Stepping Out: Smucker's Stars on Ice glides into Nassau Coliseum
Skating champions celebrate ice shows's 25th anniversary
For 25 years, the world's top figure skaters have enthralled fans of
the sport as they travel throughout the U.S. and Canada, with Scott
Hamilton's Stars On Ice tour. Now the stars of the skating world
celebrate a milestone when the 25th edition of the Smucker's Stars on
Ice tour glides onto the ice at Nassau Coliseum on Friday. Skating
stars past and present join headliners 2010 Men's Olympic Gold
Medalist Evan Lysacek and 2006 National Champion and Olympic Silver
Medalist Sasha Cohen, and four time World and Canadian National
Champion Kurt Browning, for an evening of all-star skating, with a
video introduction by its founder, Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic Gold
||Long Island Herald|
||March 31, 2011|
||Karen Bloom |
Conceived in 1986 as a vehicle for Hamilton, who had been released
from his contract with the Ice Capades (after being told that male
skaters do not sell tickets), Hamilton created a "home" for his fellow
skaters to enable them to continue their skating careers after their
competitive days were over.
Hamilton, who is now retired from regular touring with the show,
remains actively involved as a producer.
A gathering of legends - past, present and future - honors Hamilton in
this anniversary show that showcases figure skating at its
best. Smucker's Stars on Ice continues to be a pioneer in figure
skating by offering fans the rare opportunity to witness some of the
world's most creative and cherished champions performing together in
individual and ensemble routines. In addition to Lysacek, Cohen and
Browning, the stellar cast of world-renowned skaters includes Olympic
Gold Medalists Jamie Salé and David Pelletier, of Canada; two-time
Olympic Gold Medalist Ekaterina Gordeeva, of Russia; World Champion
and six-time U.S. National Champion Todd Eldredge; Olympic Silver
Medalists Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto; 2010 Olympic Bronze
Medalist, Joannie Rochette, also of Canada; and two-time World Bronze
Medalist and three-time U.S. National Champion Michael Weiss.
It's a reunion with the skating "family" for Browning, who returns
after a lengthy absence. "The 25th anniversary was a good excuse for
me to rejoin the cast," Browning said. "I'd been invited to do some
guesting in the past, but not as a full cast member. This was a chance
to be part of the full cast again, part of the family."
"It was because of that I was curious about doing it. At first I had
the wish that maybe Scott or Kristi (Yamaguchi) could be on the ice
with me, I kind of thought that might happen, but they are at
different places in their lives. I seem to be the one pulled out of
retirement. I'm extremely honored to get one more kick at the big
tour; I had thought I said goodbye forever. But I had knee surgery a
couple years ago to help me get around the racetrack, and now I get
one more shot at being the horse going around the racetrack."
Browning is considered to be one of the most popular skaters on the
tour. Fans, and fellow skaters, have responded enthusiastically to his
return to the U.S. shows.
"I've been doing Stars on Ice in Canada for 20 years straight,"
Browning said. " So I have been performing and touring and doing shows
all over the world. But it's really something special to get back on
the U.S. cast of Stars on Ice. It's something I let go because of
family commitments. Seven years ago, my son was born. So I said
that'll be it for the U.S. tour, I'll just do guesting."
From triple jumps to those backflips not permitted in competition,
this show has all the tricks that audiences love. "The show is a
balance of amazing talent, lighting, and costumes," said
Browning. "I've been in 21 casts of Stars on Ice. This is a great mix
of talents and a great show. It's fun to perform and fun to
This year's production is an opportunity for the cast to demonstrate
the evolution of the sport. From the younger group of skaters to those
of Browning's generation, every athlete brings something special to
the performance. "It's a great group," said Browning. "They're good
people, good skaters and good friends. It's truly an honor to be a
part of this."
Browning, who has stepped in as "host" of the show, opens the program
with a conversation with Hamilton through a video link. That sets the
tone for an evening of pure skating, as each star wows the audiences
with the trademark moves that delight their fans.
"Basically it's good old-fashioned stars on ice, with great group
numbers where the friendships of the skaters get to come through,"
Browning said. "We showcase Sasha Cohen and Evan Lysacek, who, of
course, just got us a shiny new gold medal at the Olympics in
Vancouver in 2010. We're just going to really have a great time. We've
got wonderful individual efforts from Jamie Sale and David Pelletier,
and we do a really fun group number with Todd Eldredge and myself and
Sasha Cohen — just the three of us, but it's really charming."
"I think we've got one of the best casts we've had in a very long
time. We have an amazingly talented cast, and a cast that likes each
other. We're very proud of the show and the tour sponsor. We have a
wonderful relationship with charity. A portion of the proceeds goes to
Boys and Girls Clubs of America."
Smucker's Stars on Ice
Friday, April 1, 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and may be purchased at the
Coliseum Box Office, Ticketmaster locations, (631) 888-9000 or www.ticketmaster.com.
Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale.