“Frozen: The Musical” is part of the current Broadway in Indianapolis season, and it’s a homecoming for one of its lead cast members. Evan Duff is from Fishers, a graduate of Hamilton Southeastern High School. He is portraying the Duke of Weselton in the touring production of Frozen, and he spoke recently via Zoom with WFYI’s Ray Steele.
RAY STEELE: How did we get from Fisher's to the stage? How did that happen?
EVAN DUFF: You know, I think like every kid, my parents put me in a lot of different sports when I was little. And I was really, really bad at them. I was really bad at them. And so, I stopped doing sports. And my mom was like, well, you need to be involved in something. And so, she put me in the Indianapolis Children's Choir. I sang with them for about nine years; I started in fourth grade, went all the way through high school, and just developed a love of music. And then in high school, I got really involved in my high school drama club. And I realized I really, really wanted to make a profession out of it. So, I auditioned and got into Ball State University's musical theater program, which is really, really great. And they taught me pretty much everything I know. And then I moved to New York, and I started auditioning, and now I'm here, you know, on the national tour for Frozen.
STEELE: What was the one thing or things perhaps that sparked the desire to do this for a living? It’s not an easy way to make a living. What made you say, I'm going to try to do this?
DUFF: First off, I've always had really great teachers who have been very encouraging, I would say, even, just from like, elementary school on all of my teachers were always really supportive. And I found that theater particularly was the first thing that I put a lot of hard work into and saw results that I felt like I could take like real ownership of, I think I got sort of addicted to the hard work of it all. And the collaboration that comes with it. And, and the artistry and I, I grew up my parents used to take me to the Murat, we used to see shows there, so I just always, I think I've had like a love for it. And it is difficult, but the reward I think is just so amazing.
STEELE: I'm glad you mentioned your time with the Indianapolis Children's Choir. Nine years with the Children's Choir. I'm sure that was fun. But for people who don't know, that's quite serious musical training, they take what they do very seriously.
DUFF: Yeah, it is. It's rigorous, and they treat you like a professional from the moment you start. And I really got comprehensive training there. And it's yeah, it's very serious. I remember, in sixth grade, we went to New York and sang in Carnegie Hall, just getting to work with some of the best musicians really in the country. So, it was really formative, and also taught me a lot about professionalism, you know, showing up on time and, and knowing where you're going and what to do and developing a practice regimen, all of that it was it was great.
STEELE: You are portraying Weselton in this touring production of Frozen. If folks have seen the movie Frozen, they may know this role brought to life by Alan Tudyk, one of my favorite people ever. What's fun about bringing the Weselton roll to the stage?
DUFF: I think what's most fun about it is that I feel really connected to Weselton. He can be a little goofy, and I tend to be a little goofy myself. But he's also pretty smart. And, and he has a lot of common sense. And I like to think of myself as someone who uses quite a lot of common sense. In Frozen, what's so great about it is that they really let us the actor sort of bring our own take to the roles that we're playing. And so, for me specifically, I've enjoyed the freedom of really just getting to develop my own understanding of the character and bring it to life in my way.
STEELE: Is this the first time you've gotten to do a touring production that's come back through Central Indiana?
DUFF: Yes, this is actually my first tour ever. I'm really I just feel so blessed that I'm actually getting to play Indianapolis. It's crazy.
STEELE: You get to play on some of the stages that you've seen before. I hope you've got friends and family coming.
DUFF: Yes, I have. My entire family is going to be in town for Thanksgiving. So, I'm going to be connecting with everyone and they're going to get to see me they haven't gotten to see me perform in quite some time. So, it's going to be really special.
STEELE: What's next for you? I mean, you being a working actor, working performer. You It's just constant. I guess you're looking for auditions looking for that next thing?
DUFF: I actually don't know what's next. I think that's sort of the beauty of being an actor. I'm lucky that I'm with this tour, which is long running, so I know that I'll be with it until September of next year. But after that, really, the possibilities are endless, so I'm excited to see what happens.
Evan Duff is from Fishers. He is the Duke of Weselton in the touring production of “Frozen the Musical.” It’ coming to Clowes Memorial Hall in Indianapolis. Information is available at BroadwayInindianapolis.com.