SPARTANBURG S.C. (WSPA) – Frozen the Musical opens tonight at the Peace Center, taking audiences to the fictional land of Arendelle, the Scandinavian-inspired kingdom that serves as the setting for the performance.

To bring audiences into the fictional world of Arendelle, located sometime in the 1800s, took a lot of hard work, a bunch of creative talent, and dozens of actors (who need many, many clothes).

This is the role of the costume designers, who were tasked with bringing this magical world to life with fabric, thread, needles, and inspiration.

The clothes in Frozen are primarily based on bunad, the folk costumes of Norway. Each region of Norway has its own style and pattern variations of bunad, and the production incorporated many of them into the world of Arendelle,” according to a press release.

The musical, and 2013 film upon which it’s based, takes inspiration from the diverse geography, mythology, and cultural traditions of Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, each with its own unique customs and costumes, according to a press release from the musical, according to the press release.

Sketch of Elsa’s dress (Courtesy: Frozen, The Musical)

Costume Fun Facts:

  • Elsa’s Ice dress took one person 42 days to bead and includes more than 10,000 beads, crystals and stones, according to a statement from the musical.
  • Sparkle count:
    • On Elsa’s ice dress:
      • Sew-on stones: 954
      • Crystal beads: 10,800
      • Lochrosen crystals: 3,600
      • Hotfix crystals: 2,880
  • On Elsa’s “Monster” costume
    • 400 sew-on stones 
    • 1,100 crystal beads and Lochrosen
  • There’s no real fur in the show. The production uses nearly 30 different kinds of faux fur.
Sketch of Anna’s costume (Courtesy: Frozen, The Musical)
  • There are 154 costumes on stage during the course of the show. Swings and understudies have an additional 144 costumes.
  • Young Anna has the fastest quick change in the show at only 8 seconds, requiring the assistance of three people.
  • There are 48 different kinds of flowers and grasses, and 71 different types of ribbons in the opening garlands.
  • There’s a repeated motif of a snowflake in a heart repeated in costumes throughout the show. In addition to being a traditional Scandinavian motif, it reveals some of Anna’s story. Can you spot them? (Spoiler: this motif appears in the gold pendant that Anna wears, as well as in her travel dress, among other places).
  • Every single item of clothing onstage is custom made for the show with the exception of socks, a few pairs of shoes, and the men’s gloves.
  • Kristoff and Olaf’s costumes are based on the traditional clothing of the Sami, the indigenous people of Scandinavia. Kristoff is firmly rooted in this world, as the Sami culture revolves around reindeer herding.
  • The design process began with research and sourcing fabrics, all based on the idea that the costumes needed to function primarily as real clothes. The palette of the show reflects this, using many authentic natural materials, such as wool and linen, in a rich natural palette.
  • Elsa’s clothes are designed to follow her character’s journey. She begins in stiff clothes, fully covered, and always with gloves. This reflects her fear of her own power and the way in which she closes herself off from everyone around her, including her sister. As she becomes more confident in her magic, she sheds these constricting garments and we see her in a dress made of ice that appears to be growing organically from her skin. The curling motifs of ice in this dress reflect her newfound joy. When the story takes a darker turn, Elsa’s ice motifs become sharper and jagged, while she gains independence and moves further from society’s expectations, even putting on pants!
Sketch of Elsa’s costume (Courtesy: Frozen, The Musical)
  • The Arendelle crest is a crocus flower. We see this repeated on the set and in the costumes, even in details you may not see from the audience – it’s on Elsa’s shoes, the Guard’s belts, even on the King’s necklace.
  • The King and Queen wear large buckles, based on Viking jewelry pieces from 900 AD.
  • The show incorporates many elements of handcrafting, which would have been common at the time, including hand-beading, knitting, crochet, and needlepoint. The production uses the latest developments in theatrical technology, such as digital printing, carbon fiber 3D printing, and thermoplastics.

A U.S. tour of the Broadway production began on November 10, 2019. It was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but resumed last Fall, according to Wikipedia.

The performance runs until April 17 and tickets can be purchased from the Peace Center.