CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Cabell County middle school student is bringing some “snow magic” to Broadway by building Olaf on stage multiple times a week in Disney’s “Frozen: The Broadway Musical,” one of the newest and already most popular productions.
“It’s super fun because it’s adorable and I get to do snow magic over him (Olaf) which is cool too,” said Brooklyn Nelson, an eighth-grader at Barboursville Middle School in Cabell County.
At age 13, Nelson is portraying Young Elsa in the musical that opened on March 22 in New York City.
“It’s a dream come true being a Disney princess,” Nelson told MetroNews.
By now, most people are familiar with the story of “Frozen,” the 2013 Oscar-winning film which already has a sequel in the works.
“It’s about two sisters who find their way back to each other after they’re broken apart by their parents because Elsa has powers (of ice and snow) and accidentally hurts her sister,” Nelson said.
On Broadway, the story is staged in two acts with more than a dozen new songs added to the movie classics like “Let It Go” and “Do You Want To Build a Snowman?”
Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who wrote the music for “Frozen,” also composed the song additions and many others involved in the movie version have helped transition the story to the stage.
“My favorite part, there’s a solo that older Elsa, not me, that she sings and it’s a power ballad and it’s not ‘Let It Go,’ but it’s very alike and it’s so amazing,” Nelson said of the new song, “Monster.”
A native of Barboursville, Nelson has been performing as long as she can remember.
“I used to write little books when I was little and then I would perform them for my family — very dramatically — and then I’d also sing a lot,” she said. “My Mom put me in dance classes and voice lessons and community theater all at the same time when I was eight.”
Nelson got her theater start far from Broadway in productions of “The Little Mermaid Jr.” and “Shrek” with Huntington’s First Stage Theater Company.
Her first role on Broadway was in “Matilda The Musical.” By the time the show closed in January 2017, she was playing Amanda Thripp.
After that, she was soon cast in “Frozen,” originating the role of Young Elsa, and was part of its development and pre-Broadway run in Denver, Colorado.
Along the way, Nelson has had the support of her family.
Her dad, Todd Nelson, is a real estate agent in Barboursville. He travels back and forth to New York City where his wife, Tara Nelson, currently lives with Brooklyn and her sister, Lacey, 9, in an apartment not far from the Broadway theater where “Frozen” is staged.
Eight shows a week run at the historic St. James Theater in New York City.
Typically, Nelson appears in four of the shows and is on standby for the others. She splits time as Young Elsa with Alya Schwartz, an actress and singer from Montville, New Jersey.
When not working, Nelson does her classwork at Barboursville Middle School online and is also tutored at the theater.
This Friday, Nelson turns 14 and she said she’s already planning for a theater future.
“Even at 13, I’ve already been looking at colleges to go to,” she said. “I really want to do this for the rest of my life.”