Stars on Ice
Kurt in SOI
Creative Team

Stars on Ice Review - Lake Placid, NY - Nov. 30, 2002

written by Hoo

Standard disclaimer: Once again I was busy photographing the show so I have no notes and all comments are strictly from memory. I do my best, but there may be a mistake or two - especially on jumps :) This review may be posted in other forums so long as this disclaimer remains at the top and you let me know where you posted it.
-Hooloovoo, hoo@hooloovoo.com

Overall Impression - Stars on Ice is back! They may have had some last minute cast changes and in numbers are a bit unbalanced, but the show is one of the best one's I've seen in a while. There was no stupid theme (though the website says "power" it's not really a story telling theme) and just about all the numbers were excellent. I would have liked to see I&Z and R&S get more than one cold spot, but they were both well used in group numbers so that's ok. After last year's show I was really wondering to what new lows the tour could possible sink. But this show hearkens back to the good ol days of the tour (pre-98 imho).

Opening "Orin Does Ozzy"
This is a good opening number for SOI I think. The cast is all in tight leather jeans or jean-skirts and solid colored t-shirts. Todd (in light blue shirt) opens the show with a big triple axel. Next up are Ina and Zimmerman who do one of their lifts with John in besti squat and her standing on his thighs. Not sure of the rest of the order, but each skater come s out and does a highlight move. The entire ensemble then does the some nice footwork bits and the like together.

Yagudin - "Born To Be Wild"
This is definitely a work-in-progress number. I'm not sure I really buy Alexei as the wild hooligan of the song, but it could work. I think the problem was it was just really new to Alexei and he didn't look terrible comfortable with it yet. But it is a fun piece and Alexei was definitely into charming the audience :)

One overall comment about Alexei is that I think his injury must really still be bothering him, or he's just really afraid he's going to reinjur it. He was much slower than usual and everything looked really tentative. And some of the jump landings were just barely hung onto to. I question whether it's a smart move for him to now go to the Holiday Festival, Canadian Open, USFSA Pro-Am and Hallmark all in two weeks. I think resting would be better.

Ina & Zimmerman - "Bed of Roses"
Still in their opening number costumes, this pair does an excellent job with this tune. They look in fantastic shape and their lifts and carries were very well done. I for one cannot wait to see this program again.

Sale & Pelletier - "Come Fly"
Poor Jamie & David looked to be having a really off night as they had several small bobbles in this program. It's a nice enough sort of program but it honestly just sort of faded from my mind as soon as it was over.

Eldredge - "Channel 1 Suite"
A nice departure number for Todd, this is a jazzy sort of instrumental that's lots of drums. The program is different in that it's jam packed with footwork, including several things Todd hasn't done before. He was a little rough in patches, but since this is a new program, I think as he gets more comfortable with it (and finds those breathing spots) it will really be a winner. Never thought I'd see the day Todd was doing barrell rolls, but they're in there too! Plus the usual compliment of super fast spins :) Costume was black pants and button-down shirt that's black with white front panels that are splotched with lime green paint spatters.

Witt, Sur, Zimmerman - "Blues In The Night"
*wow* I pray that this program makes the tv broadcast as it's definitely going to be a women's favorite. Kat is all in lime green and John & Gorsha are in black suits with white shirts with wide collars (sort of a seventies wing collar look I think). It's a sultry sort of number with Kat playing from one man to the other. Several different lifts or carries. Kat plays roles like this so well that it really made a great impression!

Hamilton - "Chuck E's In Love"
Typical Scott being typical Scott. It's a light fun number with some cute little footwork bits.

Yagudin - "Overcome"
This program showed Alexei's injury the most, but that may be because I've seen the program a dozen or so times live and could really tell the difference. He even fell on the straight line sequence! But even a tentative Alexei is still a great Alexei to watch, and when he redid part of it for retakes he was definitely more on - and included and 3toe-3toe combo!

Meno & Sand - "I'm Your Man"
Ok, I admit I had doubts about this when I saw the run order, as I just cannot help but think of Gary Beacom for this song (it's one of my favorite programs of his) and was a little concerned that M&S are a bit too bland for the song. But, boy was I happy to be proved wrong! This program really shows off Todd's personality in this number and he was definitely into the hammy character. Plus it's a different look for them with some Christopher Dean choreography - very well done too!

Browning - "How Do You Keep The Music Playing"
While Kurt had some problems with the first run of this that affected the impact of it a bit, the retake version was really excellent! I think this program is going to be one of Kurt's all time greats too. It's a slower song and features lots of beautiful footwork and edges - including a gorgeous Ina Bauer (please - more people need to applaud moves like this!!) and long spread eagles and camel spins. It's really a great vehicle for Kurt. If you liked the "Solitaire" section of the finale from last year, you're going to like this program!

Eldredge, Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze, Sale & Pelletier - "Sing Sing Sing"
Ok, the whole concept of this program is incredibly dumb. Todd comes out and starts mouthing a pre-recorded monologue that's beyond trite. Statements like "I stand here alone in the spotlight," "Could you love me?," and other overly sacharine comments. He's all in black and between speaking bits does some footwork, spins and jumps. He is joined by Sale & Pelletier all in royal blue who then do a whole series of lifts and tricks. They leave and Ber&Sik come out all in teal/green and do their own versions of lifts and tricks. Then both pairs do are out there doing similar but slightly different lifts. There are in fact some gorgeous poses and such because they're designed to be long and held moves, but the problem is the pairs never interact - they're just sort of all out there alone. And the voiceover is just way too long and even more pointless. two thumbs down on that one.

Ensemble - "Elvis vs. JXL"
My oh my, I'm not sure how to put this program into words. It starts with the girls up near the audience dancing around, and boy the way some of them moved it's a wonder the men they were in front of didn't have heart problems. Kyoko was near us and she really showed some great moves and personality. But the number is really about the men who all come out next in jeans and various types of shirts and cowboy hats. They then proceed to dance, jump, flip around and flirt with the audience. There were some cool moves similar to the arabians (??) that the Carruthers used to do together plus some interlocking besti squats. It's definitely a high energy number, and the men pull it off really well!

Witt - "The Rest Of Your Life"
A nice slow piece for Katarina which was very well done. She only had a 2axel and 2toe, but the program wasn't really about the jumps. It was nice and lyrical and really showed why Katarina is still out there touring. You can tell she loves what she's doing.

Eldredge - "Miserere"
While this program is sort of your typical Todd number, he does this style so well that it's great to see. Costume was black pants and a white blousy shirt with silver sparkles down the back in a wide stripe. As always the jumps were large (a huge 3axel!) and the spins fast. The program got the first standing ovation of the night.

Roca & Sur - "The Prayer"
Now this program was probably the best program of the night! Rene & Gorsha had some of the most breathtaking lifts I think I've seen from them. He was in gray and she in white and they just sort of floated across the ice. Several moves were ones that just flowed from one position to the next, including one of those one arm low carries! Just stunning!

Browning - "Slippery Side Up"
Now this is a fun number! Kurt comes out in white t-shirt, overalls and red hat and is mugging to the audience at one end while on the edge in skate guards. A spotlight (green I think) comes on and points to the front row across the ice from him. Kurt then takes off across the ice still wearing the skate guards! I just cannot imagine how he managed to not only cross the ice, but do footwork at the same time! Very cool! He then gets there and lands in the lap of the audience member (amusingly in this case it was Richard Callaghan's son-in-law ) and removes his guards. The rest of the program is a series where Kurt gets to one side only to have the spotlight move again. So it's footwork after footwork after footwork (getting harder and more complex each time) as he chases the spotlight across the ice. Very fun, and man what footwork!

Ina & Zimmerman / Meno & Sand / Roca & Sur - "Something Stupid"
I love programs like this! You've got the ladies all out there in black and white with I think hot pink mixed in - each costume is slightly different. The men are all in B&W, again all different (Gorsha in black pants and billowy white shirt, Todd in tuxedo and John in white t-shirt and black pants). It's a light hearted number about the guys trying to get the girls, but the theme is really secondary. The highlight is to watch each team do indentical moves. You've got pairs doing dance lifts and a dance team doing pairs lifts. I want to see this program again for sure - just to see what I missed the first time out!

Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze - "Elvis & Marilyn"
I still have the same problem with this program as I did when I first saw it - namely the Marilyn bits. Anton just oozes personality and really pulls off the vintage Elvis look, but Elena just washes out as Marilyn. Not to mention the way the music overlaps makes me nuts. But that said, the Elvis parts were really good and the team definitely looked fit. Some very nice throws and lifts!

Sale & Pelletier - "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'"
Cute program from Jamie and David. For some reason I'm drawing a real blank on the number though.

Yagudin - "Racing"
What a cute number for Alexei! I didn't see the Skate America version so this was a new program to me, and I think it suits Alexei really well. Not terribly positive the race car idea comes across that well, but just the footwork and choreography in general were fun.

Hamilton - "Figaro"
I'm sorry, but there's no way that Scott should have been closing the show here - especially when he's only a guest star and not there for the whole tour. I suppose the one benefit is it allowed Alexei some more time to change for the finale. The program was also something of a disappointment. Watching him rehash an old program just reminds you of how good he used to be - now he's just a caricature of himself.

Finale - "I Can't Stop"
When I heard the finale was hip-hop I cringed a bit, but this is a winner for sure. The men are all in leather shirts which definitely looked good on them! It's hard to put the finale into words but there were the usual bits of group footwork plus individual tricks. John & Kurt were the two skaters I kept being drawn to in this number, they just really had the thing down. The cast ran it twice to get different camera angles and I'm very glad they did!

Misc Notes: It was old home days in Lake Placid as several old tour members stopped in. Kristi Yamaguchi, Roz Sumners and Denis Petrov were all there. And Steven Cousins made the trip down to support them as well. Did get an injury update from him too - he's scheduled for surgery this Friday (12/6) and the goal is to return to the ice sometime in Feb. He's hoping he'll be close to normal in time for CSOI, but they're going to take it one day at a time and see how it goes - he doesn't want to rush it. Also spotted in the audience were Tarasova, Maya Usova and Viktor Petrenko.