The Arden Theatre Company presents The Snow Queen, coming to Philadelphia between November 27th, 2019 and January 26th, 2020. Just in time for the holiday season! The all-ages play, based on Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairy tale, was also the inspiration for Disney’s Frozen. You and your family can journey through all four seasons in this beautiful show about friendship, adventure, and magic!
Alex Bechtel is a Philadelphia-based actor, composer, writer, teacher…to name a few of his roles! He arrived in Philadelphia 15 years ago to study theatre at the University of the Arts and has since become a well-known face throughout most of the theatre stages in Philadelphia. The Snow Queen will be his 9th production with The Arden Theatre company and he’s looking forward to welcoming audiences of all ages to experience the production. Read our Q&A to find out more about The Snow Queen, Alex’s involvement, and his upcoming projects here in Philadelphia.
Q: What are some of your earliest memories of theatre here in Philadelphia?
I arrived in Philadelphia in 2004 to study theatre at University of the Arts. The first show I ever saw in Philly was The Arden’s production of Steve Martin’s The Underpants. My ribs hurt from laughing and my mind was fully blown, watching Scott Greer, Jen Childs, Tony Lawton, and other brilliant Philly-based actors. I often think back to that moment and feel so lucky to be working now at The Arden, and to count Scott, Jen, and Tony as colleagues. Tony and I even got to open the musical we wrote (The Light Princess) on the very stage I first saw him perform ten years earlier. I feel really grateful to be a part of this city’s ever-growing theatrical traditions.
Q: How did you get involved with The Snow Queen?
This will be my 9th production at the Arden. I’ve been able to work on shows at the Arden as an actor, a composer, a sound designer, and a music director. Often, I’ll perform as an actor/musician – an actor that also plays musical instruments onstage. When they were casting The Snow Queen, they wanted to make sure they could include some actor musicians to interpret the original music that Christopher Colucci is making for the show. That’s where I came in! I had done a similar thing last year in the Arden’s production of Charlotte’s Web. I’m so excited to be able to return to Arden Children’s Theatre. It’s some of the most meaningful and fulfilling work I’ve ever done as an artist.
Q: The Snow Queen is adapted from a fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen. What are some of your favorite fairy tales?
A: There is something hiding deep in the DNA of so many fairy tales that I love. There’s often a moment where our lead character realizes that they’re not meant to be where they are. Perhaps, like Cinderella, or Rapunzel, they have found themselves trapped away from their true parentage, or even like Harry Potter — he’s been lied to his whole life about who he really is. I love the moments in which we realize that it’s not our surroundings, but our spirit, that define us and give us power. I think it’s incredibly inspiring.
Q: Is there a specific scene in The Snow Queen that you’re really excited to see come to life for the audience?
A: The thing that excites me most about The Snow Queen is the incredible collaborators that have assembled to bring it to life. Whit McLaughlin, our director, is a true visionary, and the way he’s been bringing children’s theatre to The Arden over the years is incredibly inspiring. I can’t wait to welcome audiences of all ages into the space to see the work of our actors, designers, and backstage artists. I know it’s going to be one-of-a-kind.
Q: What do you think children will love most about this show?
A: Everything! Live theatre is actual magic made in front of your eyes by living breathing humans who care about you deeply enough to tell you the story to your face! There’s live music! There’s incredible imagery! There’s a legendary story! What’s not to love?
Q: The Snow Queen is a great family-friendly outing for the holiday season. Do you have anything you love to do with your family during this time of year?
A: I come from a family of musicians. We love to get together and play music together. Most family gatherings around the holidays, for us, end up with a room full of people sitting around playing guitars and singing songs. It’s a pretty incredible way to connect and share space and time together, and I look forward to it all the time.
Q: You’re a big part of Philly’s theatre scene. Is there anything you’re working on and/or looking forward to here in 2020?
I’m composing new music for People’s Light & Theatre Company’s production of Shakespeare in Love, which will be directed by my collaborator Matt Pfeifer. That will open in March of 2020. As an audience member, I cannot wait to see The Arden’s production of Once on this Island, and the Wilma’s production of Is God Is.
Single tickets to The Snow Queen are currently on sale, and make the ideal holiday gift! Visit the Arden Theatre Company’s website for more information.