Deer Creek alum returns to home state as part of Disney's 'Frozen'

·6 min read

"For the First Time in Forever" — OK, maybe not quite that long — Natalie Goodin will be back in a familiar place that houses many of her warmest memories: Civic Center Music Hall.

"I will catch a younger girl sitting closer to the front of the audience, and I just physically remember that being me. When I was a kid, my parents would bring me to shows — primarily at the Civic Center, seeing Broadway tours, shows at Lyric Theatre — and I just remember being like, 'This is what I want to do,'" Goodin told The Oklahoman.

Born and raised in OKC, Goodin is returning to her hometown as part of the cast of the North American tour of Disney's hit musical "Frozen." The stage version of the Oscar-winning animated blockbuster is playing Oklahoma City for the first time in, well, ever March 22-April 2 at the Civic Center, where it's part of a grand spring finale for OKC Broadway's 2022-2023 season. (The last show of the season will be the return of the smash musical "Hamilton!" May 24-June 4).

Caroline Bowman stars as Elsa and Lauren Nicole Chapman as Anna in the North American tour of the Disney musical "Frozen."
Caroline Bowman stars as Elsa and Lauren Nicole Chapman as Anna in the North American tour of the Disney musical "Frozen."

What can people expect when Disney's 'Frozen' musical comes to OKC?

Originally slated to come to OKC during the 2020-2021 season before the COVID-19 pandemic forced audiences to temporarily "Let It Go," Disney's "Frozen" features the film's familiar songs, plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers by the movie's award-winning songwriters, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

A member of the "Frozen" ensemble, Goodin is returning to OKC on her first national tour of a Broadway musical, after she graduated with her bachelor of fine arts in musical theater performance from the University of Oklahoma.

But the 2016 Deer Creek High School valedictorian's musical theater training actually dates back to age 3, when she started lessons at Dance Unlimited/Spotlight Acting Academy in Edmond. Along with performing with her school choirs, she appeared in Lyric Theatre productions of "A Christmas Carol," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Oklahoma!," "Wizard of Oz" and "Mary Poppins" and performed with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic's "The Christmas Show."

With all those credits, Goodin has spent lots of time on the stage as well as in the seats at the Civic Center, and she gets emotional talking about her return to her hometown theater.

"When I booked this job and I saw Oklahoma City was on on the tour roster, I was just thrilled. I can't wait to see the people that  helped shape my career. ... I can't wait to be with my friends and family. I can't wait to show my company and my cast members Oklahoma and Oklahoma City," Goodin said by phone from the road.

Oklahoma City Natalie Goodin is a member of the ensemble for the North American touring company of the Disney musical "Frozen."
Oklahoma City Natalie Goodin is a member of the ensemble for the North American touring company of the Disney musical "Frozen."

Here's what else the OKC native had to say about starring in "Frozen":

Pandemic graduate had to be patient

Q: Since you graduated from OU in 2020, I guess you were a pandemic graduate?

A: I was a pandemic graduate. I graduated online, and I think it was like a PowerPoint presentation. (laughs) But it was interesting, because we're gearing up to move to New York, we're gearing up to start our careers, we've trained for four years, I've trained since I was 3 ... and then to be told "You're not coming back to school, this is it."

I know everybody was rocked by the pandemic in so many different ways. And I know for a lot of performers, it was like the industry didn't exist — nor did it come back until last year, basically. It was hard. I remember sitting at my parents' house thinking, "What am I going to do now? This is all that I've ever wanted. This is all that I like to do."

While I found other things that I'm good at, I just had to be patient. So, instead of moving to New York (in) August of 2020, I waited until January of 2022. So, it definitely took some time. But it's funny how timing works out because I got "Frozen" in June of 2022, and then I was on the road. So, I'm just grateful that the industry is back ... and people want to see theater.

Audience participation is high during 'Frozen'

Q: The show is such a fan favorite, especially for little girls: Do you hear a lot of singing from the audience when those familiar songs come up?

A: Sometimes we do. I vividly remember it was Cleveland, Ohio, it was our very last show: It was a long rehearsal week that week, I remember that people were tired ... and it was the eighth show of the week. Anna and Elsa sing a little bit of a reprise of "Let It Go" at the end leading into the finale. And we just hear, it sounded like a school choir of children singing along to "Let It Go." And it was the most beautiful thing ever. It really just put everyone in the best mood, reminded us all why we do this — why we travel, why we leave home — to bring this unique joy and escape and inspire young children. Because for most of these kids, it's their first time ever seeing a Broadway show.

'Explosive' moment is a favorite

Q: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?

A: I do. It's "First Time in Forever." It's the end whenever all the partygoers come out, we're all in our coronation dresses, and we get to run through the gates of the castle. It is the most explosive moment in the show. Also, at the end of that number, that's the first time that the audience really gets to clap, which is interesting, because you're 20, 25 minutes into the show ... by then. And that's when you really see how massive the production is. It's a beautiful moment.

Caroline Bowman, center, stars as Elsa in the North American tour of the Disney musical "Frozen."
Caroline Bowman, center, stars as Elsa in the North American tour of the Disney musical "Frozen."

'Frozen' show has 'secret hidden adult humor'

Q: Do you feel like sometimes you guys win over the doubters, the ones who think maybe "Frozen" isn't the show for them or this is just kid material? And is that fun? 

A: Yeah. Whenever you have all ages come to the show, people walk in really not knowing what to expect originally. Or, they think, "Oh, I'm bringing my kids here; it's gonna be super kid friendly" — and it is: it's definitely for kids, and it's the original story that everyone knows and loves — but there's this kind of secret hidden adult humor here and there that comes in. ...

But I would say the main thing that really amazes people of all ages is the technical element of this show. Seeing Elsa transform the stage into her ice palace is unbelievable. Her transformation in "Let It Go" when her dress changes with a flash in front of your eyes — if you blink, you miss it — you hear gasps all across the board from all ages.

So, I think what really wows people is they don't realize how massive this production is — how many people it takes onstage and offstage, backstage especially, to put this together. I think we travel over 20 18-wheeler trucks just for our set. That's how massive this is. ... Sitting in the theater and seeing that come to life on stage, you kind of forget that you're taking your kids to the theater.


This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Returning with 'Frozen,' this OKC native isn't letting go of her roots