From Hamlet to Hans

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Summer 2014

By Erin Peterson

Photos: left, Prince Hans from Disney's Frozen, right, Santino Fontana as Moss Hart in a Lincoln Center Theatre production of Act One, a play written and directed by James Lapine)

Santino Fontana (B.F.A. ’04) landed a Tony nomination for his work as Prince Topher in Broadway’s Cinderella and he played Hamlet at the Guthrie Theater. But these days, he’s known planetwide as the voice of Prince Hans, the manipulative baddie in the Disney juggernaut Frozen.

Fontana, who is known primarily for his Broadway chops, won the role of the narcissistic Hans by wowing the movie’s casting director with a delightfully arrogant version of West Side Story’s “I Feel Pretty,” starting with “I Am Pretty.”

Because Disney keeps a tight leash on its work, Fontana only got to read the script of the scenes he was in, so even he didn’t have a clear idea how the whole story would play out. When he saw it on screen with other members of the cast just before it premiered, he was bowled over. “We all knew immediately that we were part of something beautiful,” he says.

Fontana’s wide-ranging resume includes playing leading men to doing voiceover spots for national clients like Macy’s, but he admits that it was something else entirely to be transformed into animated royalty. “It was a surreal experience to hear my voice coming out of something that wasn’t me,” he recalls. Though the perks of the project have continued to surprise him (he admits having a doll of his character “is pretty awesome,”) he’s currently immersed in a new project, as the young playwright Moss Hart in Act One at the Lincoln Center.

Photos: Hans: Courtesy Walt Disney studios • Santino: Joan Marcus



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