Abigail “Abby” Kimmelman remembers having a “great time” when she was eight or nine years old and her mother took her and her brother, Paul, to the ice rink at Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown, N.J. Her mother said if she enjoyed skating that much, she could take lessons.
“I never stopped enjoying it,” Kimmelman says.
Now she is cast as Anna in Disney on Ice presents Frozen, which opens at Florence Civic Center Nov. 30. The ice show is based on the Disney movie Frozen about two sisters, Elsa and Anna. Elsa has supernatural powers and unintentionally changes the entire kingdom of Arendelle to a frozen state.
She runs away and hides but Anna, along with Kristoff, an ice harvester, and his reindeer, Sven, find her and Anna breaks the spell.
“I love playing Anna,” Kimmelman, 24, says. “Anna has an extraordinary heart. I feel like it’s such an honor to be able to portray her character. She is a wonderful example for young girls.”
Kimmelman cites optimism, determination and loving as characteristics Anna possesses. “She is also an extremely high-energy character, which is so much fun to portray on the ice,” she says. “I believe it coincides with my style of skating, so I could not be happier to emulate her character in the show.”
Although in the past she competed on the national level, Kimmelman says, “I enjoyed performing in shows more than I enjoyed competing.”
When it was time to choose a college, Kimmelman picked Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She explains she wanted to continue skating and Miami U. has a robust hockey program. “You typically look for a school with a lot of hockey so you can get the ice time,” she says. “I just love skating. I love being out there, and I love performing for an audience. I love the feeling of being free. You feel free on the ice.”
She received her Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology in 2016, majoring in sports leadership and management with a minor in coaching. She auditioned at Disney in February 2016 before graduating in May. “I decided I wanted to audition because I love skating, and I didn’t want to be done, and I really wanted to join a prestigious show where I could continue to perform at a high level but also see the world. I was fortunate enough to be cast and be part of a great company.”
The most difficult part of playing Anna, Kimmelman says, is that the story is a bit sad even though it has a happy ending. “[Anna] misses her sister, and she just wants to connect with Elsa. You feel that heartache while you skate it even if you skate it a million times.” She adds, “I promise you. I am enjoying myself. It’s always fun.”
Kimmelman says it isn’t hard for her to get into Anna’s character, but she does have a ritual before she goes on the ice. “I am very particular about putting my skates on, so some people will joke around that I always have to put my right skate on first then I’ll put my other skate on. I always have to wipe my blades down a certain way.”
Besides her love of skating, Kimmelman enjoys knitting. She says her grandmother taught her the skill, but she denies being a pro. “I am strictly a scarf knitter,” she says. “Around Christmas time it’s my go-to holiday gift.”
Disney on Ice Presents Frozen continues its U.S. tour into 2018, and Kimmelman says it’s her first U.S. tour. In 2016 she toured Asia with The Wonderful World of Disney on Ice.
An audience admires a performer who embraces the character she’s playing, and in Disney on Ice presents Frozen, Kimmelman is the perfect performer.
“I absolutely love portraying the role of Anna and Disney on Ice presents Frozen,” she says. “I think it’s a wonderful story, and I hope I can share that magical experience with those coming to the show.”
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If You Go
What | Disney on Ice presents Frozen
Where | Florence Civic Center, 3300 West Radio Drive, Florence
When | 7 p.m. Nov. 30-Dec. 1; 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. Dec. 2; 1 p.m. Dec. 3
Cost | $20+
Contact | 800-745- 3000; online, www.disneyonice.com, www.vividseats.com, www.ticketmaster.com
Details | www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce; @DisneyOnIce;