January 22, 2009

More On Disney

I got this post from Karen - thanks, Karen! - giving you a behind-the-scenes look at auditioning for their show.

If you're interested in auditioning, here's the website for the article. Plus I posted it below. But if you really are planning to audition, email me and I'll put you in touch with someone who's been there recently (or knows someone who has) and they'll give you the whole story.

Disney On Ice Presents "Worlds of Fantasy"

Mix one part pixie dust with four of your favorite Disney tales for a five-star enchanted evening you'll never forget! Lightning McQueen, Tinker Bell, Simba, and Ariel have laced up their skates to bring you "Worlds of Fantasy," the latest entertainment extravaganza from Disney On Ice. Performances filled with spectacular precision skating are scheduled for a 70-city, two-year tour. So how does such an amazing event come together?

Veteran figure skater Judy Thomas, now the Talent Director and Production Coordinator for Disney On Ice, explains how shows develop. "I start casting every spring and find skaters around the globe. It took approximately six months to fill all the roles for 'Worlds of Fantasy.' The best part of my job is hearing the skater's excitement over the phone after offering them a role ... I really wish I could capture those moments."

Joining Disney On Ice is the opportunity of a lifetime for many young skaters (who wouldn't do quadruple jumps for the chance to play Ariel or Tinker Bell?), but skaters must meet rigorous standards to make the final cut. According to Judy, skaters must be high school graduates and at least 17 years old, though the average age is 22. "There are 38 skaters in 'Worlds of Fantasy,' ranging in age from 17 to 41, plus the stage crew and staff. For some it's their first time away from home so I'm like the den mother. Besides an incredible way to see the world, I want to give the skaters support and career guidance as well as the ability to make good choices," she says.

Ariel's curiosity, Simba's good-heartedness, Tink's irrepressible spirit ... it takes more than the right look to portray the world's most popular characters. Judy continues, "Based on what the producer and choreographer have in store, candidates must skate as singles, pairs, or both. Tinker Bell's role required singles as well as pairs capabilities with the right enthusiasm, skating energy, and ability to handle a physically demanding role. I needed a skater who could truly capture the Character's exuberance and BreAnn Brown fit perfectly. Everyone's here because I see something in them ... there's quite a process behind bringing skaters to the point where they can depict certain roles."

Once the skaters were selected, "Worlds of Fantasy" summer rehearsals revved up in Lakeland, Florida, the first stop on the show's 2008-2009 domestic tour that launched in late August. "Although there were six months of preparation leading up to the first rehearsal, it was exciting because everyone finally got to meet each other. There were many long hours, costume fittings, and a physically exhausting schedule ... but at the end of that five-week period we had an extraordinary product that everyone contributed to," she adds. Technical rehearsals - the final stage before show time - included layering in production elements like props, lighting, fog, pyrotechnics, and other special effects.

Months of intense work pay off every time the skaters' blades touch the ice and audiences are whisked away into a night of pure enchantment. Act One stars Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy as they land in Radiator Springs and the world of "Cars," the waves of Ariel's undersea kingdom, and finally in the "Circle of Life" with "The Lion King." Judy describes "The Little Mermaid" segment as "Breathtakingly visual ... beautiful flowing silks portray the water. It's stunning."

New to Disney On Ice shows, state-of-the-art animatronics transform the antics of a full-scale Lightning McQueen, Sally, Tow Mater, and the Radiator Springs' crew into freewheeling fun. Guests are in for a treat as every jump, spin, and turn down the frozen highway leads to even more amazing Disney magic.

Connecting classic tales with current Disney Characters, Act Two features Tinker Bell and her Fairy friends from Pixie Hollow as the ice is transformed into a springtime wonderland bursting with blooms. Reflecting the story of the new "Tinker Bell" movie, the Fairies' secret place in nature is revealed in a most magnificent way.

Seeing Tink come to life on the ice brings back heartwarming childhood memories for Judy. She recalls, "Growing up in Canada, my favorite Disney memory was watching the 'Wonderful World of Disney' with my family on Sunday nights. I loved seeing Tinker Bell fly around the castle. It was a very special time ... and a world that I certainly thought I'd never get this close to!"

Thanks to "Worlds of Fantasy," audiences will treasure special memories like Judy's -- the skaters' passion creates electricity in the air at every spellbinding performance!

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