September 22, 2022 By Vaseline

Breaking the ice with the young Jewish star of “Frozen”

A young Jewish girl from White Plains, New York stars in an upcoming production at the Benedum Center. Mackenzie Mercer will play the role of young Elsa when a touring production of Frozen: The Musical comes to Pittsburgh next month.

The 11-year-old said her drive to perform was natural.

“I’ve always loved singing, acting and being on stage,” she told the Chronicle.

Get The Jewish Chronicle Weekly Edition by email and never miss our top stories Sign up for free

At age 4, Mackenzie took part in a program called Star Kids. That led to singing lessons over the summer, leading to her bringing manager Jason Bercy on to her team. She was bitten hard by the acting bug and has since starred in touring productions.

“I auditioned for a bit, and when I was 7 I was touring for ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas,'” Mackenzie said. “It was very short but very good.”

Mackenzie likes life on the road. When she’s away, she’s tutored by educators in the theaters and assigned a tutor, her mother said.
However, her star turn in Frozen doesn’t mark her Pittsburgh debut. She made her Steel City debut as Little Cosette in Les Miserables in 2019.

Mackenzie admits she auditioned for Frozen six times before getting the part — and practically had to do it because of COVID-19.
“It was all Zoom,” she laughed, “even the last call back.”

The critic in her is excited about the new show, she said. She grew up watching the Frozen films and sang “Let It Go” and finds the screenplay for the stage musical powerful.

“The good thing about the show is that it has great songs and it’s a good time for all ages,” Mackenzie said. “It’s funny, very funny.”
Mackenzie’s mother, Shelly LeWinter, said her daughter was drawn to the strong sister bond in Frozen; Yes, Mackenzie has a younger sister.
And Mackenzie isn’t shy about promoting the musical.

“It’s really fun to tour,” she said. “And you should check out Frozen.”

Mackenzie isn’t the only one excited about the show. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is “delighted” to open its season “with one of Disney’s most magical musicals, ‘Frozen,'” said Marc Fleming, the organization’s chief marketing officer and vice president of Broadway programming. “During the 16-performance, two-week run, we will welcome over 40,000 people downtown, with over 25% of the audience being brand new to the cultural district. It’s the perfect Broadway show to continue our comeback to the live performing arts in Pittsburgh.”

From the producer of The Lion King and Aladdin, the Tony-nominated Best Musical, Frozen will premiere at the Benedum Center for a two-week period beginning Wednesday, October 5. The performances last until Sunday 16th October.

Frozen stars Caroline Bowman as “Elsa” and Lauren Nicole Chapman as “Anna”, the sisters at the heart of the upbeat musical. They are joined by leads Jeremy Davis as “Olaf”, Dominic Dorset as “Kristoff”, Will Savarese as “Hans”, Evan Duff as “Weselton”, Collin Baja and Dan Plehal alternating as “Sven”, and Aria Kane and Saheli Khan alternating as “Young Anna” and Mackenzie Mercer and Sydney Elise Russell alternating as “Young Elsa”. PJC

Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh.