In a world filled with princesses and castles, royal balls and evil spells, heroes wait where least expected. Seemingly ordinary individuals arise to save the princesses from threats to their bucolic way of life. When Halifax County Little Theatre’s “Disney Frozen Jr” opens next weekend, audiences will meet three such characters: Kristoff, Sven and Olaf.
Kristoff, an ice harvester, and his reindeer companion, Sven, are portrayed by HCHS senior Peyton Gilbert and eighth grade HCMS student Khali Garrett. These young men have been involved in theatre since young ages.
Gilbert was in HCLT’s “A Christmas Story” years ago and has kept busy with high school theatre the past few years, both with onstage roles and being stage manager for this year’s competition show. Gilbert does management well, as he is also the HCHS ACE team manager, and he does a nice job of helping to keep the young children focused in “Frozen” rehearsals.
In “Frozen Jr,” Gilbert’s character Kristoff accidentally becomes involved in helping the princess Anna find and save her sister from her own icy powers.
Gilbert said, “I think Frozen will show little girls that they can be whoever they want to be.”
As he has assisted in various ways with this show, Gilbert said, “I’ve learned that there is so much more to theatre than just the acting aspect. I’ve also met new people that I would love to hang out with.”
Gilbert has an upcoming audition for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles.
Director Jessica Rose Hayes said, “Peyton has been a joy to work with. He’s always willing to take direction and work toward bringing his character to life. Kristoff is part of the comical crew but has more of a level head and is the leader on the journey to find Elsa on the North Mountain.”
One of Gilbert’s new friends is Garrett, who gets to wear one of Susie Robbins amazingly original creations, as he portrays Kristoff’s reindeer friend.
Robbins said, “I’ve already worked 42 hours on his costume and am still troubleshooting with his harness!”
This is Garrett’s third show with HCLT, also having been in “The Lion King Jr.” and last year’s “Seussical.” Garrett is also involved in the middle school’s chorus and is in the Student Council Association.
The final character of the trio is Carrington Thackston, who plays the fun snowman Olaf, who longs for summertime and warm hugs, not knowing his fate. Fortunately, he gets rebuilt each year by the princesses, so he can live on.
Thackston has been in numerous shows over the years, developing into an accomplished actor and singer. Audiences might remember him as the lead young man in last year’s “Seussical,” playing JoJo. In addition, he was in last summer’s “Mary Poppins” at the Prizery.
A musical talent, Thackston plays three instruments: guitar, cello and trombone, and he has just recently been chosen for the middle school’s All District Chorus for later this year.
Carrington said, “The hardest part for me is my solo, which is also the best part, because I get to sing, and I enjoy the spotlight.”
Director Hayes said, “I have had the privilege of working with Garrett and Thackston in the past, and I knew I could trust them to carry the comic relief of the show. The also have the responsibility of wearing the most complex Susie Robbins’ costume creations that she has spent weeks creating.”
These three theatre guys and the rest of the cast will be primed and ready for opening night at 7:30 on Friday, Nov. 22. The show continues Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at 3 and repeats for three more performances the following weekend too.
Tickets for “Frozen Jr” and HCLT’s entire season are currently on sale at The Prizery at 434-572-8339 or online at prizery.com.
Season brochures for HCLT’s 64th season are available at The Prizery, both public libraries and Southern Plenty, or interested people can call 434-470-0980 and request to have one mailed to them.