Sam Sessa came up with the idea of the music series that kids and adults could enjoy when he was at story time in a local library just outside of Baltimore with his two sons, ages 5 and 6. Other parents admired his T-shirt for WTMD, a local public radio station where Sessa works as the station’s Baltimore music and community outreach manager, and gushed about how much they loved going to the station’s evening concerts, even though they don’t attend much anymore because of their kids.
That’s when it dawned on him: Why should parents have to crawl out of bed just to spend their Saturday morning suffering through kiddie shows like Barney and the Wiggles? Why not start having concerts in the morning…for adults? He pitched the idea to the station’s general manager Scott Mullins and the Saturday Morning Tunes music series launched in January 2017. Past shows included those dedicated to bands like Grateful Dead and Phish, a couple of Sessa’s favorites. The success of the series encouraged them to branch out to venues beyond Baltimore, including DC.
On February 22, Saturday Morning Tunes will bring a live version of Frozen to DC. The 30-minute concert features all of the songs from the first film and a couple of the songs from the sequel, followed by a meet and greet with the cast. And while some performers would rather not perform to a crowd filled with kids mostly ages 7 and under, Britt Olsen-Ecker, a classically trained musician and half of the Baltimore pop duo Outcalls who plays Elsa, says she doesn’t mind it at all.
“I think it makes us stronger,” Olsen-Ecker says. “We just love different challenges and … trying to perform in different styles. That was really appealing for us.” To say she’s committed to the cause would be an understatement: She performed the same Frozen: Live in Concert show in Baltimore in December while she was nine months pregnant, belting “Let It Go” just 14 days before her due date. (Surprisingly, hardly any children had questions.)
Even though Olsen-Ecker has already delivered her baby boy, there are other things audiences can expect from the show when it comes to the Miracle Theatre, including an irreverent script written by the other half of Outcalls, Melissa Wimbish, who also plays Anna in the show. Wimbish made sure to sprinkle the script with jokes that only parents would get.
“It was pretty easy to do with the material that was already there and of course poking fun at the idea that … there’s no way you can escape Frozen as a parent,” Wimbish says.
“That’s the idea behind the series,” Sessa says. “It’s not kids music, it’s a concert that ideally I would want to go to at a time that I can take my kids to it with me.”
Saturday Morning Tunes’ Frozen: Live in Concert takes place Saturday, February 22, from 10-11 AM at the Miracle Theatre. Tickets are free for kids under 2, $14 for kids 2 and up, and $17 for adults. There’s also a family pack that goes for $59.