I went to a late night Frozen singalong ready to embarrass myself with my overenthusiastic singing. Turns out everyone else at the screening had the same thought.
When I read that on January 31 select theaters would be showing a singalong version of Disney's animated blockbuster Frozen—a proper singalong, complete with words on screen and a bouncing snowflake—I knew I had to go. This, naturally, was not my first trip to the Frozen rodeo. In fact, it would be my third. Yes, I am what many would consider an adult, and I love Frozen.
But I wasn't sure what to expect when I headed, two friends in tow, to Times Square on Friday night for a 10:45 p.m. screening of the Frozen singalong. I didn't expect there to be many kids at that late hour, but would there be many adults? And would they be interested in singing as loudly as I was? Might they, perhaps, be stragglers wandering from the Super Bowl festivities raging on a half a block over? I was already preparing my headline: "I Was the Only One Singing at the Frozen Singalong."
That was most certainly not the case.
For a late-night screening of a movie that's been out since November, the theater was relatively full. There were some children there, but the crowd was mostly groups of adults. It was clear there was an energy in the room, as soon as the trailers began, but it was hard to tell whether that would be dedicated singing or just general rowdiness.
And then the movie started. And people—yes, including us—started singing along quietly to "Vuelie," the chant that opens the film. When lyrics first appeared on screen for "Frozen Heart," it was clear that, yes, this would be a full blown singalong. It was great.
At times, it felt like members of the audience wanted to turn the show into a Rocky Horror Picture Show sort of affair. At the beginning of the movie, when the baby version of Anna asks her sister Elsa in a small voice, "Do you wanna build a snowman?" A group behind us shouted "YES!" The crowd was enthused, but respectful. People were actually watching the movie, not just waiting for their chances to sing.
It was clear that many people in the theater did not need the lyrics on the screen. This was an audience that, at times, recited the film's dialogue—Olaf the snowman's "little baby unicorn"—and knew when the "cluck cluck" clock noises came in "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"
In a way, the auditorium felt like a safe space to be your weirdest, most-Disney musical loving self. Though I'm not able to hit Idina Menzel's notes in the movie's centerpiece, Oscar-nominated song, "Let It Go," I still belted with all my might. Everyone else was doing it, why shouldn't I? And there was a big round of applause when the song finished.
When critics first saw Frozen, it was immediately branded an heir to the classic Disney canon. In the months since it opened Frozen has both grossed over $360 million dollars, but also energized debate in certain corners of the Internet over the politics of the prince charming and over the queer readings of its heroine Elsa. Something about the movie has struck a chord with grown-ups, possibly because Elsa can be interpreted as an LGBTQ icon, or possibly because Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez's songs are just so catchy.
When the film was over, I leaned over and asked the man sitting in front of me what brought him to the screening. This was his third time seeing the movie, too, and he also came with a group of friends. He even told me to stick around until the very end of the credits for Easter eggs even I hadn't seen. "I needed something fun and happy to do since it's been such a shitty winter," said David Baxter, 33, who said he works both at an office and in burlesque. A woman walking out turned to Baxter's row and said: "By the way, guys, that was really lovely."
Though Friday was relatively temperate in the city, the "shitty winter" has continued this Monday. Eh. The cold never bothered us anyway.