After a long, cold journey, Anna returns home. She wants to be with her big sister – the one who has always been a little more reserved and taken care of her. She’s bringing some new friends.
But it’s not Arendelle. Anna is Twin Cities actress Caroline Innerbichler coming home to Minneapolis with the Broadway tour production of “Frozen,” which opens Sept. 30 at the Orpheum Theater. The pandemic iced the trip, which was supposed to stop at the Orpheum in May 2020, but is back on the road.
In a telephone interview from Buffalo, NY, where “Frozen” was on stage at the end of last week, Innerbichler talked about the painful break, grew up on stage in the twin cities and – of course – her role as the hero / sister in the theatrical production of Disney smash hit musical “Frozen”.
Innerbichler played Chava, one of the daughters in “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Chanhassen Dinner Theaters in 2014, when “Frozen” first hit theaters. The cast (“a bunch of musical theater nerds,” says Innerbichler) decided to take the film with them. Innerbichler had her long red hair in braids with bangs for her “Fiddler” role. When Anna showed up, the resemblance was undeniable.
“Everyone turned slowly to look at me,” she says.
When Disney took the story on stage in 2017, there was a casting call in Chicago (where Innerbichler happened to be at the time) for the pre-Broadway production. She came to last recall but did not reach the show. But when the trip was thrown, she tried again and got the part – after eight more recalls. Innerbichler numbers, she got 14-16 recalls in total before she was cast as Anna.
The tour opened in December 2019 in Los Angeles and started a route up the west coast that moved to Seattle and then Portland, where it was to run for three weeks. At the beginning of the second week, COVID-19 theaters closed.
No one expected what was ahead, says Innerbichler. She figured a few weeks off would be a good time to return to Minnesota. Anna is a physically demanding role and she could use a rest, but “I did not mean that long,” she says.
Safer at home
When her father, Mark, a pilot at Delta, before he retired, started hearing about possible shutdowns, “it was really scary,” Innerbichler says. “We just did not know. So I put everything in a bag and came home. ”
After a two-week self-quarantine, she spent time with her parents in Brooklyn Park with her mini-Aussie, Finna. She did not see her sister or nephew and niece at all. In September 2020, she and Finna returned to the house she rents in Minneapolis with six other actors – “a bigger pod than others had,” she says. The theater house comrades made films and meals, gardened and “pretended the holiday as usual”.
Caroline says she and her big sister, Allison, look a little like Anna and Elsa. Allison is more stoic and reserved, “always like another mother,” she says. “I’m the wild and crazy one.”
Nephew Basil, 5, and niece Cecily, 2, are big “Frozen” fans and have seen the movie repeatedly. Caroline has given them “Frozen” toys, but they have not seen her on stage as Anna. Basil might watch the show at Orpheum, she says. He asked if his aunt “Would wear the big dress and would anyone dance with her?”
And by the way, she is known as “Aunt Hootie” to her niece and nephew, “Hootie” to the rest of the family. Innerbichler explains that when she was born at. 8 on 8/8/88, her exhausted father tried to say she was “happy” and “a sweet” and instead told her mother, Jeanne, that the newborn was “hootie”.
‘I’ve been here a bit’
Innerbichler attended Eagan High School and the University of Minnesota. She started performing on Twin Cities stages when she was 11 years old. “I started as a preteen, so I’ve been here a bit.”
Her “fairly consistent work” in local theater includes Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” and Chava in “Fiddler on the Roof” at Chanhassen Dinner Theaters in 2014, Sandy in “Grease” at Chanhassen in 2017, Liesl in “The Sound of Music” ( 2015) and Sophie in “Mamma Mia!” (2018) at Ordway, “Ragtime” at the Park Square Theater in 2012 and “Little House on the Prairie” in 2008. She was the understudy for Nellie Oleson in the first national tour of “Little House on the Prairie: The Musical “in 2009.
Innerbichler says working at the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis while growing up and performing in front of busloads of children – sometimes 11 performances a week – has been good for her in “Frozen,” which attracts a young, enthusiastic audience. “I had to learn to stay incredibly focused,” she says amid screams and reactions in the children’s theater. When she hears roaring among the audience in the middle of a ballad, she says, “I know I’d better cook.”
“I think it’s refreshing.”
Instead of singing along, the “Frozen” audience is encouraged to “sit, enjoy and absorb” the performance, which includes a live orchestra and special effects, says Innerbichler. “It’s real people who are experiencing these emotions.” And it’s certainly not just for kids, she adds.
On the road
Innerbichler’s partner, Sean Wade, a software programmer who is also from Minneapolis and can work remotely, will travel with her while the trip continues after Minneapolis. And they will bring Finna. They can drive between cities and she can relax after the demanding performances.
“I absolutely love my job and immerse myself completely in everything I do, but when I’m free, I’m free,” says Innerbichler. “I want a completely separate life.”
The next stop of the trip is Salt Lake City and they plan to take some walks. “It’s definitely going to be a game-changer.”
They will be able to prepare some meals as cast members stay in hotels with kitchens or rental apartments. She learned on tour when she was younger “chicken fingers at every meal do not make a happy stomach.”
She says touring with “Little House on the Prairie” in her 20s was “like my college in a way” with many on the cast at the same age.
“I’m really lucky that both of these tour companies have felt like family,” says Innerbichler. It was especially good to get back together with the “Frozen” team after the closing. She calls her co-stars down-to-earth and humble, even though they have impressive theatrical credits, such as Caroline Bowman, who plays Elsa and has played Elphaba in “Wicked” on Broadway and Evita Peron in a touring production of “Evita.”
“She’s kind and supportive,” Innerbichler says of Bowman. “She feels like my sister at this point.”
Anna for everyone
“Frozen” has been praised for her strong female characters, but Innerbichler does not consider Anna bossy. “She just gets things done.”
There are moments in the play where Anna is more vulnerable than the movie Anna, and when asked if she knows what she’s doing, she admits she does not. “She does not have all the answers, but she knows she has to keep moving forward.”
Actor and character are very similar.
“We not only look alike,” says Innerbichler, “we are quite alike. We have a lot of the same energy, the same humor, and we’re both a little awkward.
“This Disney princess is not as perfect or as nicely packaged as some.”
Disclaimers for mcutimes.com
All the information on this website - https://mcutimes.com - is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. mcutimes.com does not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information you find on this website (mcutimes.com), is strictly at your own risk. mcutimes.com will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of our website.