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Event review: “Disney on Ice presents Dare to Dream” skates into Oklahoma State Fair
To play Tiana and Naveen in their frog form, skaters Soniah Spence and Deryck Szatkowski donned skintight green suits intricately patterned with green, brown and yellow to call to mind a real amphibian's skin. Plus, without the usual fluffy skirts and heroic capes in their way, the athletic pair was able to perform jaw-dropping lifts and spins, pulling off some of the most impressive couples skating I can recall in nearly a decade of covering “Disney on Ice.”
All the duos in the production proved first-rate skaters, with the couples depicting Cinderella and Prince Charming and Rapunzel and Flynn Rider executing their share of gasp-worthy moments, too.
Once Tiana and Naveen got their human happily-ever-after, the stage was reset for Cinderella, and one of Disney's most venerable princesses showed her story still can mesmerize audiences after all these years. Her wicked stepsisters almost stole the show as their mean-spirited antics translated on the ice into over-the-top pratfalls, and children were audibly delighted by the appearance of the benevolent mice, portrayed by skaters in human-scale costumes.
But the Fairy Godmother really brought the Disney magic. With a flick of her wand, a dramatic bang and some brilliant production design, she “"Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo"-ed a pumpkin into Cinderella's coach, with the elegantly dressed damsel already inside. As skaters cannily costumed as horses "pulled" the coach around the ice, children and even many adults couldn't resist waving to the fair maiden on her way to the ball.
About halfway through the segment, I realized my 5-year-old son had never seen the movie, and he was enthralled by it, despite his impatience to get to the “Tangled” part. For him, intermission was a bit of a cliffhanger, since he had to wait for the start of the second half to see if the glass slipper would reunite Cinderella and her prince.
But most of the second act was devoted to the “Disney on Ice” debut of Rapunzel, who lets down her hair for the first time in “Dare to Dream.” Despite the entertaining storyline, witty humor and adventurous princess, getting “Tangled” up with Rapunzel's story wasn't as exciting as I had hoped.
Like some other venues on the tour, State Fair Arena unfortunately cannot accommodate the rigging equipment required for the segment's big aerial sequences, according to a spokeswoman for “Disney on Ice” producers Feld Entertainment. That means Oklahoma City audiences won't get got see Rapunzel and her unlikely love interest Flynn Rider soar through the air on her seemingly endless strands of luminous hair, as depicted in the souvenir program, promotional materials and other reviews of the show. Even folks who don't know that the aerial sequences are supposed to be there (like my husband) will sense something is missing: A pulley system near the ceiling doled out yard after yard of golden fabric representing those flowing locks, but it all just hung there for the entire show, which features too many moments of Rapunzel (Kendra Moyle) and Flynn (Joseph Jacobsen) just skating around being chased by nothing.
Still, the ice show, like the film, has its lighthearted sense of humor as a saving grace. The performers playing the surprisingly optimistic ruffians in the “I've Got a Dream” tavern sequence are having more fun than should probably be allowed as they throw elbows, cross swords and dance on tabletops, and the comically tenacious palace horse Maximus got huge laughs from the youngsters every time he took the ice.
The show ends with great fanfare and even a few fireworks as the other Disney princesses and their charming princes warmly welcome Rapunzel into their royal family. So, “Dare to Dream” features plenty of animated star power, and every girl in attendance gets the chance to cheer for the princess that best suits her fancy.
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“Disney on Ice presents Dare to Dream”
When: 7:30 p.m. Sept 13-14; 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15; 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sept. 16; 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17; and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18.
Where: Jim Norick State Fair Arena.
Tickets: $14, $18, $23, $30 and $40.
Information: 948-6700 or www.okstatefair.com.