries to withdraw from society, her sister, Anna, teems with excitement and romance over the thought of exploring and experiencing the world around her.

After the coronation ceremony goes awry, Anna sets out on a journey to reunite with her sister, accompanied by ice harvester Kristoff (who’s a bit of a fixer-upper), his reindeer Sven, and Olaf, a hilarious and heartwarming snowman.

Among the members of the cast are Caroline Innerbichler (Anna), Caroline Bowman (Elsa), Mason Reeves (Kristoff) , Collin Baja (Sven) and F. Michael Haynie (Olaf).

There’s also someone you just might know: his name is Tyler Jimenez, he’s a 29-year-old native Charlottean and he appears in multiple ensemble parts, as well as a substantial supporting role as Pabbie, the adoptive father of the character Kristoff.

As a young student, Jimenez attended one of Charlotte’s public magnet schools.

He confirms that he came from a musically inclined family and frequently spent time with his father singing.

His interest in performance and theater began there and continued in public school.

“I gravitated towards the kids in the drama club and theater because there wasn’t a music program, and the other kids in that group were the only ones that didn’t bully me,” he remembers. “I felt safe. And people didn’t care who you were or how you acted. They just wanted to explore creativity. So I stayed. And I came to love it.”

Eventually his parents decided it was time to help their son explore his budding talents by enrolling him in an environment that would allow him to blossom: the Northwest School of the Performing Arts.

“I loved it there,” he recalls. “It was such a wonderful experience to be able to immerse yourself in the creative arts and focus on your particular interest.”

During those years and in some that followed, Jimenez appeared in plays produced by Theater Charlotte, CPCC, Davidson Community Theater, Children’s Theater, and the UNC School of the Arts, among others. He later went on to attend Syracuse University in New York, but not before he had the opportunity to experience life as a young member of the LGBTQ community here in Charlotte.

“It definitely molded who I am today,” he explains. “I was fortunate. I always had very supportive parents, so I was involved with Time Out Youth and I attended Pride a number of times.”

Jimenez’s career, like most theater actors, would take him to New York City, where he continues to live today. Over the years, the connections he gleaned through the Northwest School of the Arts and Syracuse University led to multiple auditions and parts in regional theater and a role in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.”

Tyler Jimenez, who appears in the role of Pabbie, is a Charlotte native and a graduate of the Northwest School of the Performing Arts. | Photo: Courtesy T. Jimenez

“That was a national tour, too,” he explains. “It was great. I got to work with Andy Blankenbuehler [choreographer for the original Broadway show of “Hamilton”]. He is such a wonderful man and so creative.

“We also had the opportunity to take the show out of the country. We went to Japan. That was certainly eye-opening. I got to climb Mount Fuji and experiencing the cultural differences between Japanese people and Americans was quite an experience. Not in a bad way, but Americans are so loud and proud. The Japanese, who are a proud people, are quiet, polite and reserved. I respected that. It was refreshing.”

Jimenez says that he auditioned for “Frozen” multiple times before he was finally cast. The show was set to open in 2019 and was slated for the Blumenthal in October 2020, however, live theatrical presentations ground to a halt with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everything just came to a standstill,” Jimenez reflects. “We couldn’t go to work because there was no work.” For multiple actors in New York City and around the country who rely on their careers to maintain their livelihood, this was nothing short of disastrous.

“But, again, I am very fortunate. I have a very supportive family and they allowed me to move back in during that time. I know it was challenging for them. By this time they had their own lives, and I’m an adult, but they were very accommodating and happy to help me out. So I got to come back home for a while. It might have been better under different circumstances, but spending time with my family again was nice.”

He describes the experience of returning to New York City and preparing to begin a re-production of “Frozen” as exceptionally moving.

“Coming back was such an emotional time,” he explains. “Being back with the cast again was like returning to my second family. We had an opportunity to perform for healthcare workers, the people who were there and were so needed and sacrificed so much. It was rewarding to be able to give something back to them after everything they had been through.”

Now once again on the road with the touring company of “Frozen,” Jimenez is a happy man and excited about the opportunities that lay ahead. As they have in other cities they have performed in, the cast and crew of “Frozen” will offer a special Q&A session for the LGBTQ community in Charlotte.

“It’s been great so far,” says Jimenez. “To connect to with so many young people in the community – those that identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming. Working with Disney we want them to know that we’re here for them and to help make their lives better.”

When asked why he believes so many individuals in the LGBTQ community feel a connection to “Frozen,” he is quick to respond. “Oh, I just think there is so much there. Having to hide, being afraid of your inner self, the turmoil of not being able to reveal who you are. There’s a lot for our community to identify with. And the show is about love. It’s about loving others and loving and accepting yourself .” A “Frozen” Q&A for the LGBTQ community will follow the presentation June 23

David Aaron Moore

David Aaron Moore is a former editor of Qnotes, serving in the role from 2003 to 2007. He is currently the senior content editor and a regularly contributing writer for Qnotes. Moore is a native of North...

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