The snow-capped mountains of the fictitious Kingdom of Arendelle in Disney’s hit musical, Frozen might seem like a world away from the sunny Central Coast, but Frozen’s leading lady Jemma Rix insists spending her formative years in Avoca Beach helped pave the way to bring her most iconic role to life.
The Avoca Beach native is currently playing one of Disney’s most beloved heroines, Queen Elsa in the musical adaptation of the box office juggernaut, Frozen. The musical which mostly follows the film’s plot, albeit is longer in duration and contains even more toe-tapping tunes, follows the story of two sisters, Anna played by Courtney Monsma and Elsa (played by Rix), who have grown up somewhat estranged, because of the latter’s inability to control her magical powers. When an altercation results in Elsa exposing her true powers and freezing the entire Kingdom of Arendelle, her younger sister Anna takes it upon herself to find Elsa and save her kingdom.
“It’s a story about family and this incredible bond between two sisters,” says Rix. “Elsa fears embracing who she is because she doesn’t want to hurt those around her, but throughout the musical she learns that she has so much to offer and she needs to let go of those fears embrace what makes her unique. Both sisters realise each other’s strengths and let each other shine in their own right.”
“It was just mum, dad, me and my brother Riley growing up, so I was very close to my parents who still live on the Central Coast. I spent a lot of time doing community theatre at Gosford Musical Society and singing in Sydney pubs with my band when I was older which shaped me as a performer and helped me gain the confidence to audition for bigger roles.” Since then, the seasoned performer has gone on to star in several hit musicals including Evita and Wicked before being crowned with one of the most coveted roles in recent years – Elsa.
“When I saw the musical on Broadway, I knew I had to play Elsa. The moment Elsa sings ‘Let It Go’ is just incredible. Sitting in the audience and seeing the amazing costume change, hearing the music soar and the gasps from the audience and that energy! I just knew
I wanted to be a part of that and the fact that I get to do that eight shows a week is an absolute dream come true.”
“I am a big Disney fan! So to have the opportunity to play such an iconic Disney character that represents so much to so many people, both children and adults is incredible. It’s been a true career highlight.”
When Jemma isn’t belting out Oscar-winning ballads on stage, she enjoys spending time by the beach which reminds her of her own childhood on the Central Coast. “There’s nothing better than walking with your friends and feeling the fresh ocean air on your skin. Especially when you’re performing and surrounded by extravagant sets and costumes, it feels nice to be able to get away and just look out to the sea. It reminds me of those carefree days growing up in Avoca Beach. I used to go kayaking at Wamberal Lagoon and enter Highland dancing competitions on the weekends.”
When her schedule permits, Jemma tries to head home to visit her parents. “I try and get back as often as I can and when I’m back home we love to get coffee and go for a long coastal walk- I love the walk to The Skillion. I also play golf with my dad at Breakers Country Club (and we often have dinner there as well!).
But long visits home seem to be off the cards for now. Frozen is set to lower the curtain on its Sydney run at the end of May at the Capitol Theatre before enchanting audiences in Melbourne from June, but Rix couldn’t be happier. “Especially with the year that has been, it’s so wonderful to be able to be on stage and bring so much joy to so many people. There are so many of our peers in our industry that haven’t been able to perform for so long, so we are grateful we get to do this and to be part of such a magical show.”
Catch Jemma Rix as Elsa in Frozen the Musical until 23rd May 2021. Tickets available from www.frozenthemusical.com.au
Jemma’s favourite Central Coast brunch spots
1. Like Minds in Avoca Beach.
So much more than just a coffee shop – there is also an art gallery, creative hub, design venue and market garden.
2. Malibu Cafe in Wamberal.
I love the coffee here.
3. Glee Coffee Roasters in Erina Heights.
Also great coffee – give me a great coffee, ocean walk and my dog and it’s my perfect day!