Broadway's Anna takes a mental health day from 'Frozen' — and fans are happy to let it go

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Patti Murin and John Riddle in Broadway’s Frozen. (Photo: Deen van Meer/Disney Theatrical Group)

Broadway has a serious case of Frozen fever right now, thanks to Disney’s blockbuster stage adaptation of its 2013 animated favorite, which adds some great new songs to the beloved soundtrack. But the demands of performing in a major musical theater spectacle eight times a week can take its toll on the cast and crew, raising their stress levels to a point where it’s not easy to just let it go. That’s what happened to Patti Murin, who plays Arendelle’s level-headed princess, Anna (voiced in the film by Kristen Bell). On Tuesday night, the Broadway veteran of such productions as Xanadu and Lysistrata Jones declined to go onstage for the 8 p.m. performance. In an Instagram post earlier today, Murin revealed the reason why she took the night off … and it wasn’t to build a snowman. “I had a massive anxiety attack in the afternoon,” the actress wrote, adding that it was an attack that had been building up in the month since the musical’s Broadway premiere on March 22.

“While the past month has been incredible, all of the ups and downs and stress and excitement really takes a toll on my mental health,” Murin continued. “I’ve learned that these situations aren’t something to ‘deal with’ or ‘push through.’” Instead, her prescription was to take a mental health day to allow time for some crucial self-care. She praised Disney for giving her the space to heal, and then closed by speaking to everyone who wrestles with anxiety and depression. “Just remember that you’re not alone, your feelings are real, and this is not your fault. Even Disney princesses are terrified sometimes.”

Murin’s earnest, emotional message is resonating on social media. Since posting her note, she’s received plenty of praise and positive feedback from fans who have also felt frozen in place by depression and anxiety.

At press time, Murin hadn’t revealed whether she’d be returning to Frozen in time for tonight’s curtain, or if her break would last a little longer. Either way, the support she’s received from her Frozen family and fans is a welcome reminder that, despite what Kristoff thinks, people can be better than reindeers.

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