USC graduate to return to Columbia with “Disney on Ice presents Frozen”

For many people, working for Disney was a childhood dream. Very few get to claim it as their actual job. Lynlee Jewell is one of those few, working for the place “where dreams come true.”

Jewell, a 2014 USC graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sports and entertainment management, now works as a tour coordinator for Feld Entertainment’s “Disney on Ice presents Frozen” — the perfect show to be touring on the ice. As the tour coordinator, Jewell acts as a liaison of sorts, with responsibilities that range from booking transportation and lodging, managing public relations and interviews and handling paperwork from new workers. Jewell’s dream of traveling is coming true — with the “Disney on Ice presents Frozen” show, she gets to travel all around the country — and soon, the world.

“My goal was to get on the road and be traveling, but I kept my options open and applied to several different positions within the industry, and I was fortunate enough to get a job with the career path that I wanted,” Jewell said.

When she joined the company in July of 2014, they toured primarily in the East Coast. From there, they traveled to the West Coast, and then worked back to the East Coast again this year. At the end of June, the show will travel internationally for the first time, visiting Japan, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

“Whether it be with touring or working at a venue internationally, it'a just something I’ve always wanted to experience,” Jewell said. “And so to have the opportunity to stay with this show that I know like the back of my hand now, and go overseas with it ­— it’s just really incredible.”

“Disney on Ice presents Frozen” is currently the No. 1 touring show in the country, out-ranking all types of music and performances. This ice tour will bring the magic of Arendelle to Jewell’s alma mater at the Colonial Life Arena from April 13-17.

Tim Pannell

The show starts and ends with all of the classic Disney characters, such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck and Goofy, to bring the audience the original characters that we all know and love. The rest of the show aims to stay true to Frozen's storyline — a task that became a collaborative and creative effort from the staff.

“I think the biggest challenges were to create the Disney magic that you see in an animated film — to recreate that on the ice — but we have so many different special effects to show Elsa’s magic and to transform the arena,” Jewell said. “In one minute you’re in Arendelle and it’s snowing, and the next minute you’re watching Olaf live out his dream to be living in the summer heat.”

These special effects include six separate spotlights of various colors and snowflake shapes that follow Elsa around during “Let it Go,” as well as a huge snowflake that descends onto the stage during the song to create an ice castle.

Between collaborating on the show and touring the country together, the staff has become a close-knit group of people. The tour typically stays in a city for about a week, which allows the staff about a day or two of exploration.

“Everyone’s become so close, so they’ll start planning trips to go sight-seeing,” Jewell said. “And that’s another way, again like I said, to become family, because we don’t have anybody else that you can really go and explore with.”

When a family-oriented Disney show comes to a college town, one might assume that the turnout would be low. However, this tour’s history has proven that to be false.

“I can’t tell you how many cities we’ve gone to that you would think it’s just an arena full of kids and their parents, but we see girls taking a girl’s night out, or, you know, someone on a date, or a bunch of college kids, just college girls coming to have fun,” Jewell said.

As far as Jewell’s future goes, she hopes to one day travel with the music industry. However, right now she is still awestruck by the incredible opportunity she has had with this show coming right out of college.

“Being with Frozen, the biggest show in the country right now … to be able to come out of school and to have a goal to want to tour, and then to be able to be on the No. 1 show in the country — which you would never think is an ice show — it’s pretty incredible,” Jewell said.



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