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Arts and Entertainment

Gillioz, Discovery Center, SLT Collaborate on "Disney's Frozen Sing-A-Long"

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(Poster design courtesy Gillioz Theatre)
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The Gillioz Theatre, 325 Park Central East, presents the “Frozen Sing-A-Long” Sunday August 25th at 3:00pm, in collaboration with Springfield Little Theatre and the Discovery Center.  The Executive Directors of each organization--Geoff Steele (Gillioz), Beth Domann (SLT), and Rob Blevins (Discovery Center), talked about the event on "Arts News".  They hope it will be the first in a series of collaborations.   They came in to talk about it because, although the event itself is still a month away, tickets went on sale at the Gillioz box office this morning (July 26), right as we went on the air at 10:00 am.

Domann and Blevins credited Geoff Steele with coming up with the idea--"Geoff's the one who cooked this up," said Domann. "We're just eating at the table," added Blevins. 

Geoff Steele noted that the three have gotten to know each other well over the years. "And it doesn't often happen that the programming can coincide.  The reality is that we (the Gillioz) had the opportunity to license the Disney movie 'Frozen,'" which is the top-grossing animated film of all time.  "As soon as I licensed that, within a week I was talking to Beth (Domann) about something else."  Steele discovered that Little Theatre will perform the stage version of "Disney's Frozen Jr." at the Landers in December 2019, and Steele decided "this is the perfect time to expose the Gillioz audience to this programming, so they can experience live theater in addition to" the animated film.  And Steele and Blevins have long discussed ways to "interface the educational and the arts side, and we've never been able to make it fit. This one fits perfectly, because we can create these winter experiments in August in an air-conditioned building, which is great. So it's a great opportunity for the Gillioz to be able to lead on this one. But I'm anticipating that the series won't always be there. It could be that Beth will take the lead on one, and we just get to fill in, and vice versa with the Discovery Center."

I asked if they had an overall title for this new series.  They hadn't come up with one yet, but laughingly indicated a willingness to do so right on the spot.  "This should cause fear in the hearts of listeners--I have no idea what would come if we opened this up creatively right now," joked Geoff Steele.

The film showing will come complete with song lyrics projected across the bottom of the screen closed-caption style, allowing audience members to sing along with the characters on screen (no, there's no "bouncing ball" for the audience to follow, said Geoff Steele, but it's reminiscent).  "S0 the audience is encouraged to participate. It's become a growing trend to immerse the audience in experience--more than just watching something, they participate actively."  "And how smart for them to actually start having shows you can sing with--because your audience, they're going to do it anyway. So you might as well!" said Beth Domann--certainly with a familiar film (and score) like this one.

What are the other organizations bringing to the table?

"Obviously, we're going to bring some characters to the event, to be there for the kids to meet some of the characters before they go in" to view the movie, said Beth Domann.  This includes photo ops with a Princess.  And, she claimed, "I'll be there as the Troll Woman!" Rob Blevins jumped in to say, "I'll be getting my picture with you!" "No, that's in 'Frozen 2,'" added Domann.  Geoff Steele noted the various characters, as portrayed by actors from Little Theatre, "will be out front--and may very well be in (the auditorium) during the film, it's hard to say. Some films do 'shadowcasts'. I don't think this one makes sense to do that." I asked if Beth's actors would do any scenes from the stage version of "Frozen." Probably not, she indicated. "They're just hanging out, taking pictures (with audience members). And that in itself is a performance."

"There's science in everything," said Rob Blevins of the Discovery Center. "So for us to wrap a science lesson around something, it's not hard to do. You just pick it apart--sometimes literally. So we will be doing that with states of matter--dry ice, things of that nature. It just fits in really well. We've found that when you have a kid that's excited, and they're engaged, they learn so much better and are able to retain that knowledge too. So this is a perfect opportunity to teach them something about the states of matter that they're going to need to know to get them through their education--and hopefully beyond."

Tickets for the "Disney's Frozen Sing-A-Long" are $5 for children ages 12 and under, and $10 for anyone age 13 and up. For information visit www.gillioztheatre.com or call their box office at 863-9491.