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Thursday, March 24, 2011 06:30 pm

Spotlight on Ice

This year’s show features witches, greasers, and man-eating plants!

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In the Wizard of Oz skit are, from left, Madeleine McDonald, Bailey Manuel, Barbie Long, Sara Neale and, in front, Ali Yociss.
PHOTOS BY SHERRELL PETRELLA

What do an Olympic figure skater, your favorite musicals and the greatest family entertainment in the area have in common? If you’re thinking of the Ice Capades then you’re in for a seasonal, local treat. For all you figure skating lovers and skater wannabes, it’s that time of year again. Every spring Springfield’s own skating club presents its production, Spotlight on Ice. This year’s show will take place at Nelson Center Saturday, March 26, at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 27, at 2 p.m.

For 35 years the Springfield Figure Skating Club has presented its annual ice show, Spotlight on Ice. This year the show features on-ice condensed versions of the Wizard of Oz, Grease and Little Shop of Horrors, as well as many other musical numbers. Featuring more than 100 local skaters, the event transforms the Nelson Center into an ice theater, bringing the big-show feel of the Ice Capades to Springfield. Each year the Springfield Figure Skating Club produces a number of musical favorites, from turn of the century classics to modern masterpieces.

Madison Chessare, Paige Zolnierek and Carly Gold in Little Shop of Horrors.
PHOTOS BY SHERRELL PETRELLA


Spotlight on Ice is Springfield’s very own ice show with more lights, sequins and stage props than most Broadway shows. As a former participant, I can vouch for the level of entertainment and production value. Every detail, from the footwork to the movements with the music, is painstakingly choreographed over exhausting months of rehearsal until the numbers are ready to hit the lit stage, or rather the ice. Local coaches recreate the theatrical experience on ice under the veteran co-direction of Vicki Thomas and Mark Beck.

Besides featuring great choreography and music, Spotlight on Ice serves as a showcase for local skating talent. Barbie Long will perform the role of Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz. Barbie is the Upper Great Lakes Novice Ladies Regional Champion as well as U.S. National Novice Ladies Silver Medalist. Another talented local skater, Gracie Gold, will perform as Sandy in Grease. Gracie is the Upper Great Lakes Junior Ladies Champion and placed sixth at the Midwestern Sectionals. Also performing are two up-and-coming skaters, Lauren Marines and Connor Icenogle, who both represented the Upper Great Lakes Region in the Junior Championships in Salt Lake City.

Sean Hickey and Gracie Gold in Grease.
PHOTOS BY SHERRELL PETRELLA


As this year’s guest skater, Springfield is lucky to welcome 2010 Olympic competitor and two-time U.S. Men’s National Champion, Jeremy Abbott. Skating since the age of two, Jeremy made his first U.S. Nationals appearance in 2002 and won his first national title in 2005. Jeremy qualified for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver by winning his second national title earlier last year. Jeremy has made numerous TV appearances. He’s a big deal. Remember a past Spotlight on Ice guest skater named Johnny Weir? Well, Johnny has his own spot as a judge on ABC’s Skating with the Stars, and Jeremy competes with him!

After 35 years, Spotlight on Ice, a fun family event and a wonderful way to reward the hard work of local skaters and coaches, is well on its way to becoming a local standard in the performing arts community.

General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Tickets are available in advance from any Springfield Figure Skating Club member or at the Nelson Center box office, located in Lincoln Park, 753-2800. Tickets can by purchased at the door as well. For on-ice reserved seats call 793-9114.

Owen Irwin is a recent Bradley University graduate and Springfield native with more than 12 years of competitive figure skating and coaching experience. He can be contacted at oirwin@mail.bradley.edu.

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