Stars on Ice
Kurt in SOI
Creative Team

Stars on Ice Review - Milwaukee, WI - Feb. 8, 2001

written by Stacey

I got to the Bradley Center 1-1/2 hours before the show, which I think was enough time to get souviners and get settled for the show. As I said earlier, the bad weather delayed Kurt. I think he was coming from Detroit. From the Yahoo chat on Wednesday, it was mentioned that he and Steven were at a Special Olympics event, which is why they weren't travelling with the rest of the cast. How Steven made it, but not Kurt I don't know.

The show was delayed for 15 minutes because of the weather. Plus, I think they were trying to give Kurt extra time to get there. When the announcer said that Kurt's performance would be limited, there was this big grumble from the audience.



Let's Get It On - Cast

I liked this opening. It had a relaxed feeling. But it didn't look right in some parts because of Kurt not being there. Openings are supposed to set the mood for the rest of the show/program. I think the concept behind this opening was that they were trying to show the audience and each other that even though this will be the last time we do this with Scott, we don't want it to be formal and stuffy. After the music, when they introduce everyone, there was a long pause where Kurt's name was to go. It was kind of awkward. I'm not sure if it was pre-recorded and the sound engineer just muted his intro. Still, I think this was one of their best opening sequences.

I Got You - Scott

I never really cared for this song. Maybe because I've heard it so much when I was a kid, probably the longer version. But this didn't seem as long as I remembered it. Scott doubled most of his jumps in this program, but his feet were amazing. It was a great start. Of course, there was the standing ovation.

A Song for You - Scott and Local Boy

In this program, the local boy comes out and skates around with Scott standing watching him. I like the interludes that Scott does throughout the show, emphasizing moments in his career that he remembers through the lyrics of the song.


2000 AD "Reaching for the Stars" - Tara, Jenni, Todd, Renee, Gorsha (no KURT)

This would have been even greater if Kurt had been there. I liked the lightness of this piece. Jenni, Todd, Renee, Gorsha and Tara all flowed on the ice really gracefully. Tara tried to cover her "ice space" as well as she could, but she's so small she can't fill two spots at all times. Again, you can tell where Kurt should have been.

Higher - Steven

Steven gets better every year. His jumps were great, and his choreography between the jumps is getting stronger. He really got the audience going towards the end of the program.

Desert Rose - Kristi

I liked this program the first time I saw it, but it does make more sense seeing it live. Her costume was amazing. Jeff Billings really does great work. He can match each skater and costume with amazing accuracy. I really didn't notice any awkward hand movements, as some people mentioned. I thought they worked well with what I think the song is about. Kristi touched down on her triple Lutz, but all her other jumps were great. She usually has trouble with either the Lutz or the loop in Milwaukee. Maybe it's something in the air. But her triple loop was great, right in front of where I was sitting.

Drive/Driven - Ilia

Ilia is amazing. I never cared much for him as an amateur skater, although I could see shades of versatility in him then. The way he covers the ice is awesome. He has so much speed going down the ice. He had trouble with his first jump (big single axel) in this program, but the rest were great. He has great flexibility, which is even more evident in his Rockit program.

Double Bogey Blues - Scott

I saw this before on TV, and was not all that impressed with it. But live, it was great! For some programs, it really makes a difference seeing it live versus on TV. All of his jumps were on. His triple Lutz was great. And the golf bag tricks worked. He is one of a few skaters who can use props to the best advantage, and not make it look cheesy.

Everything Must Change - Renee and Gorsha

I love these two. Every year they do something better than before. They have amazing speed and fluidity across the ice. There is one lift that they do where Gorsha is holding Renee with only one are and he is stroking in a circular pattern. As he's going around, he keeps moving Renee farther away from him, so it looks like she's suspended in air and floating (I think I explained that right??). AWESOME!!

Nyah - Kurt (or No Nyah, No Kurt)

Okay. All through the first act, I'm sitting here watching the show thinking "Is he here yet? Is he here yet? When Tara comes out for her number, I'm thinking, what's going on? Where's Kurt? Is he okay? I was not happy.

Dance with Me - Tara

I'm not a fan of Tara's skating, but I actually liked this number. She does a great job with the song, and she's not overacting or overdancing. Her costume was beautiful. It reminded me of a 1920's dress with the fringe at the bottom, and the ruby color under the black beads/sequins was gorgeous. She doubled her loop or toe loop, I'm not sure which one it was, but did a great triple Salchow. I could see Kristi using this piece, which I thought someone mentioned that she was supposed to use it. But Tara did a great job with it.


This was a great group number. Not a lot of skating, but still fun. Kurt still was not here. Scott makes references to that fact a couple of times. At one point were he talks about nothing being a secret with them because it's such a small group he said that the cast was "getting smaller by the minute". Scott also mentions Kurt during the part where he introduces the skaters. He said something like, "Don't you just "love" commercial airlines. Here's where I would normally introduce Kurt. He should be arriving at Milwaukee International Airport any minute now. He'll be here, even if he has to fly himself." That was reassuring to the audience. I felt the mood of the audience changing then from concern/angry/upset to cheerful/hopeful. I loved the part where Gorsha "approaches" the ladies in the audience. He's a really good character actor. The only thing I didn't like about this number is that most of the non-skating action was at one end of the ice where you couldn't see very well if you were at the other end of the ice on the same side. The Sandman was great. Todd really has a "fun wild side" about him. And the Shaft sequence was awesome. Denis is totally amazing. The Detroiter with Scott was hilarious. Denis always looks like he's having fun. I thought it would be a little awkward without Elena, but they worked Denis into the show really well. He can hold his own. And Steven is a crackup. I love his accent. He really is the morale officer of the group.


Act I ends with the entire cast standing in a pyramid form. When Act II begins, the skaters come out and assume their same positions in the pyramid. When I didn't see Kurt, I thought, "Oh no. He's not going to make it!" The skaters leave one by one as Kristi and Jenni begin skating out towards center ice.


Both Sides Now - Kristi, Jenni, Denis

This was a great piece. Sort of like Four Corners, but more relaxed. Again, Jeff Billings does a great job with the costumes. This piece was a lot of lifts. Denis really gets a workout here. It was great to see Kristi doing pairs skating again. She looked like she missed it a lot and was having a great time. And Jenni looked like she could skate with any partner. She didn't seem stiff or hesitant with someone else lifting her. I like when the skaters are paired with different cast members. It makes the show look more like a true ensemble, than just a group of skaters doing their own programs.


Terminator - Renee, Gorsha, Ilia, Steven, (No KURT)

At this point I'm thinking to myself, "Okay he's not going to make it, just enjoy the rest of the show". This piece reminded me of the "Five Minutes for Icing" piece in the 94/95 show. But this was awesome. The lighting throughout the show was fantastic, but this piece was superb. The skaters have so much control working with the chairs. The audience kept going "Whoa!!" and "Wow!" and clapping and cheering.


Moanin' - Tara, Illia

This was my least liked piece. It just didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the show. Maybe it's because Tara is still trying to get the hang of Chris Dean's style. I liked the music though. Anything jazz is great. You can see Chris Dean's influence here, though.

Take My Hand - Yuka

I love Yuka. I think she is a great addition to the show. She is so quiet on the ice. I could not hear her blades at all (I was 8 rows up from the ice). I was so mesmerized by her skating that I don't remember hearing the song. She landed all of her triple jumps beautifully. She also has a lot of speed. I realized during the middle of her piece that this was the first time I saw her live. Her smile carries all the way up to the audience. She is amazing. I hope she stays with the tour.

JB "47"

I look to the tunnel and I see Kurt skating out in the dark. Scott comes down the other side of the ice (off ice) on a scooter, in a cowboy outfit and yells "Kurt's here. He made it. Ladies and gentlemen, Kurt Browning!" The audience goes wild with cheering and whistling. The energy level in the Bradley Center definitely went into overdrive.

Don't Fence Me In - Kurt

At this point, I didn't care if Kurt had just stood at center ice. I was just glad he made it. This program is great, both on TV and live. But seeing it live is definitely better. I think he did triple jumps in this piece. He (almost) literally got off a plane and skated, so it's understandable if he didn't do any. But, as always, his personality just leaps out at you. At the end, the audience screamed and yelled and clapped, and people jumped to their feet. Kurt's ending position is usually him lying on his side with one leg bent up. But, here, he did that then just rolled on to his back and started fanning himself with his hat. Hilarious, showing how much it took for him to get here.

Let 'er Rip - Kristi

Kurt then starts to go off ice towards the tunnel. When he gets to the curtains, there's a rope hanging out. So he starts to pull it and on the other end is Kristi in a white sequined jeans and halter outfit, with her hair in two ponytails. Kurt pulls her out to center ice, where Kristi unwraps herself from the rope and gives Kurt a sassy push with her hip and goes into her number. This was a fun piece for her, I think. She landed a beautiful triple flip and toe loop, and had the audience rockin' in their seats. On the sideline, Kurt was trying to untangle the rope and catch Kristi, but ended up making the rope into a bigger knot. This was a classic Kristi and Kurt piece.

Sin Wagon - Kurt, Kristi, Denis, Steven, Renee, Gorsha

This was a cute, fun number. Kurt did a great job with this. Lots of action going on at the same time, which was a little difficult to keep up with, especially since my focus was on Kurt. There is great chemistry between Kurt, Steven, Denis and Gorsha. I love all of the colorful costumes.

I Can't Make You Love Me - Jenni and Todd

I admit, I'm not really a fan of Jenni and Todd, but this was a beautiful, graceful program. Their movements looked natural and relaxed, not rehearsed. It was like they were the only two people in the whole building and were just expressing how much they love each other.

Rockit - Ilia

Again, this guy is amazingly flexible! Seeing it live really brings out just how difficult the program really is. He held the character throughout the piece, showing his acting abilities. I think all show and competitive skaters have to be able to portray some sort of acting ability in order to be successful and sell his/her program.

Tiny Dancer - Tara

With Elton John, you can't go wrong. Tara skated great to this piece. It's great that she's trying different styles, but most of the time, Tara's music is too much for her, and she tries to conquer it. This piece, however, was well paced and didn't swallow her up. She landed a couple of triples in this program, so it appears her hip is getting stronger. I think as she gets older her skating will grow and she will be able to handle other genres and styles.

My Way - Scott

In typical Scott fashion, he stole the show. I liked the way he incorporated some of his more famous programs into this piece. I could tell that some of the people in the audience were a little shocked to hear the spitting sound (to go along with the line in the song), but then everyone laughed. I think you can actually get a police citation for spitting on the sidewalks in Milwaukee, although I'm not sure if anyone has ever been given one. Though it could be a story made up to prevent us from doing it when I was a kid. Anyway, at the end the whole audience was on its collective feet, cheering and whistling for what seemed a long time. Even when the music for the finale began, people were still clapping and yelling.


If It's Magic - Cast

I think Kristi summed up the whole cast's feelings about Scott leaving. She skated beautifully, focusing only on Scott as if it was the last time she would see him skating. I've always loved the song. It always makes me teary-eyed because even though it talks about things that don't last, there is also a hopeful undertone to the song.

AS - Cast

This was a great finale. I have always loved this song (Stevie Wonder's original version), and I love George Michael's, Mary J. Blige and Babyface's remake. Everyone I know has trouble remembering the title, because the word "Always" has a stronger connotation than the word "As". However, it is fitting that the song should be called "As" because it's a comparative; there are so many possibilities to add to it. So I have to go to my album to look it up. It reminds me of my childhood, playing in the yard. Anyway, watching the program, I felt that I was back in my childhood, when everything seemed safe and happy. The song talks about never-ending love, and it was a great choice for the skaters and everyone connected with the tour to express their never-ending love for Scott.

Even though Kurt was delayed and not in the first half of the show, it was still a great one. Now I am determined to find a way to see it again live.