Welcome the new year with a dose of Disney magic. The latest Disney On Ice extravaganza arrives at Nassau Coliseum, opening Jan. 11.
The spectacle features Disney’s inspiring heroines and their beloved stories, including those spunky royal sisters, Anna and Elsa, and the hilarious snowman Olaf, from the always popular mega-hit “Frozen.” Joining this spirited pair are the always-enchanting Ariel, Belle, and the spirited Rapunzel. Their wishes come true in lively version of “The Little Mermaid,” “Tangled,” “Beauty & the Beast,” and “Frozen.”
“We are taking a fresh new spin on how we’re presenting the Disney stories,” says Producer Juliette Feld. “We are weaving together the four worlds of royal sisters Anna and Elsa, Ariel, Belle and Rapunzel as they each embark on their own epic journey.”
In keeping with longstanding Disney tradition, it’s a fast-paced spectacle,hosted by Mickey and Minnie, of course, with the assistance of the Disney on Ice Rock Stars.“Each segment has its own special appeal,” says Antonella Ross, who appears in the show as Ariel.
The 24-year-old skater, who is entering her second year with Disney on Ice, is eager to share her interpretation of the iconic character with audiences. “I like everything about her and am so excited to be portraying her. She is one my favorite princesses and to be able to do this is magical.”
In fact, everything about “Reach for the Stars” is unforgettable, according to Ross. “It’s a beautiful show. It has so many magic moments. Each segment has its own appeal with a special reveal. We have elements that are not in other shows.”
Skaters burst out onto the ice to get things started with an explosion of color for the lively introduction that includes a dance-off-sing-off between the boys and girls, led by Mickey and Minnie and their crew. Families are encouraged to get up and dance along to music featured on the Disney Channel.
“It’s a truly fun segment that gets the audience involved,” says Ross. “Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald — and the Rock Stars — get everyone to their feet.”
Then Ross makes her way onto the ice, as “The Little Mermaid” unfolds, to the delight of the audience. “They start screaming immediately,” she says. And, of course, many fans come in costume, “which is so exciting to see.”
The highlight of her segment is the Spanish web act, in which Ross’ skating skills command attention. Ariel transforms from mermaid to human when she emerges from Ursula’s cauldron, and dangles 35-feet over the ice, showing off her brand new legs.
“I’m actually flying the air for two minutes,” she says. “I get a huge reaction, especially during the spinning part.”
“Everyone will be in awe as they watch Ariel slowly pulled upwards and then rapidly twirl above the ice,” says Director Patty Vincent. “This is the first time that we’ve captured her transformation like this in a production. That’s what makes “Reach for the Stars” different, we selected scenes we’ve never done before and then took our time on the details to make them truly special.”
“Beauty and Beast” takes on a new dimension on the ice. Every aspect is exaggerated and over the top, enticing the crowd to follow along on the adventure. Gaston leads a giant mob of villagers with real fire torches to track down and “Kill the Beast,” the iconic red rose is oversized with petals that actually fall, and the castle set is whimsically shaped, giving it an animated feel.
While audiences enthusiastically respond to all the stories, it’s probably “Frozen” that hold the most appeal. “Everyone is so excited when Olaf comes out,” says Ross, and then they go crazy for all the Frozen characters.”
And then it’s time for the finale. It all wraps up with a light stick show as the Rock Stars reappear for an enthusiastic send-off. Ariel, Belle, and Rapunzel are joined back on the ice by their Disney friends, along with Anna and Elsa who return to wish the audience farewell.
Disney On Ice’s Reach for the Stars
When: Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 11-14. Times vary. Tickets start at $15, available at Nassau Coliseum Box Office,
(800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.
Where: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale.