Last night, I had so much fun seeing Stars on Ice in Providence, RI! It’s a terrific show this year–well worth the ticket price. I’ll just share some thoughts and impressions from last night.
The theme of this year’s Stars on Ice is “Dancing for Joy.” And indeed, the whole show really has a celebratory, joyful feel. Meryl Davis & Charlie White are very much the stars, and the show is like a continuing celebration of their Olympic gold medal. The lighting by Gary J. Wilson is so well done; each skater is perfectly spotlighted, so you never miss a single movement. And the mood lighting for each piece is gorgeously colored. The costumes by Jef Billings are, as always, stunning.
Jeff Buttle choreographed all the group numbers for the show, and they are terrific. The opening number to “Rhapsody in Blue” was especially striking and dramatic. A great start to the show. At the end of Act I, there’s a cool tango group number to “St. Louis Blues” with Meryl & Charlie, Tanith & Ben– and, unexpectedly, Katia Gordeeva & Patrick Chan as the third couple. Patrick partners Katia in several group numbers, and I thought he did a good job! I’m always fascinated to see Katia doing partnered skating again. The group numbers as a whole were most enjoyable. There’s also a funny one that portrays Tanith Belbin being torn between Charlie and Ryan Bradley. Of course there was a big laugh from the crowd when she chose Charlie!
Each skater/team performed 2 solo numbers, which I liked. In past editions of Stars, some skaters only had 1 number, and I always felt a bit cheated by that. This year, you get to see 2 different sides of each skater/team.
Meryl & Charlie’s first number is “Say Something,” which they performed earlier this season on the Shall We Dance TV special. Lovely. Their second number is a soft, lyrical piece to Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty.” This was gorgeous too, and reminiscent of some of their classical competitive programs. They performed several of their signature, exquisite lifts.
It was such fun to see Tanith & Ben in the show. I’ve missed this team! They are such great performers and were 100% on for this show. Their first number was the fun piece “Boogie Shoes,” which I believe they performed on Shall We Dance. Their second number was to Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”: very romantic and sincere, with great flow throughout. (And a beautiful white costume on Tanith.) Technically, I felt Tanith & Ben looked smoother and more polished here than in Shall We Dance. Their lifts were performed with more ease. They included their signature lift, with Tanith in split position.
Evan Lysacek skated 2 quite different numbers. The first was to Hozier’s popular song “Take Me to Church.” Evan’s black tank top costume was, I’m sure, appreciated by many audience members. 🙂 His second program was to “Black Swan.” I liked this number best; it reminded me of Evan’s dramatic competition programs, and he skated it with conviction. I think Evan performed only one triple. Most of his jumps were doubles. No doubt he’s still recovering from his hip injuries the last few years. 😦
This was my first time seeing Patrick Chan live. All I can say is, Wow! His skating skills are even more impressive in person than on TV. He simply sails around the ice, beautifully fast, and with such firm, gorgeous edges. It’s a joy just watching him transition from one edge to the next. I love the way he really holds his edges, too, and lets them ride. These days, skaters are doing so many difficult turns, and yet often they don’t stop to really show off the edges. Patrick does, and it’s a sight to see. I found his first Beatles number especially good. It’s set to two songs from the Beatles’ White Album—“Blackbird” and “Dear Prudence”–and I love that Patrick chose these songs, which are not used as often as “A Day in the Life” and some of the better-known Beatles music. Always nice to see interesting, unconventional music choices, and I loved the choreography, too. Patrick’s second number, also very good, was the exhibition piece he did at the Olympics to Tony Bennett’s “Steppin’ Out.” He seems to have a lot of fun with this number.
Patrick performed several triples in his programs. However, having seen Patrick here, I have to say I wish he’d stay in shows and not come back to competition. His skating is so purely enjoyable to watch, just on its own, that it seems almost a shame to muck it up with quads and triples and competition pressure. Like Kurt Browning, Patrick’s amazing gifts seem perhaps best suited to shows. (Although I’m sure Canadian fans probably feel differently.)
Another Canadian skater in this show with incredible skating skills: Joannie Rochette. I was really so, so impressed here with Joannie! She is beautiful to watch and such a complete skater, too. She really has everything. Her effortless speed almost rivals Patrick’s. She makes difficult footwork look exceptionally easy and sure. And she has such fluidity through her lovely arms and back. I found her simply stunning to watch. Her first number to Avicii’s “Addicted to You” was quite sexy! It included a triple toe and triple Salchow. I preferred, though, her second program to “La Vie en Rose”–it was fluid and expressive and everything you want skating to be. There was at least one triple toe in this program, too.
Also beautiful, of course, was Katia Gordeeva. Her first number to “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables was lovely and so poignant. Although it’s been 20 years, the plaintive lyrics about a past love (“I dreamed a dream in time gone by/When the hope was high and life worth living”) can’t help but make you think of Katia & Sergei. This number definitely pulled at the heartstrings. Her second program to “Sentimientos” was intense and had a tango-type feel. It’s interesting how Katia can be so captivating with just footwork and spirals! There is such musicality to everything she does. I was impressed, too, to see her do two strong double Axels in her programs! Very nice.
Kimmie Meissner is also in the show and skated her first number to Sia’s “Chandelier.” I liked this program; it had some interesting choreography. This is a hard song to skate to, but Kimmie did pretty well with it. She wore a fluffy pink ballerina-type dress–an interesting counterpoint to the strong vocals. She did a double Axel and triple toe in both of her programs. Kimmie’s second number to “Experience” was not as successful. This program closes with a sequence of spirals and glides, but Kimmie’s edges were not steady, and she looked shaky on this element. Overall, Kimmie was much stronger here than last fall at Evening with Champions. However, she still could use more speed in her skating.
Sinead & John Kerr opened their show with a moving piece to Jay Brannan’s “Zombie.” This non-romantic song works well for them as a sibling team, and they skated it with a lot of emotion. They also performed their “I Will Wait” number, which was well-received by the crowd (as at the New Hampshire show I attended a couple weeks ago.) I do love the energy Sinead & John have on the ice. They just throw themselves into the programs and don’t hold back.
Ryan Bradley skated two nice numbers also. His first was a rousing rendition of “I Lived” by One Republic. In both programs, he performed a couple of triples and his backflip. I really loved his second number to “Mister Cellophane” from Chicago. It was amusing and clever and fun. Ryan does so well with these comedic numbers. His footwork and skating skills are not as strong as, say, Patrick’s. But he has a musicality and expressive ability that is quite enjoyable to watch.
All in all, it was a great show. I highly recommend it to anyone who gets the opportunity to go!!