IVINS — In 100 degree heat, one would hardly think of ice castles, winter clothes, or building snowmen — unless you’re the Tuacahn Center for the Arts. While initially doubtful, I was shocked to find myself transported by their production of Frozen to the frosty land of Arendelle amidst the desert red rock cliffs. I was even more shocked to find that the quality of this production far surpassed the Frozen I’d seen on London’s West End (which was indeed a fixer upper), and that it reminded me why the magic of theater is so dang special, no matter your age.

Frozen, with music and lyrics by power couple Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, follows two royal sisters as they navigate the challenges of love, self-acceptance, family and belonging. The musical, with a book by Jennifer Lee that’s based on the cinematic smash hit, includes iconic songs that adults and children alike know and love, while also adding a few lovely and hilarious numbers they may not recognize, “Monster” and “Hygge” being my personal favorites. This being the regional premiere of the musical, audiences will be thrilled to find that Tuacahn has gathered the absolute best of the best for this production, cast and crew alike.

Director Michael Heitzman creates a unified production with impressive clarity and magical storytelling. The movement and choreography by Robbie Roby especially contributes to this — throughout the production, objects and people float across the stage to symbolize the passing of time and rising emotions. In “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” carts are creatively used to propel objects such as royal paintings and grandfather clocks hurriedly across the stage, symbolizing how quickly time passes as we grow up. Fantastic, threatening ice pillars designed by Adam Koch and Steven Royal circle the sisters in the tense confrontation of “I Can’t Lose You,” creating the illusion that wind is rippling and storms are brewing beneath Elsa’s surface.

Roby’s choreography stands out in the dreamy, elegant movement of “Scared to Dream.” The dancers ripple in perfect time and create enchanting, emotive vignettes, and don darling, Disney-esque floating ballgowns designed by Ryan Moller. The dancers’ style changes drastically in “Fixer Upper” as they roll on their backs like stones, paying tribute to the rock trolls from the film — with woodsy costumes of moss and stone contrasting slivers of their own skin. Roby also puts a delightful, modern twist on the quirky choreography of “Love is an Open Door,” the actors’ “flossing” movements made me cackle.

The use of color by Koch, Royal and Moller is effective and captivating. The beautiful and incredibly detailed bedrooms of Elsa and Anna are stunning examples of this — Anna’s room and nightgown are warm with sunny pinks and yellows, like a hopeful sunrise. Elsa’s room is cool purples and worrisome blues, mimicking her mother’s purple traveling cloak. I found this choice especially thought provoking since her mother had not wanted to hide Elsa’s powers or shut her into confinement, while her father had, and the choice eventually proved destructive. I found the use of pinks and purples to be moving because these colors, like the women, are not opposites, but rather sisters, both made from red. To me, this symbolizes that they are tied by blood and, in the end, love. They are not so different after all.

The actors give energized, specific, and engaging performances across the board. Daisy Wright as Anna is natural and endearing, her good-hearted naivety and awkward charm prove incredibly sincere and believable, not falling into the frequent mistake of making the character annoying and overly-obnoxious — which I thoroughly appreciated. Her physicality — from her wide open, joyous arms to her humble tilt of the chin — feels wonderfully human, which increases the heartbreak factor when she is betrayed by those she trusts. Cayleigh Capaldi as Elsa is also perfectly cast, her voice is solid, constant, and strong as ice, belting powerfully with awe-inspiring ease.

Preston Taylor as Hans appears comfortable and natural, swaggering across the stage with strong shoulders and loose limbs, creating a non-intimidating presence, with his voice soaring beautifully above the audience. Jeffrey Landman as Weselton is animated and vivacious, executing excellent voice work with textured, colorful inflections which compliment his hilariously flailing and pompous physicality.

My favorite acting performance, however, is given by Bentley Nuila who plays Young Anna. As a ball of infinite, impulsive energy and pure excitement, I believe much of the show’s success is thanks to her opening the production. Charming and fearlessly authentic, Nuila reminds us how much fun a night at the theater can be, and for that, I thank her!

At this point of a review, I usually discuss the faults of a production — but honestly, nothing really “bothered me anyway.”

Whether you’re one of the many Elsa-costumed-kiddos filling the seats, a rock-solid guardian, or a lover of fantastic theatrical entertainment, I’d be shocked if you did not enjoy this brilliant, magical production. Seeing Tuacahn’s regional premiere of Frozen is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — don’t “let it go” by!

Disney’s Frozen plays through October 17th (on alternating days,) at 8:45pm, at Tuacahn Amphitheatre (1100 Tuacahn Drive, Ivins, Utah 84738). Tickets are $35-$111. For more information, visit https://www.tuacahn.org/.

This review is generously supported by a grant from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums.