3/21/2013 - Walk through JFK Coliseum’s doors on March 30 and you might, for a moment, think you’ve teleported down to Universal Studios in Florida.
At least, that’s what Southern New Hampshire Figure Skating Club members are hoping for.
At this year’s show, Reel Attractions, you’ll see a three-dimensional merry-go-round, a ferris wheel and a two-dimensional roller coaster. You’ll see signs for Shrek, Islands of Adventure and Cat in the Hat. And you’ll see Harry Potter, Charlie Chaplin and Elton John look-alikes. The casts from The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby Doo and Peter Pan will be scurrying around on blades.
“JFK will look totally different. There are curtains, costumes, lights, props. The idea is to transform people from thinking that they’re at JFK and get them to the heart of our theme,” said Andrea Manseau, skating club board member and coach.
This year’s theme is Universal Studios.
“I enjoy reality-based themes,” said Teri Nordle, the show’s director. “It’s also the 100th anniversary of Universal Studios, and I thought that would be a nice piece of the show to expand on, to pull out some classic movies. We start with silent movies and progress through current times. It was interesting just researching how many movies were created by Universal.”
This year’s show will take the audience through a day at the theme park. Park attendants in khaki shorts and red shirts will welcome guests to Universal Studios, followed by a “lunch break” at Mel’s Diner with skating and music from the ’50s. The afternoon brings a review of movies from the past 100 years. In the evening, it’s dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe with one of the world’s most famous rockers, Elton John, played by 17-year-old Chantal Filiau.
“Every year, I’m trying to come up with something that will be appealing to audiences of all ages, but one that also gives us a great platform for building a set, using music that’s popular and that people will enjoy listening to,” Nordle said.
Filiau, a senior at Pembroke Academy, is in her final show year with the Southern New Hampshire Figure Skating Club. She’s been with them since age 3. She’ll sport a suit jacket with pants and crazy glasses in her final solo with the skating club.
“A lot of work goes into it. The youngest practice once a week, but the higher levels practice for the show four times a week,” Filiau said.
The evening winds down with the Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil.
Pushing the envelope involves lots of props, lots of costumes, lots of glitter and lots of help. Figure skating budgets are especially tight these days, but the folks at the club are “few in numbers but strong in spirit,” Nordle said. “It’s easy to have a big idea, but it can be hard to make it happen unless you have a dedicated group of people.”
Her husband Ken designs the big set props, parents help make the costumes, and everyone helps with piecing these elements together.
“This is my 49th year here in the club [she joined when she was 4], and I’m looking forward to celebrating my 50th next year. This is a great, life-long dedication for me, and every year I try to make a show that kids will remember 30, 40 years from now,” Nordle said.