THE SNOW QUEEN
A NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE
book by Kirsten Brandt and Rick Lombardo
music by Haddon Kime
lyrics by Kirsten Brandt, Haddon Kime, and Rick Lombardo
directed and choreographed by Rick Lombardo
musical direction by Emily Intersimone
An exciting new pop/rock musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale, The Snow Queen is a coming-of-age adventure that follows a young woman on a journey of self-discovery in a magical, wintry landscape. When her best friend Kai is put under a magic spell, Gerda must follow him to the palace of the Snow Queen. Along the way, she battles witches, encounters fantastical characters, and flies through the frozen air on a steampunk odyssey. Co-written and directed by former New Rep Artistic Director, Rick Lombardo, The Snow Queen is sure to enchant the entire family this holiday season.
Click here to read the program online!
“A fairy-tale that rocks.”
The New York Times
Recommended for ages 8 and up.
|Tuesday, November 10|
|“Meet and Greet” the cast, designers, crew and New Rep Staff, then hear a read-through or sing-through of the play.|
|Meet the Artists: Creating a Musical||Sunday, November 29 following the 4pm matinee|
|Theatre artists, area academics, and experts explore and discuss ideas related to the play and how they impact our world.|
Notes by Beth Gilchrist, edited by Ruth Spack
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen’s life unfolded like one of the fairy tales he became so famous for writing. Born on April 2, 1805 to a poor cobbler and an illiterate washerwoman in Odense, Denmark, his childhood was defined by struggle. Yet he did not allow his bleak beginnings to stop him from achieving greatness. Inspired by the plays and Danish mythologies his father read him, Andersen left home for Copenhagen to try his luck on the stage. Initially finding success at the Royal Theater as a tenor, he was forced soon after to leave as a result of his adolescent voice change. Because performing didn’t work out, Andersen decided to try his hand at writing for the stage instead. He exhibited a great deal of natural talent, but it became obvious he would need a proper education if he wanted to become the great writer he thought he could be.
At age seventeen, with the help of a few families he met during his brief stint at the Royal Theater, Andersen enrolled in grammar school in Slaglese. He struggled there not only because of his lack of previous education but also because a discouraging headmaster constantly ridiculed him, despite his literary talents. After completing his education, Andersen published his first novel, The Improvisatore, to great acclaim. At this point in his life, Andersen began writing for children, reshaping the stories he heard as a child and drawing from his own experiences to create original stories. Even though his first collection of fairy tales was not initially well received, he continued writing for children over the next decade, during which time his reputation soared and his most famous works were produced. Committed to creating more than merely lighthearted entertainment, Andersen adopted a reflective style and forged a new mythology. He continued to write until three years before his death in 1875.
Hans Christian Andersen’s colorful and imaginative way of writing moral and universal tales has made him famous. Some of his stories inspired popular films such as Disney’s The Little Mermaid, based on “The Little Mermaid,” and Frozen, based on “The Snow Queen.” Although “The Snow Queen” is one of the longest stories Anderson wrote, it took him only five days to complete. He regarded the story as one of his finest works.
An Interview With the Creators of The Snow Queen: A New Musical
The Snow Queen” has been re-told for hundreds of years now. What is it about “The Snow Queen” and Andersen’s others stories that has allowed them to endure?
RICK LOMBARDO: Andersen managed to tap into not only the psyche of the developing child, but also deep, archetypal aspects of all of our humanity. His stories exist on multiple levels simultaneously, so readers of different ages uncover different themes and ideas in his stories.
KIRSTEN BRANDT: Like all good fairy tales, it is timeless. Rick summed it up — you can access this story from any age and get something meaningful out of it.
What inspired you to turn this fairy tale into a musical?
RICK LOMBARDO: Kirsten and I decided to co-adapt something for San Jose Rep, and she suggested we look at “The Snow Queen.” When I read it I was blown away by the surreal quality of the story, and I thought it was particularly well-suited to becoming a musical. We invited Haddon Kime to take a look at it with us, and I think the three of us, each with one daughter, grasped that in Gerda’s story we could explore the story of the journey all young girls travel to adulthood. The show ultimately became dedicated to the three young ladies in our lives.
KIRSTEN BRANDT: I grew up on the stories of Andersen and the Brothers Grimm- plus Greek and Norse myth. So, when we were looking for a holiday show, Snow Queen was something I was eager to share with Rick as a potential project. We first thought it would be a play with music. We quickly realized how music could really transport the story and pack it with complex emotions that work on a subconscious level (as fairy tales do). Next thing we realized, it was a musical.
Why did you choose the genre of pop/rock music for this show?
RICK LOMBARDO: Well, Haddon probably has a deeper answer than I, but I know we wanted the music to be accessible to multiple generations. We hope this show, like the fairy tale, works for audiences of different ages on different levels. The characters begin to sing in a style that says a lot about each of them as a person, and also lets the audience know we’re not in a typical fairy tale world.
HADDON KIME: I think Gerda is a quintessential teenage rock star. Though she comes from humble beginnings, she realizes very quickly that the people who have brought her up not only don’t have all the answers but may actively be plotting against her hopes and dreams. So she strikes out on her own with nothing but a wish and a gut sense of how to make it come true. That sense of rebellion, trepidation, and resolve is, at least for me, at the heart of rock ‘n’ roll.
At the same time, Gerda gives everyone a chance. She intrinsically searches for something positive to connect with in others, even if that connection is only to say “thank you” or “you are not alone.” To me, pop music has much the same aim. Thus, both pop and rock are very much alive inside our young hero and that’s why we chose to write this as a pop/rock musical.
KIRSTEN BRANDT: Ditto what Haddon said. Plus, having a rock band on stage is just fantastic!
What was most challenging or surprising about the process of adapting “The Snow Queen” for the stage?
RICK LOMBARDO: How quickly it first came together, and then how many times we rewrote it! Really, I’ve lost track of how many drafts we have of this show. Musicals take a long time, and several productions, to think you’ve “got it”.
HADDON KIME: How the journey, characters, and emotions of making a musical are oftentimes reflected in the story you’re working to tell. After “Never Give Up” came together in the rehearsal room for the first time, it occurred to me that we might just have collaborated on a song we all needed to hear at that point in time. It’s always surprising to find the characters that you’ve written have something they want to say to you.
KIRSTEN BRANDT: For me it was the complexity of the story. In the Anderson version, Kai disappears for most of the story — so keeping his story alive while Gerda takes this incredible, courageous journey was a challenge. I’m so happy with what we created for Kai. It was important that Gerda is an active, not passive, protagonist. We wanted to make sure she didn’t just fall victim to her circumstances, but actively learned and moved forward — stronger and with more conviction than before.
Do the three of you have any plans to collaborate again in the future?
RICK LOMBARDO: I hope so! We’ve spent so much time working on and finishing this one that I think we’re taking a collective breath, but these are both artists I expect will be in my life for a long time!
HADDON KIME: There are a few ideas we’re tossing around. Rick and Kirsten are both amazing storytellers and collaborators. Truth is, I can’t wait to start the next project with them.
KIRSTEN BRANDT: I hope so. They are both phenomenal artists. I am sure there will be more projects to come.