(Air Date: Week Of 3/6/96)
When contemporary audiences observe that the Hollywood musical is dying... dying... dead, we're right AND wrong. On the silver screen, it is, most assuredly, a languishing art form. But on television, on stage & on ice, lavish Hollywood-style musicals still flourish. Among the most profitable of the touring ice shows is Walt Disney's "World On Ice", coming every year or so to a coliseum or arena near you.
Last year's "Aladdin" tour was launched with pre-show ice sculptures & pre-sold houses of children who couldn't wait to see their favourite animated characters in the flesh. This year, it's "Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs'" turn to pack them in. But Disney's Snow White, recreated for 1937 kids, isn't the feisty, resourceful heroine that "Beauty & The Beast's" Belle or "Aladdin's" Jasmine or "Pocahontas" turned out to be for today's youngsters. She's an acquiescent brunette who thinks that bright red & deep blue GO together on a dress & who sings, quite frequently, as if she's on helium. A 4-year-old in my vicinity groaned "Oh, brother" everytime Snow White burst into song with "Someday My Prince Will Come".
And her Prince Charming claims to have just "One Song", but he actually has another tune up his sleeve that I don't remember hearing in the original movie. Then there's the wicked witch: every kid in the house sees right through her & warns Snow White over & over not to eat that apple, but does she LISTEN? Oh, no, she's the ideal fairy tale princess, naive, pretty & stupid. As an animated feature, "Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs" was ground-breaking, the ice show, even with way cool special effects, reveals the story to be pretty thin stuff for a two-hour program.
This one is padded with opening & closing showcase numbers highlighting many other Disney creations who advise the kiddies to READ MORE BOOKS! Even so, "Snow White" & her cohorts made a tidy profit on this year's tour minus two night's receipts. In an ironic postscript the wicked witch might have understood, a young vendor & an even younger bookkeeper checked out of their hotel in the wee hours of the morning, carrying two large duffel bags... of money? The cash is definitely missing, a backstage mystery that might well be the basis of a new offbeat musical.
Copyright 1996 Monica Sullivan
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