Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sun Valley Ice Show sends its regards to Broadway

Great White Way tunes, Olympic hopefuls on tap

Express Staff Writer

    Look no further than this year’s spectacular Tony Awards show June 9 at New York’s Radio City Music Hall for a reminder of the timeless appeal of Broadway musicals.
    The New York Times reported that five Broadway musicals featured with live show-stopper segments during the Tony Awards show each grossed $1 million in the first week of performances after the winners were announced.
    Money talks, and popular music and dancing fill the seats. It’s no wonder Broadway music is the theme of the 2013 Sun Valley Ice Show that debuts Thursday, July 4 with the first of nine performances through Labor Day weekend at Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink.
    “We’ll focus on Broadway—“Sing, Sing, Sing,” “All That Jazz,” and a “West Side Story” medley. We’ll add and change through the summer,” said ice show director Scott Irvine.
    The summer shows, choreographed by former world professional skating champ Lori Benton of McCall, feature several up-and-coming headliners that will remind audiences that the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia are nine months away.
    U.S. women’s champion Ashley Wagner, promising American singles skaters Agnes Zawadzki and Josh Farris, and ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zach Donahue, and Canadian dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier all have Olympic aspirations.
    Other headliners like Evan Lysacek, Surya Bonaly, Kurt Browning and Johnny Weir will lend years of international competitive and show experience to the weekly shows.
    Ice show producer and Sun Valley Director of Recreation Lana Breazeale said, “We’re bringing in new talent to establish new relationships with them. Some of these kids are fantastic.”
    Irvine added, “Top tier young competitors are coming to this year’s show. It will be exciting to watch.”
    “Our focus in the ensemble numbers will be on Broadway music, and a lot of the headliners will do Broadway music, too,” said Irvine. “The music is fantastic. It fits our setting and the look has the feel of a show.”
    Much of the ice show energy comes from the ensemble company of skating entertainers that adjusts and tinkers and comes up with great ideas over two months of showing their stuff before different audiences.
    Audiences enjoy the connection between ice dancers Kimberly Navarro, 32, and Brent Bommentre, 29, the 2008-09 U.S. ice dancing bronze medalists. Back for a 16th year is the Russian pairs team of Elena Leonova and Andrei Khvalko, 1999-00 world professional champs.
    The ensemble features the athleticism of Olympic bronze medalist Jozef “Jumpin’ Joe” Sabovcik, and the engaging talents of Craig Heath, Ashley Clark and Darlin Baker. Pairs skater Natalia Zaitseva returns with partner Jeremy Barrett.
    Back for a second year starting July 20 is comic skater and longtime Disney on Ice showman Jason Graetz from Montreal. He creates the illusion of rubber legs—resembling the hilarious antics of iconic ice show performer Gary Beacom.
    Happily joining the summer ensemble for a first time is the July 4 headliner, 29-year-old Ryan Bradley who was the U.S. national king two years ago.
    Before coming to Sun Valley to headline the Fourth of July last summer, Bradley latched onto a gig performing on the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas cruise ship. His girlfriend, Salt Lake City figure skater Erin Reed, was the line captain of the ship’s skating show.
    Bradley and Reed performed memorably together last October in the Ice Theater of New York “Unforgettable” number set to music from the award-winning movie “The Artist.” And Reed plans to join Bradley and the Sun Valley Ice Show this summer as a solo artist.
    The Fourth of July show will start around 9:45 p.m. and include a spectacular patriotic finale with holiday fireworks. Since ice shows begin at dusk, by Labor Day the starting times will be about 8:30 p.m.

This summer’s headliners
    Here are the headliners for the 77th summer of the Sun Valley Ice Show. Each show lasts about 70 minutes, doors opening at 8 p.m. each show.
l Thursday, July 4—Three-time U.S. collegiate king Ryan Bradley and Nathan Chen, with traditional resort fireworks.
    The 2011 U.S. men’s champion Bradley, 29, a lanky 5-foot-11-inch showman from Missouri, is known for backflips and triple axels. He retired from competitive skating two years ago after competing in three world championships and earning a U.S. silver medal in 2007.
    A delightful addition to the Sun Valley Ice Show over the last three years has been 14-year-old Chen from Salt Lake City, Utah. He captured the 2012 U.S. Junior Men’s title with seven clean triples—skating to “Godfather” music and becoming the youngest Junior Men’s winner in recent annals. He also won U.S. novice championships in 2010 and 2011.
l Saturday, July 13—Johnny Weir, 28, the 2008 world bronze medalist and three-time U.S. men’s king (2004-06) from Pennsylvania.
l Saturday, July 20—Evan Lysacek, 28, the 2010 Olympic gold medalist and 2007-08 U.S. king was also the world champion four years ago. The lanky 6-foot-2-inch skater from Chicago still has Olympic aspirations. Lysacek was the 2010 U.S. Olympic Committee Sportsman of the Year but had to withdraw from the 2013 U.S. championships after sports hernia surgery.
    Nathan Chen appears with Lysacek.
l Saturday, July 27—Returning to Sun Valley for the first time in years is 39-year-old Surya Bonaly, the three-time world silver medalist and five-time European champion from Nice, France. The athletic French-American was the first woman to attempt a quadruple jump in competition.
    Agnes Zawadzki from Chicago headlines with Bonaly four days before her 19th birthday. The 2012 and 2013 U.S. bronze medalist who trains with Christy Krall in Colorado Springs is aiming for the third American spot in the Olympics.
l Saturday, Aug. 3—Two-time defending U.S. skating queen Ashley Wagner, 22, is likely the top American hope for a medal if she qualifies for her first Olympics, which will be the 2014 competition in Russia next February.
    Wagner is a determined skater. The German-born U.S. military brat won the free program and placed fourth at the 2012 worlds and thus secured two spots for U.S. women at the 2013 worlds. This past March at London, Ontario, Wagner finished fifth in the World Championships and, along with teammate Gracie Gold’s sixth place, earned a third spot for the U.S. women at the upcoming Sochi Olympics.
    Joining Wagner is 18-year-old Joshua Farris from Seattle, the 2013 World Junior gold medalist. Hitting seven triple jumps including two triple axels at Milan, Italy in March, Farris topped a 1-2-3 U.S. podium sweep with Jason Brown and Shotaro Omori. It was first time one country had swept the podium during the 47-year-old world junior competition.
l Saturday, Aug. 10—Four-time world champion Kurt Browning, 47, makes his return to Sun Valley. The four-time Canadian king from Alberta was the first man to land a quadruple jump in competition, 25 years ago during world competition in Hungary. He is a three-time Olympian.
    Also the bill and brand new in the world of ice shows is the U.S. ice dancing team of Madison Hubbell, 22, from Lansing, Mich. and Zach Donahue, 22, from Hartford, Ct. They are the 2012 U.S. bronze medalists.
l Saturday, Aug. 17—Alissa Czisny, 26, the Bowling Green State University grad and winner of U.S. national titles in 2009 and 2011. Known for spins and graceful spirals, Czisny placed fifth in the 2011 world championships. Alissa is coming back from a dislocated hip injury she suffered landing a triple jump in a tune-up to the 2013 U.S. Championships.
    Czisny is joined by Nathan Chen, making his third appearance of the summer’s nine ice shows as co-headliner.
l Saturday, Aug. 24—The attractive Canadian ice dancing team of Piper Gilles, 21, an Illinois native from Toronto, and Paul Poirier, 21, from Unionville, Ontario. Partners for two years, they are the 2013 Canadian silver medalists. Gilles, who won the 2009-10 U.S. junior bronze medals with then-partner Zach Donahue, is applying for Canadian citizenship with an eye on competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
l Saturday, Aug. 31—Johnny Weir, 28, the 2008 world bronze medalist returns for the Labor Day weekend finale.

Ticket prices, dinner buffet
    Sun Valley Resort will once again offer a traditional dinner buffet with the ice show. It costs $99 for the buffet/show.
    For the show only, this year’s bleacher reserved seat prices range from $39 to $59 per person depending on where you sit. Bleacher tickets for kids 12-and-under are $19.
    Non-refundable tickets are now on sale at the Sun Valley Recreation Office, 622-2135. Tickets may be purchased online at All seating is reserved and advance reservations are recommended. You can also buy tickets at the gate before the shows.
    Day care at the Sun Valley Playschool during ice shows is available by advance reservation at 622-2288.

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