Broadway on Ice November 11, 2005
Broadway On Ice: Warms Hearts at Cerritos
By Glen Creason
The show “Broadway On Ice” took over the Performing Arts Center last weekend and surprised a lot of attendees like a bracing spray of eye-opening ice-shavings across the brow. Maybe they, like me, thought that this might be a pleasant glide across the ice as in the old Ice Capades accompanied by organ music and performed by grinning, painted ladies in high white skates. The main attraction was the presence of ice skating royalty: Miss Dorothy Hamill who did America proud in the Innsbruck Winter Olympics, taking home the gold medal and millions of hearts back in 1976. However, this was no tame skate-a-round and certainly transcended any Capades or ice show I have ever seen. It was spectacular in all aspects from the choreography, the skating, the sets, the costumes and the added attractions that made this one a show to remember. Actually, this was three shows in one: the main event certainly was the incredible, ageless Dorothy Hamill but she was joined by a tremendous singer named Davis Gaines and piano virtuoso and comedian Dale Gonyea. Together this unlikely trio formed an evening full of laughs at Gonyea’s story and song, utterances of awe at the Gaines’ huge voice and squeals of delight for the graceful skating of the talented ensemble and leading lady.
The perfect structure of the performance is Broadway music which ranged from classic stuff like 42nd Street to the contemporary sounds of “Rent.” While most of the music was canned it was more of a platform on which skaters soared and gracefully twirled in sonic space. However, several numbers that used the skills of pianist Dale Gonyea elevated an already fine evening. There were thirty-some numbers, all of them utilizing every inch of the amazingly transformed Performing Arts Center’s frozen stage. While Dorothy Hamill shone like a diamond in this crown she was not alone in skating skills and charm. Every single member of the troupe dazzled in their times on ice especially the pixyish Svetlana Butova, the elegant, balletic Viktoriya Glichenko, gorgeous Lynne Petta, quietly powerful Maxim Foma, smooth Andrey Baka and turbo-charged Chris Nolan who handled several solos with aplomb and athleticism.
While the skating was absolutely wonderful the surprises came from Davis Gaines and Dale Gonyea. Gaines opened his set with a toweringly powerful “This Is the Moment” from the little known “Jekyl and Hyde” which had the entire audience at the edge of their seats. Once called a vocal “superman” Gaines certainly did not lower his super-standards as he continued with a sweet “Tea for Two” with Miss Hamill’s accompanying, exhilarating routine and an “Old Man River” that was aged in oak. Dale Gonyea played possibly the funniest musical medley in hall history, most certainly the only one in which seventeen local cities were included in hilarious song. It had never occurred to me that Cerritos could rhyme with “deep fried fritos” or the I would hear a song that included Downey and South Gate in its lyrics. Gonyea showed superb timing, incredible improvisation and comic gifts that had the large crowd in stitches every second he was on stage, especially when he sang several “official songs of the City of Cerritos.” Yet, in a serious turn, he took to the piano and played a flawless “Rhapsody in Blue” with the principal skaters behind him creating a magical portion of a very fine evening of music and beautiful skating. “Broadway On Ice,” despite its fine pedigree was a show that exceeded expectations by miles, certainly a show that left us laughing and wanting more.