As we’re now in the heart of the holiday season, the major movie studios are rolling out the latest crop of “tentpole” movies, aimed at drawing family audiences to their films in the busiest movie-going days of the year. Disney’s latest offering, Frozen, hits theaters today. Frozen equally honors and reinvents the tradition of Disney fairy tales, and deserves the success and acclaim of modern Disney classics The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Aladdin.
The heart of what made the films deeply well-loved was the music. For Frozen, Disney enlisted the talents of husband-and-wife songwriting team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Robert won Tonys and numerous other awards for Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon, before the couple began working together on a number of animation projects including 2011’s Winnie the Pooh. In Frozen, their songs including “Let It Go,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” “For the First Time in Forever,” and “Reindeers Are Better Than People” are the perfect fit for this funny and resonant story with a voice cast that includes Kristen Bell (TV’s Veronica Mars), Idina Menzel (Rent), Jonathan Groff (TV’s Glee), and Josh Gad (Jobs). I recently enjoyed a fun and insightful chat with Robert and Kristen, and they took me deep into the process of writing the song score for Disney’s latest outing. Here’s what they shared with me about putting their spin on the Disney princess genre, balancing a writing partnership and a marriage, and crafting the songs of Frozen.