YOUNGSTOWN - The city will be in the national spotlight on Christmas
Day when an ice skating show at Chevrolet Centre will be televised
The Oct. 18 show will be taped and then broadcast on NBC from 3 to 5
p.m. Dec. 25. It will feature a host of former world and Olympic
figure-skating champions, performing to live music provided by the
Cleveland Pops Orchestra with guest vocalist Peter Cetera, the former
lead singer with the band Chicago.
The skaters will include Sasha Cohen, Brian Boitano, Todd Eldredge,
Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, Yuka Sato, Michael Weiss, Shae-Lynn
Bourne, Caryn Kadavy and Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon.
The show - titled "Hot Ice, Cool Sounds" - will include a 60-second
segment on Youngstown State University, which is one of the sponsors.
Short clips featuring shots of Youngstown and Mayor Jay Williams will
be interspersed throughout the broadcast. Neither the YSU segment nor
city segments has been created.
The show is sponsored by Smuckers, but is not part of the Smuckers
Stars on Ice Tour. "Its a one-time deal," said Eric Ryan, executive
director of Chevrolet Centre, where a press conference took place
Thursday to announce the show.
"A world-class orchestra, world-class skaters and a
world-class singer will convene in a world-class city,"
is how Williams described the event. "Its good for
Youngstown, and if its good for Youngstown, its good for the whole
Eldredge, who was at the press conference, said, "Im e***d to be
skating with the pops orchestra and Peter Cetera ... and its a great
fit for me, because I live just up in Detroit, and my wife is a YSU
Eldredge and the former Megan McCrae of Alliance married three years
ago. They met in San Antonio, where she was working as an entertainer
at Sea World. A friend of his wifes introduced the two, Eldredge told
The Vindicator. He added that his wife occasionally accompanies him on
Eldredge has skated in Chevrolet Centre before as part of the
Smuckers Tour that came to town two years ago.
The story of how Youngstown became the site for a
nationally televised Christmas special began in December.
Ryan and Cleveland businessman Lou Frangos, who is involved in several
Youngstown business ventures,
approached George Veris, a Cleveland entertainment
producer, about doing a holiday skating show in Northeast Ohio.
Veris contacted Steve Disson, who regularly produces skating specials
"The whole thing snowballed once Steve Disson got
involved," Ryan said. "Steve took it to Smuckers, and they liked it,
and they took it to NBC, who loved the idea."
Smuckers is based in Orrville, in Northeast Ohio. "That helped," said
Disson said the Youngstown show is "probably the
strongest skating cast that I have ever put together for one of my NBC
skating entertainment specials."
The Frangos Group, as well as the Skating Club of Greater Youngstown,
are also sponsors of the event.
Cetera, whose hit songs include "Glory of Love" and "The Next Time I
Fall," will sing eight songs for the televised segment, and one just
for the center audience, Ryan added.
The arena will be set in typical concert configuration
for the show, Ryan said.
The Cleveland Pops Orchestra, led by Carl Topilow, and Cetera will be
on an elevated stage at one end of the ice, with the skaters
performing in front of them. No seats will be sold behind the stage.
"We want to show the nation what were all about," Ryan said. "We need
to pack the place."