Josh Gad Says ‘Frozen’ Fans Will Recognize Something About the Music in ‘Central Park’

After playing Olaf in two Frozen movies and two more shorts, Josh Gad has another animated musical coming out. Gad co-created Central Park with Loren Bouchard and Nora Smith. He provides the voice of Birdie, a sort of one man chorus of Central Park who pops into the Tillerman family’s story. The Tillermans take care of the park and try to save it from being razed for condos.

Josh Gad in Central Park
L-R: Birdy (voice of Josh Gad) and Central Parkgoer | Apple TV+

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Gad spoke with reporters after a Television Critics Association panel for Central Park on Jan. 19. He said Frozen fans will be pleased to find a lot of similarities between the Disney films and his new show. Central Park is now streaming on Apple TV+.

Josh Gad will sing very Olaf-y songs in ‘Central Park’

It sure sounds like Gad is putting on a voice when he plays Olaf in Frozen, just like it did when he was on stage in The Book of Mormon. Gad revealed he’s not actually doing a voice, so he’ll sound like Olaf on Central Park too.

“The truth is that in Book of Mormon and Frozen it is my own voice,” Gad said. “My voice is a strange voice. When I sing, it’s not the traditional style but I will say that Central Park is probably the closest I’ve ever gotten to sing to that thing which is truly where I live.”

Some of the Frozen songwriters are on Central Park too. No, not Bobby Lopez and Christina Anderson-Lopez.

Central Park
The Tillermans | Apple TV+

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“The writers of the show specifically, Kate Anderson and Elyssa Samsel who wrote the music for Olaf’s Frozen Adventure have written a lot of our songs, including ‘Own It,’ including ‘Central to My Heart,’” Gad said. “So they know how to write to my voice. So I always feel incredibly confident and comfortable singing their songs.”

Josh Gad has a lot of input into his ‘Central Park’ character

Birdie will also reflect Gad as much if not more so than Olaf. As a co-creator, Gad gets to give the animators notes.

We, unfortunately, break the backs of our incredible animation houses who are literally like, ‘What the f*ck are you doing? What are you thinking? This isn’t possible.’ And we say, ‘Well, make it possible.’ Everybody has rolled up their sleeves to do something that nobody expected could be done. It’s rare that you see an animated series doing one big musical moment an episode. So imagine four an episode and what that means in terms of sheer manpower, the expense. Each one has its own unique design.

Josh Gad, roundtable interview, 1/19/2020

‘Central Park’ will have a mix of musical styles

Here’s one difference from Frozen. Gad only has to worry about one or two Olaf songs in a Frozen movie. He shares the load on Central Park too, but there are so many different musical styles, Birdie is bound to stretch Gad’s showtune style.

“The series itself explores pretty much every genre known to man,” Gad said. “Season 2 we’re already exploring a country song. We have hip hop represented, we have rap represented, we have folk represented, we have Broadway represented, we have rock represented. Pop is very represented.”

Central Park: Cole and Molly
Cole and Molly | Apple TV+

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If Anderson and Samsel haven’t shaken up Gad’s musical repertoire enough, other musical artists are lending their touch too.

“We have our in house composers who are unbelievably brilliant but for diversity and quality of sound, we’ve brought in a guest composer for every episode to write a song,” Gad said. “So you have everybody from Cyndi Lauper to Alan Menken to Meghan Trainor to Sara Bareilles writing a song so that the audience never quite knows what they’re going to get.”