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Children’s Community Theatre’s ‘Frozen Jr.’ a ‘magical experience’ in DeKalb

DeKALB – Do you want to build a snowman?

Community members will have a chance to see Olaf come to life and Elsa “let it go” during Children’s Community Theatre’s upcoming performances of Disney’s “Frozen Jr.”

CCT will perform Disney’s “Frozen Jr.” April 28 through May 1 at the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St. in DeKalb. Show times are at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 28-30, and 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1.

Depending on proximity to the stage, tickets cost $15 or $20 for adults and $15 or $10 for children ages 4 to 12. Children age 3 and younger get in free. Tickets can be purchased online at https://egyptiantheatre.org.

The production features a cast of 43 students in first through 12th grades. Preparation for the show began two years ago but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several of the original actors that were cast returned for this year’s show.

“I think the show offers a little bit of normalcy again,” Director Karla Gulke said. “The kids are from all over DeKalb County: Genoa, Somonauk, DeKalb, Sycamore. They weren’t able to see each other because they go to different schools. It’s great to see each other again and have the opportunity to be on stage and perform.”

Gulke said “Frozen Jr.” has the same plot as the Disney movie, but also features additional lines and songs.

“It’s about sisters and their relationship, Anna and Elsa figuring out who they are and the fact that true love conquers all,” Gulke said.

Becca Gulke, the show’s choreographer and Karla Gulke’s daughter, has worked on six other CCT productions. This is the first time she’s worked on a show with her mom.

“The show is little different from the movie and having a real-life cast presents different challenges,” Becca Gulke said. “The Disney movie has animation, and we imitate that with dancing and acting.”

Alivia Cooper, 17, of Kirkland said she loves acting and being on stage.

“I love being somebody else for a moment,” said Cooper, who portrays Pabbie, one of The Hidden Folk. “Being in the show makes my childhood. It’s pretty cool watching it come to life.”

Grace Turk, 17, of Elburn said “Frozen” was one of her favorite movies when she was a young girl. She remembers seeing it three times in the theater.

“I think all of the cast has seen the movie at least once,” said Turk, who portrays Bulda, one of The Hidden Folk. “It’s a dream come true and it’s a lot of fun. You’ve got to come to the show. It’ll thaw your heart.”

Foster Doll of DeKalb, 11, said he enjoys his role as Olaf because it allows him to be silly and goofy all the time.

“It’s great to be acting and performing again after the pandemic,” said Doll, who has performed with CCT for three years. “It’s given me a new appreciation of live performance and of Disney movies.”

“Frozen Jr.” is the second time Levi Kedzie of Stewart, 8, will perform with CCT. Kedzie is one of The Hidden Folk.

“I like that I get to be mysterious and strange and get to wear a costume,” Kedzie said. “I’ve also been able to make a lot of new friends. There’s a lot of singing and dancing, which is fun, too.”

Director Gulke said she has seen children learn and grow through “Frozen Jr.”

“Some kids didn’t want any lines at first and were a little bit shy and quiet,” Gulke said. “Now they have their own solos in songs. ... For some kids, plays and musicals are their sport. This is a chance for them to do what they love. They’ve made friendships, have camaraderie and they encourage and support each other. It’s truly been a wonderful, magical experience.”