Skip to main content

Sandy Journal

Despite weeks of hard work, members of Sandy’s Frozen Jr. cast have to ‘let it go’

Apr 06, 2020 11:12AM ● By Heather Lawrence

Plans for the Sandy Arts Guild’s youth theater production of “Frozen Jr.” are on ice due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. (Photo courtesy Sean Buckley)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

Plans for the Sandy Arts Guild’s youth theater production of “Frozen Jr.” are on ice due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Sandy Arts posted online about their decision to cancel the rest of the rehearsals and a public performance. The production, made up of actors 18 and younger, was scheduled for the beginning of April at Mount Jordan Middle Theater.

Elyse George is the marketing director for Sandy Arts Guild. “After we heard about the restrictions of mass gatherings by Gov. Herbert and other health officials, we made the choice to cancel the show. Our staff has worked so hard. But our priority was to help stop the spread of the virus, and we needed to do our part,” George said.

There are options for a limited performance for immediate family. “If the restrictions are lifted by March 31, we’ll do a couple last rehearsals and play just to immediate family. But it won’t be open to the public. We’ll keep evaluating the situation and go from there,” George said.

George said there’s a possibility the show could play later in the year, but with all the logistics involved, it’s not likely. “We might be able to do a concert version. But it depends on venue and cast member availability. A lot of things would have to coordinate to make it happen.”

Community events were canceled by the dozens after Gov. Herbert announced the restriction and the “soft closure” of schools beginning March 16. Sandy Arts Guild also postponed the annual Elementary School Arts Show. It usually shows at the Shops at South Town in spring and draws big crowds.

“We are hoping to reschedule [the art show] with Shops at South Town when the mass gathering restrictions are lifted, but we’re not sure when that will be,” George said.

Copperview Rec Center’s Youth Theater production of “James and the Giant Peach” was also up in the air. Auditions were set for March 16, but Salt Lake County Rec Centers were closed. “Auditions are off for [now]. We’re going to assess the situation to see if the show can be done later. We’ll send out more information as we get it,” said Eric Bonin, program coordinator for Copperview. 

Anyone who has questions or is interested in signing up can email Bonin at [email protected] for more information.

The closures hit home for people like Karen Chatterton, the costumer for “Frozen Jr.” who has already put in over 150 hours on this production. Chatterton has worked on Sandy Arts Guild productions for seven years. Her designs included life-size Olaf and Sven puppets, and a complicated “transformation dress” for Elsa inspired by the “Frozen” production at Disneyland.

“It’s incredibly disappointing. I know how hard the kids have worked, and for them to have it not come to fruition is heartbreaking. And it’s sad for me. I’m really hoping we can get it scheduled,” Chatterton said.

In addition to the cast of 56 youth actors, there was an army of parents and production team members behind the scenes who were also affected. Chatterton’s daughter Stephanie Jessop was the director, and Jessop’s daughter Mackenzie Gibson was the dance director.

“It was kind of a family affair. But it is what it is. It’s nobody’s fault and we have to be responsible citizens,” Chatterton said.

“It’s sad to cancel when you’ve been working so hard. These youth have been developing their talents. The production team had created some amazing things. To see all the work that’s gone into this and then have to walk away from it and not get to share it with the public is hard,” George said.