Grandage will replace original director Alex Timbers, who left the production in August. While no specifics for the change were given at the time, Disney Theatrical Productions President and producer Thomas Schumacher said the decision “was especially painful” and “we have chosen to go in another direction with this role” (Timbers previously helmed Disney’s Peter and the Starcatcher).
Joining Grandage on Frozen will be his longtime set and costume design collaborator, Christopher Oram. Oram will replace original designer, Bob Crowley. In August, Christopher Gattelli was also tapped to replace original choreographer, Peter Darling (both won Tony’s for their work on Newsies and Billy Elliot, respectively).
The book for the Frozen musical is still being penned by original screenwriter and co-director Jennifer Lee, while music masterminds Robert Lopez (Book of Mormon) and Kristen Anderson-Lopez will compose the score and write the lyrics. All three earned Oscars for their work on the 2013 film.
Despite the creative shakeups, Disney confirmed that the Frozen musical is still on schedule to open at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in August 2017 before making its Broadway debut at the St. James spring 2018.
Both Grandage and Oram are acclaimed veterans of Broadway and West End in London. In 2010, Grandage won the Tony for Best Direction of a Play for Red, while Oram picked up Best Scenic Design for the same show. Among their numerous credits, the pair have also worked on Frost/Nixon, Evita and most recently a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie.