Broadway on Ice December 29, 2007
By Glen Creason
For five performances “Broadway on Ice” turned the venerable Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts stage into a small, glacial platform that was actually as warm as a comforter in hibernating season. It is amazing enough that the crackerjack backstage crew is able to turn the boards to ice for almost a week but the incredible skating and elegant ice choreography make this show a must for lovers of this wonderful sport. Of course, an ice show can range from Disney characters goofing off to the high drama of the Olympics and there many shades of ice in-between. Yet, this show has a touch of class, a hint of greatness and a pedigree that most cannot match. That class, that greatness and that pedigree belongs to the ever-beautiful Dorothy Hamill who once wore the gold medal at Innsbruck back when I was young. Miss Hamill continues to skate with great elegance and skill while seeming to gulp from Ponce de Leon’s fountain at every opportunity. Ice skating must be the greatest exercise on earth if the ratio of Dorothy Hamill’s actual and appeared age are any yardstick. As my ice skating color commentator told me great ice skating is all about “flow” and Dorothy Hamill has that and great hair.
“Broadway on Ice” does have this ace in the hole but there are other nice cards in the deck to make this show a winner. At the top of the list is the superb Chris Nolan who skated like there were no limits in this miniscule ice arena and the tres elegant Svetlana Butova from Russia who filled up the stage with beauty and grace in her times in the spotlight. Maxim Fomin, Butova’s partner was flawless and Molly Quigley-Moenkhoff, Annie Laurie and Jeff Labrake also shone in their routines on the ice. It doesn’t hurt to have a framework of great Broadway music to inspire them in their skating and certainly the choices on this night were all top-drawer. Particularly effective in this show were Nolan skating to “Wilkommen” from “Cabaret”, the dazzling ensemble performing to “America” from “West Side Story, “ and Butova with Fomin performing to “Hot Honey Rag.” The mostly terra firma based singer Kevin Spirtas gave voice to the classics of the great white way, soaring majestically through “This Is the Moment” from “Jekyll and Hyde” caressing a sweet “Nothing’s Going to Harm You” from “Sweeney Todd,” and twisting “One Day More” into a campy take-off on his ongoing role in a soap opera.
Comedy was provided by the seemingly inexhaustible improvisational talents of Dale Gonyea who very subtly guided the audience through a geographic tour of the southland including delightful ditties about Cerritos in which rhymes to “Fritos…cheetos…a Speedos” celebrated our dear home base. Gonyea showed his serious side, roaring through a high energy “Rhapsody in Blue” with Dorothy Hamill leading the talented ensemble into a thrilling blockbuster sized production. Gonyea stayed on stage in different places to play for some of the best skating of the night, especially in a tribute to Bob Fosse that sent up “Just in Time,” “Steam Heat,” “Heart” and “Razzle Dazzle,” all offering a perfect counterpoint to the passionate skating by Ms. Hamill and Chris Nolan.