In December 2016, I auditioned for the role of The Duke of Weselton for our director Michael Grandage. Going in, I knew what a privilege it would be to work with him. The audition went well and I was told later that day by my agent that I would have a callback audition in January. Then a week later I got another phone call from my agent telling me they were offering me the part. That was not expected after only one audition, but I was thrilled.
The DVD of the film came out when my son was 2 and a half and my daughter was less than one year old. It became an instant household favorite. When the movie started, my son would run and get his “water flute” to use as an ice pick and sing along with the men of Arendelle chopping the ice. I remember having a conversation with my wife that if it was developed for Broadway there were a couple of parts I could see doing, one of which was Weselton.
Artistically, I loved the movie and you just know Disney is going to spare no expense to do it right and that’s fun to be a part of. After 14 months of doing a role in a show I co-wrote off-Broadway that was, on one hand, a dream come true, but on the other a massive physical and vocal commitment—a fun character role in a great big Broadway production seemed like a good idea. This is my third Broadway show with Disney so I honestly feel like part of the family.
Frozen the movie only came out five years ago. Jumping to Broadway it is a pretty quick venture from screen to stage. Were you nervous about maintaining the film’s popularity?
The director made it clear that we were using the film as a jumping off point, but were creating a new piece of art. Of course, a lot of the iconic lines and jokes are in the show, but as for character development, I referenced the film before my audition and then just let myself create a detailed character that fit into the world of the stage version.
After 14 months of playing James Cagney in CAGNEY off-Broadway, I call this my “gift.” Because of the demands of the role, both physically and vocally, I had to live like a monk a lot of the time. I had to get enough sleep, which is challenging with two young children, and I didn’t want to talk much. While this role still requires a lot of energy output, I can live my daytime life fully. I miss tap dancing every day, but our choreographer Rob Ashford gave me a very fun tango feature (complete with castanets) that is a hoot to do.
Check out Long Island Weekly‘s interview with Robert Creighton when he starred in CAGNEY
The scene where I meet and am rebuffed by Queen Elsa is my favorite scene to do. I look forward to it every time. Fun fact: several times a week I stay in the wings to watch the glorious Caissie Levy sing “Let It Go.” The combination of her vocal power and thrilling visuals is breathtaking.
It is a stunning show on every level. The performances and the voices of our two leading ladies, Caissie Levy and Pattie Murin, will blow you away. The music is rich and beautiful, the visuals of the set, costumes, lighting, sound, video and special effects are like nothing you’ve seen. And, most importantly, the story is powerful and does what Disney shows do best: the same material hits adults in one way and kids in another. Can you tell I’m very proud to be a part of this?