University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) grad Noah Ricketts is currently starring as Kristoff in Disney’s FROZEN on Broadway. Kathrine Nero caught up with him recently in New York.
Kathrine Nero: Tell us about your time in Cincinnati.
Noah Ricketts: It was the best time ever. I started in 2010. I did the four-year program at CCM, the musical theater program, or as I like to call it the Broadway bootcamp. It was super tough, but I made some amazing friends. The teachers are absolutely incredible, and I got some world-class training right in Cincinnati.
KN: Tell me about the FROZEN whole audition process. When you went in for it, what, what was your mindset?
NR: The audition process was actually the longest one I think I’ve ever been through. It took about seven days in total, 10am to 6pm, so a full day of work. I’d gotten back to New York from doing a tour of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical around the country. I was ready to get another job and FROZEN came along. I auditioned for the ensemble originally, so a lot of my days were spent testing out choreography, learning new songs for the show, learning new scenes. My days would consist of doing a round of auditions all day, getting home around 6 or 7pm, getting new material to learn for the next day at 10am. And so, that happened time and time and time again and finally, my hard work paid off and I got the show.
KN: What is it like stepping into a role that people know and making it your own?
NR: I really enjoy it. I think like the most fun is that I can bring a lot of parts of myself that are naturally me and bring it to the role. I think in the movie, Kristoff is a little bit of a smaller part but in the show, he’s actually written up quite a bit. So, it’s really nice to give the audience like a new take and new perspective on Kristoff from the beginning.
KN: People have seen Frozen. If they’ve got kids, they’ve seen it about 57,000 times, right? So, what’s different about the stage version of FROZEN?
NR: In the stage version, we go a lot more in depth about the story and where things come from. And also, one of the fun facts about the show is that we have 12 new songs. So, if you like “Let It Go,” there’s so many more surprises that you’ll get from the stage version as well. You really get to see Elsa and Anna’s true backstory from the beginning of being sisters and growing up. Also, they delve more into the king and queen’s relationship as well and where Kristoff came from, too. It’s super cool.
It’s a story about true love and it’s the best one there is.
KN: We know Disney musicals have a certain element of magic and that’s literally the case with FROZEN. What are some of the fun parts that we’re going to see on the stage?
NR: it wouldn’t be FROZEN without that amazing “Let It Go” dress reveal, right? When we started the show, I was so confused as to how we were going to master this thing from the movie to the stage. It took a lot of work. We did a lot of work in our out-of-town tryout in Denver and then, by the time we got it to Broadway, we got it perfectly right. And so, now everyone can see it on Broadway and on tour, that amazing dress reveal, which is pure Disney magic.
KN: Some people may look at this and think it’s a family show, but really, it’s more than a family show, isn’t it?
NR: Yeah, I think one of my favorite parts about doing this show every night is that I look out and I see the dads that came with their daughters and every night, I swear I see a little shed of a little tear from the dads, and it’s really amazing because the story is so powerful. I mean, a story of true love and true family relationships is something that resonates not only to kids but to adults as well.
KN: How are you managing to survive without Graeter’s and Skyline?
NR: Oh my gosh. It has been an ongoing struggle. I mean, that black raspberry chip, if I could just get someone, please to send me some black raspberry chip to my stage door – the thing I’m craving most is ice cream. I’ve got a sweet tooth.
KN: What’s your favorite part of the whole performance?
NR: My favorite part of the show is “Fixer Upper.” It’s the one time that everyone in the ensemble and the principals are all on stage together. It’s a super fun number that we delve into more than in the movie. I get a dance break in there. There’s some partnering. It’s just a full out good time.
KN: I know that so many people love Olaf from the original version. Let’s talk about how Olaf and your buddy Sven are portrayed on the stage.
NR: Michael Curry, who designed the puppets, is pretty amazing and he did a wonderful job of bringing these animated creatures to life. It’s so amazing because as you saw in the show, I get to work with a reindeer that is the actual size of a reindeer, that blinks and moves and talks to me and butts me and we love on each other…it’s pretty amazing. It took some getting used to for sure, the size and the antlers of course, but it’s pretty amazing that they can make those things come to life and people believe it. It’s pretty cool.
KN: After a while, you think it’s a real reindeer, you start believing. Well, you know the Cincinnati audience. Why will they love FROZEN?
NR: I mean, it’s just the best story ever. If you like the music from the movie, you’re going to love the new songs we put in as well and if you’re a fan of true love, you can’t resist seeing this.