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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, September 6, 2002

Disney's favorite characters make ice magic

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Pinocchio, the boy with a problem nose, is among 30 best-loved Disney characters appearing in the ice show at Blaisdell Arena.

Photo courtesy of Disney

. . .

'Disney on Ice'

• 7:30 tonight; noon, 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. tomorrow; 10:30 a.m., 2:30 and 6 p.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10; 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11-12; 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13; noon, 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sept.14; 10:30 a.m., 2:30 and 6 p.m. Sept. 15

• Blaisdell Arena

• $50, $40, $25 and $15

• 526-4400; 593-4439 (group sales)

"Disney on Ice," opening a 20-performance run tonight at the Blaisdell Arena, assembles more than 30 Walt Disney characters and celebrates 100 years of cartoon magic.

"Our goal is that everyone in the arena, of any age, essentially has the same experience, whether you're a kid or an adult," said Jim Bilik, director of the spectacle on ice since its launching in 1981.

"We will have failed if the parents say they had a dreadful time though the kids enjoyed the show," said Bilik, a Disney vice president of creative development, from his Maryland home. "The heart of any ice show, what motivates and drives the production, is the music. And in most instances, we use the original music."

Of course, the characters associated with the tunes provide the visual experience.

Thus, one can expect themes associated with such Disney franchises as "The Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast," "Snow White," "Pinocchio," "Toy Story," and "Cinderella."

But don't expect "Lilo & Stitch" characters or tunes — not in this, the 20th edition of the touring family favorite. Despite the philosophy of 'ohana in the movie, some people are left behind — though not forgotten.

"Everyone wants to see that on ice," he said of the summer's hit animated film, which has a powerful Hawai'i presence. "Let's just say we are on the case; Lilo and Stitch are on the drawing boards."

It's simply too new, said Bilik. "And, when you do 100 years of reflection, you have to leave something out."

Consequently, "Monsters Inc." also is not yet represented in the ice show .

This $10 million revue, it turns out, just toured Asia and Australia; Hawai'i is the first U.S. stop on what will evolve into a mammoth American tour, through next year.

"Technically, Honolulu is in the middle of the tour, because of the Asian dates, but the first before we hit the Mainland," said Bilik.

Skaters are hired for their willingness to learn to become actors and pantomime artists because some of the parts are performed anonymously, in full-tilt Disney costumes. "We're not into hiring skaters who think it's beneath them to mime," Bilik said.

Prior to joining Disney, Bilik was associated with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey and with Feld Entertainment when, in 1979, Irving and Kenneth Feld asked him to work on a new Disney-themed ice production. Feld produces "Disney on Ice" as a competitor to earlier family ice shows such as "Ice Follies."