“Disney On Ice”

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
January 27, 2000

Move over, Cher. Minnie Mouse is in town, and she’s sporting a Bob Mackie gown that you’d die for.

The beloved Disney character was just one of dozens Wednesday to glide into the Allstate Arena for the opening night of “Disney on Ice.”

Classy ice shows usually are an oxymoron. But this production was a splendid affair, with gorgeous costumes, striking sets and a cast of skaters who did a formidable job of re-creating some of Disney’s best-known animated characters.

Sure, there were some aborted jumps and falls that wouldn’t happen at competitive-level ice shows. But then again, those athletes don’t have to perform wearing rubber masks and cumbersome costumes.

All of the Disney favorites were represented. And while the production gave a nod to the classics (Snow White, Cinderella), the show was top-heavy on characters from recent Disney films. There were Buzz Lightyear (looking an awful lot like Jay Leno) from the “Toy Story” movies, Simba from “The Lion King,” Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” and Flik from “A Bug’s Life.”

Designer Scott Lane did a fabulous job outfitting all of the skaters. He had to create costumes that were true to the characters’ animated counterparts, but they also had to be durable and flexible enough to endure acrobatic moves. The “Mulan” segment was particularly resplendent, from the intricate, exotic costumes to the rich and colorful dragon that closed the segment.

And the “Mulan” story of a young girl who poses as a boy to serve her country during wartime was conveyed simply enough for the youngsters in the audience to comprehend.

David Potts’ stage set perfectly complemented the splashy costumes. Everything from his 38-foot, 20,000-pound castle to the delicate, moving dolls to the flickering “It’s a Small World” floats rang true to everything Disney.

The latter was particularly impressive in a segment that closed the first half of the show. Costumed to represent natives of Asia, Europe, Russia, Africa and central Africa, the “Disney on Ice” skaters created a mini, spinning United Nations.

The show had a few slow moments. The charming Pinocchio vignette at the start of the show would have benefitted from some minor editing. And the hockey match between Goofy and the Disney All Stars seemed like nothing more than a diversion to give the other skaters enough time to change into different costumes. 


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