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December 11, 2023

High School Musical on ice is not for the cool

By NATALIE BERKMAN | November 7, 2007

Just when you think that Disney cannot possibly squeeze any more money out of the High School Musical phenomenon, they prove you wrong. You've watched the movies become instantly popular, you've seen them release "sing-along," "dance-along," "concert version," and "remixed" DVDs, you've seen the soundtracks break record sales, and you've seen the actors and actresses become well-known. After all that, and the news about an upcoming High School Musical 3, it must be impossible for them to do more, right? These movies just can't stretch this far! Well, if that's what you thought, you'd be wrong, because now touring is High School Musical: The Ice Tour, a cute, enjoyable, overpriced copy of the originals.

The ice show was narrated by Kelsey, the character who wrote the musical for which Troy and Gabriella auditioned in the first movie. It began quickly, and progressed quickly as well, condensing the entire first movie into 45 minutes and the second movie into another 45 minutes. Perhaps Disney expects a short attention span from the younger audiences that will undoubtedly fill the stands. Why else would they condense two movies that are both 90 minutes long each into one ice show?

The first act was entirely devoted to High School Musical (the original). It was easy to understand, despite its fast pace, and the speed actually made it more enjoyable. The ice skating replaced all the dancing from the movies, and was fun to watch. Troy and Gabriella break out of their shells and, in doing so, cause chaos at their clique-filled high school. Despite their differences, the basketball jock and the chemistry genius fall for each other when they sing together, and the first act has a satisfying ending. The second act was based on the second movie, and covered the adventures the East High Wildcats had while working at a country club during the summer. As Sharpay Evans schemes to sing in the talent show with Troy, his relationship with Gabriella and his fellow Wildcats is tested.

The plot is exactly the same as the movies. The music was almost exactly the same - with a few lines and verses removed to shorten and simplify, with a new transitioning song inserted now and then. The voices were the same - the ice skaters would simply mouth along to the pre-recorded music. Even the costumes were the same! This is certainly an easy money-maker for Disney. They need to hire some ice skaters who can dress up like high school students and move their lips, buy a little scenery that won't slip and slide and blow sparks whenever they think the kids will get bored. Parents can't say no when their children beg to see a Disney production, and what better way to take their money than by charging as much as $65 a ticket? Then upon arriving, the poor parents will be faced with overpriced food and expensive souvenirs. They might make it out alive, but they will have a serious dent in their wallets!

As for the show itself, the music is the same cute music that people fell in love with when High School Musical came out in 2006. Even though they race through both movies like a marathon, the music still ties everything together. The skating is impressive and a lot of the dancing and choreography from the movies translated very well. If anything, it was more impressive. The production was as smooth as ice (forgive the pun). The big cast worked well together, the routines were executed perfectly and they really enticed the audience. The lights and sparks were a crowd-pleaser, and even though they moved through the story very quickly, it didn't seem as though anyone was confused.

High School Musical has been the Disney Channel's gold mine for a while now, and this ice show is the new adaptation. It's enjoyable to watch, especially if you like watching ice skating. It was just in Baltimore as a part of its 100-city global tour, and will be showing all over the world. If you are a High School Musical fan, then this is a must-see. It's a clever adaptation of the two movies into an enjoyable ice show. If you haven't seen the movies, I'd recommend that you watch them first - it may be hard to understand some of the things that happen in the second act without having seen the second movie. Obviously, the movies play on the Disney Channel all the time, the soundtracks and DVDs have been released and there is even a road production of the first movie touring now, so there are plenty of opportunities to see it. However, if you weren't in love with the movies or the music, this may not be the show for you. It is, after all, almost an exact duplicate. However, if you are a fan of cute Disney productions, High School Musical: The Ice Tour will not disappoint.

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