Elsa wears pants in the 'Frozen' musical — here's why that's important for little girls (and boys)

Women can be powerful in a pair of pants, and that message is being sent loud and clear to the millions of women — and, more important, girls — who will see Frozen on Broadway.

Ahead of the musical’s official opening on Broadway Thursday night, the stars and composers spoke to Good Morning America. “This is about empowered women; this is about a princess in pants,” songwriter Kristen Anderson-Lopez said. “This is about finding your power. This is about nuanced, three-dimensional women dealing with leadership, love, and their own relationships.”

Fans of the movie won’t be disappointed by Elsa’s costume change. Caissie Levy, who plays Elsa in the Broadway production, told Women’s Wear Daily that she still has that epic ice dress moment while singing “Let It Go.”

But the Broadway production has added 14 new songs, and “Let It Go” isn’t the only power ballad anymore with a catchy tune and inspiring message. During the second act, Elsa belts out “Monster,” during which she struggles with the idea of what her powers have turned her into, ultimately realizing that she can “save the world.” This is amazing for multiple reasons: because, yeah, girls can save the world, even presumably “delicate” princesses; and Elsa does all of this wearing a pair of light blue pants, boots, and a cape, sending a message that you can be a powerful, pretty princess in pants.

“It’s a song where she’s on the run and she’s being hunted, and the idea conceptually is that she’s in the middle of the night, on the run, maybe woke up to the guards being in her home and had to get out and flee,” Levy explained to WWD. While she initially wore a shorter, lighter version of the “Let It Go” dress during previews, Levy says that because the moment is about Elsa “kicking ass,” the barefoot, nightgown-y version of the “Let It Go” dress didn’t feel quite right.

“We wanted something more powerful and more practical. And that’s where this idea of pants came in. … [Michael Grandage, the director] said, ‘I’m starting to feel like that sort of negligee drape-y sweet-looking dress isn’t the way I want to go in.’ And I told him, ‘It sounds like you want a more Joan of Arc type thing, and he was like, ‘Exactly! You’re a warrior, you’re empowered, you’re on the run.’”

RELATED: Frozen opening night: 

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NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Caissie Levy poses at the opening night after party for Disney's new hit musical 'Frozen' on Broadway at Terminal 5 on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Flora Collins and Amy Fine Collins attend the Broadway Opening Night After Party for 'Frozen' at Terminal 5 on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: David Reiser poses at the opening night after party for Disney's new hit musical 'Frozen' on Broadway at Terminal 5 on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: John Riddle poses at the opening night after party for Disney's new hit musical 'Frozen' on Broadway at Terminal 5 on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Colin Donnell and wife Patti Murin pose at the opening night after party for Disney's new hit musical 'Frozen' on Broadway at Terminal 5 on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Caissie Levy and husband David Reiser pose at the opening night after party for Disney's new hit musical 'Frozen' on Broadway at Terminal 5 on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Greg Hildreth poses at the opening night after party for Disney's new hit musical 'Frozen' on Broadway at Terminal 5 on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Caissie Levy as 'Elsa' and Patti Murin as 'Anna' take their opening night curtain call of Disney's new hit musical 'Frozen' on Broadway at The St. James Theatre on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Audrey Bennett, Mattea Conforti, Ayla Schwartz and Brooklyn Nelson attend the Broadway Opening Night After Party for 'Frozen' at Terminal 5 on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Producer Jordan Roth poses at the opening night after party for Disney's new hit musical 'Frozen' on Broadway at Terminal 5 on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Colin Donnell and Patti Murin attends the Broadway Opening Night After Party for 'Frozen' at Terminal 5 on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Jordan Fisher attends the Broadway Opening Night After Party for 'Frozen' at Terminal 5 on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Caissie Levy, John Riddle, Patti Murin, Jelani Alladin, Michael Grandage and Greg Hildreth attend the Broadway Opening Night After Party for 'Frozen' at Terminal 5 on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin with cast during the Broadway Musical Opening Night Curtain Call for 'Frozen' at the St. James Theatre on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Caissie Levy and Patti Murin with cast during the Broadway Musical Opening Night Curtain Call for 'Frozen' at the St. James Theatre on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Caissie Levy as 'Elsa' takes her opening night curtain call of Disney's new hit musical 'Frozen' on Broadway at The St. James Theatre on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Caissie Levy as 'Elsa' and Patti Murin as 'Anna' take their opening night curtain call of Disney's new hit musical 'Frozen' on Broadway at The St. James Theatre on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Greg Hildreth as 'Olaf' takes his opening night curtain call for Disney's new hit musical 'Frozen' on Broadway at The St. James Theatre on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Timothy Hughes and Olivia Phillip during the Broadway Musical Opening Night Curtain Call for 'Frozen' at the St. James Theatre on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Brooklyn Nelson as 'Young Elsa' and Audrey Bennett as 'Young Anna' and take their opening night curtain call for Disney's new hit musical 'Frozen' on Broadway at The St. James Theatre on March 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
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The costume switch-up breaks a construct of decades — centuries even — that princesses are all glamour and no grit. “It’s really time to shake up those gender stereotypes. I love to see people challenging these norms in high-profile ways,” child and adolescent psychologist Barbara Greenberg tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It gives kids permission to try on all sorts of styles and not to be constricted by the old gender stereotypes. And not to feel like they’re doing something wrong if they do want to wear something that isn’t the ‘norm’ for their gender.”

This is an important message for boys and girls, but little girls who look up to Elsa will benefit from this especially. “Girls get the idea that to be important, pretty, special, and relevant, they have to be fancy and frilly,” Greenberg notes. “And I think the idea of a princess being important and not wearing a dress shows that a dress isn’t the only thing for a girl that translates to success, respect, excitement, power, status. It shows them that you can be pretty, special, or important in pants; you can have a good life in pants.”

RELATED: Stars on Broadway

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NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 13: Jake Gyllenhaal during the Broadway Opening Night Performance Curtain Call for The Manhattan Theatre Club's production of 'Constellations' at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on January 13, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: Emma Stone during the curtain call for her debut performance in Broadway's 'Cabaret' at Roundabout Theatre Company's Studio 54 on November 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Rumer Willis making her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in 'Chicago' at the Ambassador Theatre on September 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 04: Fran Drescher makes her debut in 'Broadway's 'Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella' at Broadway Theatre on February 4, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 04: Carly Rae Jepsen makes her debut in 'Broadway's 'Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella' at Broadway Theatre on February 4, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 01: Vanessa Williams poses backstage at "After Midnight" on Broadway at The Brooks Atkinson Theatre on April 1, 2014 in New York City. Actress Vanessa Williams joined the cast tonight. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Jennifer Hudson during the Broadway Opening Night Performance Curtain Call for 'The Color Purple' at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on December 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 30: Brandy Norwood takes her curtain call as 'Roxie Hart' in 'Chicago' on Broadway at The Ambassador Theater on April 30, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Bradley Cooper during the Curtain Call for the first Broadway preview performance of 'The Elephant Man' at The Booth Theatre on November 7, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: Elisabeth Moss during the Broadway Opening Night Curtain Call for 'The Heidi Chronicles' at The Music Box Theatre on March 19, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 07: Vanessa Hudgens and the cast of 'Gigi' perform onstage at the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
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Sure, Princess Jasmine wore pants, but she also wore a belly shirt.

And while she stood her ground in the end, she was more of the damsel in distress type. So, not only has Frozen painted a more powerful picture of a princess, but now they’re saying that princesses can be strong and tough, and do it in whatever they want to wear. It’s not as if Elsa is wearing pants during a time of weakness — she’s wearing them for a song in which she finds her purpose.

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