Stars on Ice: A Review

Jordyn Hronec

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On Friday, April 27th, I attended an event that proved to be yet another use for PPG Paints Arena’s home ice. This event was called “Stars on Ice”, and it was basically a showcase of the United States’ best figure skaters, including the members of Pyeongchang 2018’s Team U.S.A. The tickets for this event were only $25 a piece, and our seats were on the lower level, not quite right on the ice, but not up in the rafters either. Simply put, if these were seats for a Pens game, they’d be pretty pricey. But for the quality of this performance, they were totally a steal.

The unique thing about this event was that it allowed the skaters to express themselves creatively, whereas the Olympics placed restrictions on what they could perform and how long it could be. The audience could really see each and every skater’s personalities through their song choices and the skaters’ abilities to include elements that weren’t so technical-heavy. It also gave audiences a chance to be introduced to some of the U.S.’s best figure skaters who may not have gotten a ton of screen time during the Olympics.

During the show, there were some personalities that really stole the show. One of which belonged to skater James Brown, whose solo-skates included a number set to Hamilton’s The Room Where it Happens, as well as Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling, where he busted out some on-ice dance moves. Other show-stoppers included Adam Rippon, who is one of the most outspoken LGBTQ+ activists in the Olympics. His first solo skate was soulful and performed to Adele’s Remedy. As he skated, you could hear his skates dig into the ice, which further demonstrated the heavy emotions that he channeled into his performance. His second skate was more light-hearted and performed to a techno-dance song. The girls sitting behind me were huge Adam Rippon fans, and they had big, glittery signs to tell him so. It was evident that at a few points in the night, he spotted them and smiled. It was really cool.

I was also blown away by the ladies. Skater Mirai Nagasu, known for being the first female Team U.S.A. member to land a triple axle in the Olympics, was a powerhouse. Her second routine, performed to No Good Deed Goes Unpunished from Wicked, was awesome. She first entered the ice with a black cloak over top of her, and when she unveiled herself, the crowd went wild. Another female skater who totally killed it was skater Karen Chen, who did a great job of demonstrating her versatility. Her first skate was performed to Never Enough from The Greatest Showman. It was beautiful and lyrical, and was the first skate of the night, which was a good choice, as it mesmerized and captured the audience. Her second skate was set to Blow Your Mind (Mwah) by Dua Lipa, which was sassy and fun. When she hit the ice wearing a sparkly red top and faux leather pants, the audience knew that this was going to be a power move. And it very much was.

One of the most anticipated skaters of the night was World Champion, Nathan Chen. Chen is only 18 years old, which makes his accomplishments that much more impressive. One of the highlights of the night was when he performed to the song Nemesis by artist Benjamin Clementine. Chen performed the very same routine that he did when he first hit the ice in Pyeongchang. And while that Olympic performance didn’t go quite as well as he had hoped, performing it on this tour was the ultimate act of redemption. At one point, when the stadium was dark and silent, waiting for him to perform, I screamed “QUEEN!!!” at the top of my lungs. And it was evident that Nathan heard me. And he was very confused, but I was satisfied.

Other highlights of the night included performances by the Shibutani siblings, who performed pair skates in the Olympics. Maia and Alex Shibutani were a crucial part of Team U.S.A. in the Olympics, and they brought their A-game for this performance. Their skate set to a Coldplay medley, which they performed in Pyeongchang, was super impressive. There were two other pairs who skated, and one of my favorite numbers was performed by Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who skated to Sia’s Elastic Heart. They utilized a long piece of fabric, which Charlie would wrap around Meryl to send her off spinning. It was beautiful and captivating.

Other skaters included Ashley Wagner and Bradie Tennell. One of Ashley’s numbers was set to This is Me from The Greatest Showman, and it was super inspiring. It was also a great song choice, as half of the audience was singing along. Bradie performed a beautiful Cinderella-themed number as well, complete with a light blue costume that was something out of Disney on Ice. It was lovely.

All in all, this show was both entertaining and impressive. It was a great experience to be able to watch some of the talented athletes who represent the United States, live in action. Plus, the tickets were super cheap, and the seats were great. I believe this show is a hidden gem. And I will definitely be attending the next time it comes to Pittsburgh.

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