One of the most anticipated musicals of the year is cracking audiences up with an ode to the Scandinavian lifestyle trend.
Audiences at previews of Broadway’s Frozen, which is opening on March 22 and is destined to be one of the hottest tickets since Hamilton, are going crazy for a brilliant number that all but blows down the house and W. 44th Street with it. And no, it isn’t Elsa’s signature power ballad “Let It Go” (though that song is pretty awesome, too). Instead, the new breakout song is a comical tribute to the art of hygge.
If you've seen hygge splashed all over the Internet, in book titles, catalogs, and articles about rugs, sweaters, and slippers, but still aren’t quite sure what it means, the hilarious character Oaken will explain the Nordic lifestyle trend for you. The proprietor of Oaken’s Trading Post & Sauna (featured in a funny but brief and song-free scene in the 2013 blockbuster movie), opens Act II of Frozen by walking down the aisle, greeting members of the audience, and then launching into the song “Hygge” (pronounced HOO-ga), accompanied by a chorus of prancing Norwegian sauna-goers wearing nothing but towels and batting themselves with branches and leaves. As the dancers work themselves into a joyous frenzy about hygge, the towels disappear, leading to some very clever choreography that still manages to be completely G-rated (this is a DIsney production, after all).
Oaken sings about how Scandinavians are so much happier than everyone else because they embrace hygge, a philosophy of surrounding yourself with warmth and coziness. What is hygge? Sitting by the fire, drinking alcohol, and playing Parcheesi with family and friends, he explains. What is definitely not hygge? An eternal winter caused by Queen Elsa’s dark magic.
It’s not surprising that composers Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez have managed to add yet another brilliant song to their hit list of “Let It Go,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” and “For the First Time in Forever.” After all, they just won their second Oscar, for “Remember Me” from Coco. That award made Robert Lopez, who also wrote the music and lyrics for Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon, the world’s first double EGOT, meaning he has won at least two each of Emmys, Grammys, Oscars, and Tonys.
No doubt his family is basking in some major hygge right now.