Snow White has been in the spotlight in previous editions of Walt Disney's "Magic Kingdom on Ice." So have Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and an assortment of other beloved Disney and fairy-tale characters.
Now it's Pinocchio's turn.(At the rate they're going through the Disney archives for ice show material, don't expect Roger Rabbit until after the year 2000, although in show biz anything is possible.)
Pinocchio and a rinkful of Disney characters will be coming to Salt Lake City for 11 performances, March 1-6 in the Salt Palace arena.
"Pinocchio is a totally new kind of arena attraction," says producer Kenneth Feld. "It's a story brought to life on ice, more than two hours of excitement and entertainment without a single blackout or pause with the exception of a short intermission. It's family theater on an arena scale."
When it comes to entertainment, Feld doesn't do things halfway.
In addition to "Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom on Ice," Feld also produces "Walt Disney's World on Ice," two domestic touring units of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the spectacular "Beyond Belief" show starring illusionists Sigfried and Roy (currently on an international tour, before settling into a brand new, permanent showroom in Las Vegas), and a new international editionof the circus, which has played to sold-out crowds throughout Japan.
Feld is probably the only producer in the world who may be found on any given school night helping his harshest critics with their homework - his three young daughters Nicole, Alana and Juliette.
Feld respects a child's insights and understands that his family's involvement with the production process is essential to creating a show that families everywhere will thoroughly enjoy.
"I think that each year we strive to establish a new benchmark of quality," he says, "to set a new standard and try the following year to outdo ourselves. That's an ambitious commitment, but it keeps me going and assures audiences that every one of our shows will be a unique and exciting event."
When Walt Disney's animated film classic, "Pinocchio," was first released in 1940, it represented the highest achievement ever in the animated arts. At that time, it was the second feature-length animated film ever created. The first, of course, was another Disney classic, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," released three years earlier.
The story itself, about woodcarver Geppetto's puppet coming magically to life, was introduced to the world by author Carlo Collodi in "Avventure di Pinocchio," a story that was serialized in an Italian children's periodical in the 1880s.
For "Magic Kingdom on Ice," the story is spread across 16 connected production numbers.
From Festivale Italiano, the opening act, which finds Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Donald Duck, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto being given a warm Italian welcome at a harvest festival, through such numbers as Geppetto's Workshop, the Magical Wishing Star, Stromboli's Carnival, Pleasure Island and Monstro the Whale, a company of award-winning skaters will tell the story of the little wooden puppet who is permitted to turn into a real live boy only after he proves his courage.
J. Scott Driscoll, 27, has the key role of Pinocchio. Driscoll joined the "Magic Kingdom on Ice" show in 1985. A native of Natick, Mass., a suburb of Boston, he began skating at the age of 11. He's earned many titles during his amateur and professional career.
Other principal skaters in the company include:
- Grant Noroyan, 22, of Dearborn, Mich., who began skating at the age of 10 and competing at the age of 13. He placed at or near the top in a number of important regional and national championship competitions.
- Eric Kerr and Toyka Raol, a pair team from San Diego, Calif., and Spokane, Wash., respectively. Kerr and Raol were paired up three years ago as understudies with "Magic Kingdom on Ice." Kerr, 25, competed in many championships throughout the Southwest and Pacific Coast before making his professional debut with Ice Follies/Holiday On Ice. Raol, who began skating after watching a performance by Peggy Fleming, also studied Fashion Merchandising and Design at Eastern Washington University for one year before turning professional.
- Shannon Sowers (the Blue Fairy) is a native of San Diego, Calif., and joined the show last year. Now 20, she began skating at 10, lessons at 11 and competing at 12. She's performed with Scott Hamilton and Rosalyn Sumners. While touring with the Disney show, Sowers is taking correspondence courses in sports psychology.
- The Jackpots is a comedy trio hailing from Blackpool, England, the largest seaside resort in Great Britain. The trio was formed in 1978 by Steve Bobola, Rob Rowntree and Kevin "Macky" McDonald. Steve, 31, and Rob, 32, have been friends since childhood. McDonald, 28, and the other two all worked at various times for the Blackpool Pleasure Beach Amusement Park and played ice hockey for the Blackpool team.
- PLAYDATES AND SHOW TIMES: March 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m.; March 3 at 4 and 7:30 p.m.; March 4 at noon, 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.; March 5 at 2 and 5:30 p.m., and March 6 at 4 and 7:30 p.m.
Regular ticket prices are $7.50, $8.50 and $9.50, with a variety of discount options available.
On opening night, all seats are priced at $5, $6 and $7.
Tickets for designated Fred Meyer Kids' Shows (4 p.m. on March 3, noon on March 4, both Sunday performances and 4 p.m. on March 6) are discounted $2 for all children under the age of 12, with coupons from Fred Meyer stores.
Also, all children under 12 attending the special KSTU-Ch. 13 "Back Pack Show" at 7:30 p.m. on March 2 will receive free Mickey Mouse/Ma-gic Kingdom on Ice backpacks (one per child upon entry to the Salt Palace with full-priced ticket).
Tickets are available at all Smith's-Tix outlets and at the Salt Palace box office. For further ticket information, call 363-7681. For group rates, call 487-3260.