At just 10 and 7 years old, Natalie and Victoria Chan are living their dreams as they tour nationwide performing as Young Elsa and Young Anna for the Broadway rendition of “Frozen.”
They are the first pair of real-life sisters to simultaneously be casted for the theatrical production, with Victoria being the youngest ever at just 7.
Their mother, Cristina Chan, and her husband, Patrick Chan, moved from their hometown of Sayreville to East Brunswick in 2019.
Cristina Chan, a music teacher, says her daughters were naturally introduced to music by the nature of her profession. To her delight, Natalie first expressed interest in singing and unsurprisingly, Victoria did too.
“I am a music teacher, so my children were always around music. I noticed my older daughter, Natalie, loved to sing at a young age so I encouraged her to sing and learn music. Of course, her little sister, Victoria, wanted to do everything her big sister did,” Cristina Chan said.
“Singing is my favorite thing! My mom always sang to me as a young kid, so it made me want to sing too. … Singing and acting gives me a way to express myself and it’s a lot of fun,” Natalie said.
Despite their young age, both Natalie and Victoria have lengthy resumes that include performing in local plays, appearing in television shows and voice acting for animation.
“Natalie performed with Plays in the Park in Edison as the child soloist in Evita when she was 7 years old. She has also performed with New Jersey Repertory Theater in South Brunswick, Applause Theater in Scotch Plains, and Pixie Dust Players in Rahway.
“Natalie has been in many musical productions since she was 6 years old. She is also a recurring guest star on an animated series due to come out in 2022 and has done voiceover for radio,” Cristina Chan said.
When Natalie started participating in different productions, Victoria was also inspired to step on stage. However, due to Victoria’s age at the time, she wasn’t eligible for certain theaters. Thankfully, Cristina was able to find a solution and Victoria was able to share the spotlight with her older sister.
“I decided to try theater because I love to act. I saw my big sister perform in a lot of shows so I wanted to try it too. When I was 5, I was too young to audition for musicals, so I auditioned for TV shows and movies. I was in ‘Law & Order: SVU’ and also three movies,” Victoria said.
“Victoria wanted to perform like her big sister, but most community theaters won’t take 5-year-olds. She cried when she wasn’t allowed to audition for a show Natalie was in, so I looked into other acting opportunities for young children.
“During her kindergarten year, Victoria filmed three movies: a Netflix comedy-drama film called ‘Ali and Ratu Ratu Queens,’ an award-winning short film about gun violence in schools called ‘American Morning,” and a feature film that is due to come out in 2023. She also had a co-star role in an episode of ‘Law & Order: SVU,’ ” Cristina Chan said.
Now, the sisters from East Brunswick are co-starring in the North American tour of Disney’s “Frozen.”
According to their mother, Natalie first auditioned for the role of Young Anna two years ago, but she didn’t receive the part.
Then, with the COVID-19 pandemic surging, Broadway was forced to shut down for an extended period of time.
However, when auditions for “Frozen” were opened again in June of last year, both Natalie and Victoria sent in audition tapes for Young Elsa and Young Anna. After a period of silence, they finally received the news that both had been casted.
“This past June auditions for ‘Frozen’ finally started up again. Natalie sent in a self tape for Young Elsa this time since she was older, and Victoria sent in a self tape for Young Anna. After that we didn’t hear anything.
“I assumed they didn’t get it because usually you would get a callback if they were interested in you. However, we found out in July that they both booked it off their self tapes.
“Victoria, at age 7, is the youngest Young Anna to be in ‘Frozen’ and the girls are the first real sisters to play Young Anna and Young Elsa,” Cristina Chan said.
Although Natalie is familiar with on-stage performances, this will be Victoria’s first time on stage doing live theater.
Despite the lack of experience, Victoria confidently stated that she isn’t nervous because she’s just being herself.
“I don’t get nervous. I’m just myself. It’s pretty easy for me because the character of Young Anna is just like me. We are both silly and fun and love our sister,” Victoria said.
Since the tour is nationwide, both sisters have adapted to learning on the move. They admit it’s a challenge to do schoolwork in an unconventional setting, but they find support through a tutor and each other.
“Managing school and other responsibilities can be a little challenging. We have a tutor who teaches us during the day backstage and sometimes even during the show,” Natalie said.
“It’s a little difficult. It’s fun though because I get to do school with my sister backstage,” Victoria said.
Cristina Chan said that the long distance between her and her daughters can create stressful moments, but the joy of seeing them perform offsets the downsides.
“Being away from home for so long definitely can be stressful. There is so much planning that is involved and so many unknowns. However, the absolute joy of watching my girls on stage doing what they love makes it all worth it,” she said.
Natalie and Victoria excitedly shared that they both aspire to pursue careers in acting and singing in the future. Victoria also mentioned that she wouldn’t mind being a baker.
When asked about their best memories and experiences while touring for “Frozen,” they each shared a similar response.
“It is so much fun. I love seeing the actors every day and their warm smiles. Everyone in the company is so nice and I love getting to share the stage with them.
“The experience has been so amazing. I love seeing all the awesome cities and the best part is that I get to do it all with my sister,” Natalie said.
“The best part of being a part of the ‘Frozen’ cast is that I get to act with all the awesome actors. I also love to dance with everyone during the ‘Fixer Upper’ song. Everyone in the cast and crew is so helpful and kind,” Victoria said.
When asked about her daughters’ accomplishments, Cristina Chan credited her daughters for their perseverance and stated that she is extremely proud of them.
“I am extremely proud of my girls. Watching them perform with a Broadway company is surreal.
“It’s every mother’s dream to see their children happy and doing what they love. I am so proud of all their hard work and determination,” Cristina Chan said.
Currently, the tour is not scheduled to visit the Tri-State Area.
For more information on the national tour of Disney’s “Frozen,” visit https://frozenthemusical.com/about/