Caissie Levy And Patti Murin Reunite At Disney World, A Conversation
Where were you the first time you ever heard Let It Go? Disney struck gold after releasing their 2013 classic Frozen in movie theaters and it was only a matter of time before it hit the Great White Way. Just five years later, Caissie Levy as Elsa and Patti Murin as Anna took their first bows on Broadway at the St. James Theatre.
For the first time (in forever) since then, Levy and Murin reunited at Walt Disney World in Florida for Epcot's Festival of the Arts as part of the Disney On Broadway Concert Series at Epcot. We recently caught up with the two to chat about coming back together, future projects, and just what their favorite ride is. Our conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Theatrely: So what was it like to reunite? How did that feel to be back together and putting on such a special show for all of us?
Caissie Levy: (Sarcastically) Terrible! The worst! It was amazing. Patti got to do this last year, so this was my first time joining this series, and to know that I was going to be on stage with Patti just felt like home and felt safe. It was just amazing to be able to look across this huge stage and see my sister there. You know, I think it allowed us to do some really intimate work in a big space because we knew we had each other's backs.
Patti Murin: Yeah, It was also really nice to be able to be on stage as Patti and Caissie because we do have such a great friendship. I think it was really special because Cassie is so special to me. It was just a really great opportunity to be ourselves.
Could you tell us about crafting the show a little bit? What was it like to choose the songs and kind of pick where things were going? Was that up to both of you, or was there more of a group collaborative way of dealing with that?
Patti: Definitely a collaborative aspect. Disney on Broadway kind of tries to give you as many options as possible, but honestly, other than the obvious Frozen things that we were going to be doing, we all just kind of threw out ideas and the team kind of threw out their ideas and listened to our feedback. I feel like it was pretty collaborative, then again, there are things that you obviously have to do. You can't have a concert with Caissie Levy and not do Let It Go.
What was it like performing at Disney specifically? I know we kind of got into being back together, but being at Disney specifically must have just been so special. What was it like to just be in that environment?
Caissie: I went to Disneyland a few times during my run in Frozen, but I hadn't gotten a chance to go to Disney World. Now that I'm a mom of two and so is Patti, being able to bring our families down and just watch the kids experiencing it, with us performing, was otherworldly. And just from a personal standpoint, my daughter Talulah, who's almost three years old, just in the last two months got really into Frozen, so it was the best timing ever because she was just singing Let It Go throughout the park, and going on all the Frozen rides, and meeting the Anna and Elsa, and getting to see me sing with Patti. She thinks Anna's name is Anna Patti. And for my older son, it was so special because he grew up backstage at the theater. He was one and a half when we started in Denver and we did the show till he was four. Patti is like an auntie to him, and it's just normal for him to have us in his life as Anna and Elsa so he just in some ways was sort of nonchalant. He was like "Yeah...they're up there singing in Disney World".
Patti: They're (the kids) just so full of wonder and whatnot. When I brought my first daughter last year that's what kicked off her Disney obsession. It felt like nothing could go wrong, I mean, it's Disney World.
Let's say we could get you both back in a show together. What show would the two of you choose?
Caissie: Oh, my God, we've never had this conversation.
Patti: No we haven't. Has no one ever asked us this? That seems like something we should have answered.
Caissie: We should have the one in our back pocket...What do you think, Patti?
Patti: Oh, my gosh, not Side Show. I don't want to belt like that.
Caissie: No, I don't want to belt like that either. You know what? It's funny. I just saw Days of Wine and Roses, and I saw Kelli (O'Hara) up there with Sharon Catherine Brown, who was in Caroline or Change with me... Maybe we should do a little Jekyll and Hyde.
Patti: Eventually, as we get on in our years, we're going to have to do Mame at some point, right?
Caissie: Oh, yeah!
Caissie, we're very excited to see all the buzz about Next To Normal. If the show was to come to New York, would that be something that you would want to do?
Patti: Imagine she was like "nah".
Caissie: Listen, right now we are wholly focused on the West End and I'm so excited to be going back there. Any time you do a show, whether it's something that's being reimagined or something brand new, or even a hybrid of the two—as this experience feels for me—you always have those dreams in the back of your head, but right now that the stuff we know about is the West End and I feel really fortunate that I kind of I get to revisit it and that I didn't have to say goodbye to it at the end of the Donmar run because it was such a special, difficult, time. It was so satisfying to play that role, and I'm really excited to get another crack at it and to adjust it slightly for this bigger house and more traditional theater setting. I think it's going to be really exciting.
What's been your favorite part of just being a part of the Disney family?
Caissie: I know for me it's the people. I wasn't sure how it was going to feel going in when I was first cast as Elsa. I wondered if it would feel corporate or impersonal and it was the exact opposite. We've got personal deep relationships with everybody that runs the show over at Disney Theatrical and I realized very quickly the reason it's such a special place to work and to be part of the family is because of them and all the people that they bring on board.
Patti: Ditto to all of that. When we were doing the show, Cassie had her son and it has struck me how well they treat specifically women who are mothers and want to be mothers. They are so supportive of people with families and I can't say that for most places these days, and that as a mom is the thing that's going to keep me wanting to go back to them forever and ever, because they get it.
Quick Disney spreedround! What's your favorite Disney ride?
Caissie and Patti (at the exact same time): Guardians of the Galaxy.
What was your favorite meal that you had at Disney?
Caissie: I think I have chicken fingers the entire time because I had my kids with me. So I can't answer that one.
Patti: They were great chicken fingers...I am going to say I really like the poutine stand at Disney Springs.
Caissie: I didn't know about that and I'm Canadian, so next time.
Patti: I got the Canadian version in your honor.
Finally, what's your favorite Disney World park?
Caissie: Magic Kingdom.
Patti: Magic Kingdom, the OG.