Friday night is opening night at the Ruffin as Frozen Jr. begins its run at the historic theater on Covington’s square.
The show features a cast of more than two dozen children, from ages 7-18, and will bring Elsa and Anna’s icy journey toward reconciliation to life.
It’s the second Ruffin show in a row featuring children in every role.
“I think it’s wonderful to have so many kids working on a production together,” said Heather McLemore, one of the directors. “Our stagehands are all aged 12-19, our technical director is 15 and our spotlight operators are also under 18. We have adult supervision in place for all of it, but it’s amazing to see young people making this happen.”
The cast has been rehearsing for months and was prepared to open two weeks ago, but in a ironic twist of fate, Arrendelle’s eternal winter came to life for a week in Tipton County, dumping 8-10 inches of snow and ice in the area.
“We had to reschedule because, of all things, a snowstorm,” said Jeremy Armstrong, the show’s other director.
The cast includes – Young Anna – Briley Bringle, Middle Anna – Stella Twisdale, Anna – Abbey Kozlosky, Young Elsa – Genavieve Twisdale, Middle Elsa – Aalèyah Medlin, Elsa – Lilly Kozlosky, Hans – Tyler Crisp, Kristoff – Bo Baldridge, Sven – Lilly Boozer, Olaf – Elizabeth Grey, King Agnarr/Oaken – Andrew Haun, Queen Iduna – Charli Rice, Pabbie – Rebecca Gentry, Bulda – Erin Stanifer, Weselton – Riley Childress, Bishop – Lilian Thomas, Steward – Micah McLemore, Ensemble (Snow Chorus/Townspeople/various roles): Abby Grace Griffin, Sara Howle, Camryn McLemore, Julia Bogard, Vander Burchett, Jack Channell, Hanna Rhodehamel and Lillie Bell.
“And of course, none of this would have come to fruition without our team,” McLemore said. “Our music director, Mr. Tony Kozlosky; our light and special effects designer, Mr. Gary Lewis; our set designer, Mr. Dustin McLemore; our choreographers, Miss Erin Bentley and Miss Amelia Kozlosky; and the heart of this production, our stage manager, Ms. Megan Berryman.”
In addition to having to schedule the show and rehearsals around the hectic schedules of 25 children, working around COVID has proven a little challenging.
“We made sure the cast and crew have been washing their hands often. We’ve made sure to keep hand sanitizer available on the stage so it’s always readily available. We had to enforce wearing masks in rehearsals that didn’t include choreography in order to comply with the county mandates. And you just try to keep kids spaced out six feet apart when they want to clump together to hang out with their new friends,” said McLemore. “It’s probably not much different as it is in school for the kids though. All in all, after many reminders, I think we did all that we could to ensure that the cast remained healthy throughout the rehearsal process. We only had one cast member have to quarantine and it was due to being exposed. She never tested positive.”
The show starts at 7 p.m. on March 5, 12 and 13 and at 2 p.m. on March 6, 7 and 14. (This Saturday’s show will take place in the afternoon because another event will take place that evening.)
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the box office or online at tiptonartscouncil.org/collections/2021-season/products/frozen-jr-live-new-dates.