Olympics / So Much Time So Little To Do

Review: Smuckers Stars on Ice

“It’s just a lot of dumb show” – Kathy Seldon in “Singin’ in the Rain”

Harsh, I know.  But when a guy comes out on to the ice with a wireless electric guitar and pretends to strum some seriously cock-rockish tunes and other skaters spit out the tired “[Insert city name here], you’re the best audience ever!” – dumb show is the kindest thing I could muster.

I mean, c’mon!  There are still people who fall for this crap?  Do we as an audience need to be stroked THAT much?  Would we be devastated to be considered simply a great crowd, not “the best ever!!!”?  I’m nit-picking, I know, but generally the events we attend don’t feature such staid, predictable banter so the Mrs. and I were kinda in that ‘dumbfounded, mouth open a little more than it should be, for a little longer than it should be’ zone for nearly 2 hours.

Stars on Ice 2010 Cast Photo, credit: Paul Harvath

Figure skating is, as much as I can tell, an emotional competition.  It’s not a sport.  No sport needs judges to determine an outcome. Sorry. The Stars on Ice show we saw at the Sovereign Center in Reading PA on Friday 4/16/10 lacked the passion of a real skating event.   Where there should have been real emotion, there was, instead, cheesy voice overs and over-wrought drama custom built for entertainment purposes only.  I wasn’t really entertained.  The Stars on Ice show proved to be more ice dancing than figure skating.  In the pairs skating, the men even didn’t toss the ladies through the air (my favorite part).  I was frustrated and felt a little cheated.  Luckily we only paid $12.50 each for the tickets, making the whole evening more tolerable.

It wasn’t all bad.  The star of the 2010 Stars on Ice tour is Gold Medalist (and Dancing with the Stars contestant) Evan Lysacek, and as expected he was impressive.  Mr. Lysacek, however, was on the ice for MAYBE 10 minutes of the 2+ hour show.  I needed more of him, less of wireless guitar guy.  Sasha Cohen was pretty stunning to watch skate, especially when she appeared in all-white and moved to Jeff Buckley’s ethereal version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in the show’s 2nd act.  That and Michael Weiss’ backflips (holy crap!) were easily the highlights of the event.

Sasha Cohen, photo by Paul Harvath

As far as family-friendly experiences [cough] I could have done without Alissa Czisny’s stripper-esque 2nd skate to Body Rockers “I Like The Way You Move”, as well as a co-ed performance where if the 6 skaters started to disrobe I wouldn’t have been shocked – things appeared to be heading in that general direction.

While neither was floored or in total awe of their 1st live skating show, my girls did like the event well enough.  The Mouse got really tired after miming the skaters graceful arm movements, falling asleep about 1/2 way through the show, and the Bear’s eyes wandered a lot towards the end.  They didn’t know what we were seeing until we sat down in our seats, so the revelation proved more fun than the event that followed.  Personally, I think 20-30 minutes could’ve been shaved off the Smuckers Stars on Ice spectacle and no one would have been worse for it.

While Stars on Ice lacks the majesty and honest drama of competitive figure skating, it’s still very likely to appeal to kids still buzzing with Olympic fever carried over from the Vancouver winter games.

Interested in seeing some famous (and not so much) skaters sashay across the ice? Visit the Stars on Ice site for a complete list of tour dates.  Be sure to call for tickets and use your AAA card to get 1/2 price tickets, then steer clear of the merch table and the $40 t-shirts (ouch!)

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