ELKHART — More than 1,000 local elementary school students on Wednesday were invited to an exclusive premiere of Premier Arts’ latest production, “Frozen Jr.” 

The show was part of the theater group’s Youth Educational Series, a field trip opportunity for school-age children to experience live theater.

Based on the 2013 Disney movie, this show is adapted for young performers from the Broadway musical that opened in 2017.

The packed crowd showed lots of enthusiasm for the hourlong musical, which featured vibrant sets and costumes that kept their eyes glued to the stage and catchy tunes that the children at times sung along to.

Craig Gibson, executive artistic director of Premier Arts, said the theater group has been putting on Youth Educational Series shows for the past 13 years and, since its inception, over 50,000 local students have attended a Premier Arts show at the Lerner Theatre.

The objective behind the program, Gibson said, is to help create the next generation of theatergoers to give the students an appreciation for the arts and what it takes to put on a production.

“Happy coincidence is that many of those kids in the audience decide they would like to give (theater) a try and audition for a show,” he said. “For many of the students, theater is not their intended occupation but an avocation. But the skills that they learn at the theater such as self-sufficiency, respect and confidence are all ingredients in the recipe that will create their future successes.”

That was the case for 6-year-old Max Krol, a preschooler at Montessori School of Elkhart, who said he looks forward to trying out for a Premier Arts production someday. “That was amazing,” he said of the show. 

Gibson said he believed Wednesday’s showing fared well and the Youth Educational Series program is one of his favorite Premier Arts offerings.

“One of the things I love the most about shows like ‘Frozen’ is the excitement and energy of the audience,” he said. “Those kids were so excited to be there and to watch and enjoy ‘Frozen’ on stage with live actors that are their age,” he said. “It’s a very unique and cool experience for the audience.

Premier Arts has another Youth Educational Series show of “Frozen Jr.” on Thursday. The Youth Educational Series programs are not open to the public but schools and home-schooled children.

The public show runs on Saturday.

IF YOU GO

Details about the public presentation of “Frozen Jr.” are in Entertainment, A6

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