Frozen Jr. performance to start this week at Hannibal Middle School

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HANNIBAL, Mo. – This year’s Hannibal Middle School’s musical is titled “Frozen Jr.” but the performance is warm, engaging, and a whole lot of fun. 

From watching Elsa and Anna grow from little sisters to full-grown princesses throughout the song “Do you want to Build a Snowman?” to following Kristoff and his reindeer Sven dance and sing into Anna’s heart – the beloved characters from Disney’s Frozen come to life through local young talent.

The musical will begin this week from Thursday-Sunday. Thursday and Friday it will begin at 7 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday it will begin at 2 p.m. 

Throughout the play, it’s hard to remember their ages as cast members from grades 6-8 grace the stage with strong soloists and dancers. 

The young and middle versions of Anna and Elsa, represented in the beginning of the play and throughout the song “Do you Want to Build a Snowman?” deliver strong solos and performances. Each girl brings a different light to the growing characters.

Weselton, the Duke with a strong personality, along with Oaken and his group of dancing salespeople and the dark songs of Pabbie and Bulda from the Hidden People, also make up a fun-to-watch cast. 

Grace Munger, who plays the adult Anna, and Koryn Miller, who plays the adult Elsa –both 8th graders– deliver powerful renditions of favorite songs such as “For the First Time in Forever” and the now-classic “Let it Go”.  Munger said singing “For the First Time in Forever” is her favorite part of the play.

“Koryn and I get to sing it together and it’s really intense,” she said.

Munger has participated in the HMS musical all three years, and last year played the part of Molly in Annie Jr.

Miller started her musical career playing a mouse in the Hannibal High School’s musical “Cinderella” and has been a part of the musical each year including Annie in last year’s performance of Annie Jr. She also serves this year as Hannibal’s official Becky Thatcher.

One of Miller’s favorite things about the musical  is playing Elsa, her favorite Disney Princess, but she has also enjoyed getting to now the cast.  

Stacey Mueller, director of Frozen Jr., said she has enjoyed watching the cast go from groups of friends to a family. Mueller said this year’s cast is a little different because many of the kids are 6th graders who are just learning the ropes of playing in a musical production. 

This has given the more experienced kids in the group a chance to step up, and Mueller said they have done just that.

“The older kids are embracing and mentoring the younger ones. They’re taking them under their wing and showing them the ropes,” she said. “So we have some really good strong leaders who are helping the 

next group. The 8th graders are leaving me in good hands.” 

Caleb Kurz, 6th grade, plays Hans, the untrustworthy prince who first tries to steal Anna’s heart, said he has grown since he started the musical. Both literally and figuratively.

“I started this year 5’10” and now I am almost 5′ 11″,” he joked. “ I have also improved in my singing and acting abilities.”

Liam Hiles, 6th grade, plays the lovable snowman Olaf, said he is a better actor since he joined the cast of Frozen Jr.

Mueller said the younger cast gave her the chance to return to the basics.

“I’ve had to do a lot of teaching and coaching and instructing and just getting back to the basics of what acting is.  It’s just been nice getting to go back to the teaching aspect this year,” she said. “Watching them develop and grow in understanding all of the things that they may be doing, understanding how to deliver their lines. With this cast – oh, that’s fun.”

Although the play hasn’t just been a challenge for the younger members of the cast. The 8th graders are also learning before they move on to high school productions next year.

Wyatt Terrill, 8th grade, plays Kristoff, who helps Anna on her journey to finding Elsa. Terrill previously played Maurice in Beauty and the Beast and Bert Healy in Annie Jr. Terril said despite his experience, that this year has taught him a lot about becoming a better actor and singer.

Terrill also learned to play the Ukulele specifically for the song, “Reindeer are Better than People.” 

Luke Hiles, 8th grade, plays the funny reindeer Sven. Hiles also played Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast and Drake in Annie Jr., has noticed growth in his abilities. His favorite thing about the play are his new dance moves and his singing voice seems better too.

“I am actually going to sing this year and it doesn’t sound bad,” he noted.

A challenge this year is the seamless on-stage costume change that happens for Elsa right in the middle of the song “Let it Go”. Mueller is responsible for helping Miller transform into the Ice Queen without missing a beat of the already challenging song.

Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased throughout the week in the Hannibal Middle School office or at the door.

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