I went to Parker Pennington's Skate for Life show up in Cleveland this past weekend which was a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Assocation. It was an awesome show and my friend and I had a blast. I hope you don't mind me posting a review of the show here although I'm not going to review all of the younger club skaters who performed because I don't remember all of their programs. All of them were really great and seemed to have fun too. They had to raise money in order to skate in the show and most of them did a great job raising money. One girl raised over $1900!!
Here is the link to the main website where you can find the cast list and other information about the show and you can order a DVD of the show at the website if you would like to help out but couldn't attend the show. http://www.mdaskateforlife.org/
BTW-Melissa & Denis did the choreography for the opening and closing numbers and they did a great job! You can see their You Tube video of the rehearsals at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vr4n2wQZMl8
My friend and I went to the Meet and Greet prior to the show but we weren't sure what the format was for it so we were a little nervous. After seeing the set up (the skaters were all sitting behind tables set up in a long line), I REALLY wish I had printed out some of my US Nats pictures for the skaters to sign because I had some of just about everyone! We eventually decided to just go through the line, get some pictures with a few of the skaters, and chat with everyone. The first person we met was Carol Heiss Jenkins who is absolutely adorable! She was so cute talking about how she joined Facebook so she could keep up with her grandkids. Next was Parker who was really sweet too although I'm kicking myself now because I forgot to get a picture with him. Kiri Baga was next and she is also very cute. I got a picture with her and complimented her on her programs at US Nats (she was great). Alissa was very shy but still very nice and friendly. The Hubbells get a gold star from me because instead of posing across the table like just about all the other skaters had to do with the setup, Keiffer dove under the table and came out in front of it for a picture! Madison gave him this look like, WTH?! but she crawled under the table too so gold stars for both of them! Angela Maxwell got her haircut since US Nats and it's really cute on her. She seemed shy when I complimented her on it though! Chock and Zuerlein were very nice and friendly and I had a great conversation with Taylor Firth about Locks of Love (which I just did in May when I got ten inches of my hair cut off). Apparently her sister has done this like four times in the last two years! She said her hair grows really fast and is really thick too. She was also very cute although I forgot to ask her about the Ice Castles remake which I had wanted to do. Tonia K. was extremely nice and very bubbly. Sara VG and Gev M were also nice but I didn't know much about them so I didn't talk to them much. Jennifer Robinson is always very sweet and we enjoyed chatting with her. Amanda & Mark were awesome as always and we spoke to them for quite a while since I actually know them. Colin (Parker's brother) was very friendly as well and I always enjoy talking to Melissa & Denis (who I've known for several years now). They were excited to take part in the show and I'm so glad they were there since I hadn't seen them in a while! The Meet and Greet ended before the doors opened to the public so we talked to Melissa & Denis and Amanda & Mark for a while before they had to go get ready and then we walked around the silent auction area to see what all was there. I wish I'd had more money to spend because I would have made some bids but I wasn't able to at the time. There were some cool items up for auction. The show started not long after that and it was really fun although the ice was a little bit smaller than normal due to on ice seating at the one end. That made a few programs more challenging for the skaters but they covered it well. Parker did a nice job planning everything too.
Opening-Medley of several different songs and everyone got to do a little something on their own in addition to doing some group work. It was pretty cool and I loved the effects even if it did make taking pictures almost impossible, LOL
Kiri Baga-Skated to "Smooth" by Santana (she did this program at the US Nats exhibition) and she looked really strong with her jumps. She has a lot of personality too and I'm looking forward to seeing her competitive programs this year.
Hubbells-"Minnie the Moocher" (their OD from last season) and aside from the black tights which didn't work for me, I really enjoyed this program.
Taylor Firth-I cannot remember her music for anything right now (and I loved the song too so this is bugging me, LOL) but it was a great program and I really enjoyed her skating.
Tonia K-"In My Daughter's Eyes" and this program was absolutely lovely. I've always loved her skating but this is the first time I've seen her live. She was wonderful.
Evora & Ladwig-"Ordinary People" and I really enjoyed their program. They totally went for the sbs 3 sals and even though Mark fell, I give them mad props for trying them in spotlights on a shorter than normal rink. Amanda rocked out the throw and their footwork was really nice too. I'm looking forward to seeing their new programs at Indy in about a month.
Angela Maxwell-Michael Jackson medley (which she actually planned before he passed away last week) and she totally sold this program! It was a lot of fun and this girl can dance too. I hope she keeps it for a while and that I get to see it again at US Nats in January!
There was a brief intermission at this time where I was surprised by my friend Jamie who had come to the show with her sister. That was a great surprise for me since I had no clue she was coming!
Sara Von Gillern and Gev Manoukian (SYTYCD)-They were SO awesome and I was amazed at the stuff they were doing in their routine! They performed in the on ice seating area that also had a dance area set up for them.
Jennifer Robinson-"Angel" (she did this on SOI this past year) and she did a really nice job. I love this program and I'm glad she chose that one to perform in this show.
Chock & Zuerlein-"Come Together"/"Cryin" (same as US Nats) and they also did a nice job although I think they had a lift that didn't go quite the way they planned due to the smaller ice. I could be remembering that wrong though.
Molly Jespersen-One of the club skaters who raised money so she could skate in teh show and I mention her because she skated a nice program to "Man in the Mirror" which she dedicated to her dad who has MD. I thought that was really cute.
Melissa & Denis-I don't know the name of the song they skated too but it was a great program and I really enjoyed it. They had some cool lifts and some really cool highlights in this program. They're helping out with the Sun Valley ice shows this summer which will be SO great for them. I wish I could get out there to see the show!
Parker-"A New Day" by Celine Dion but it was sung by his friend Jenny Alu who did a great job. Parker apparently had ankle surgery after US Nats and isn't jumping yet but the program was still really great. He did a nice job for not being able to practice the way I'm sure he normally does for a program!
Alissa-"Bridge Over Troubled Waters" (same as US Nats) and even though she had one fall in this program on the first jump, it was absolutely beautiful. Her spirals and spins are just to die for and I really like this program for her.
Finale-"We Are the World" (which Denis swears he didn't pick just because MJ passed away last week ). There were some dancer girls who did a little routine to part of the song but the rest of the cast all came out too. I thought it was great to see all the skaters get introduced and do some sort of skating move and in some cases, a signature move for them. I liked the song choice since this was a benefit show and I'm glad Denis picked that for the finale.
After the show ended Parker thanked pretty much everyone who was involved in the show and gave out some flowers to the main people. Alissa was his flower girl which I thought was cute. We ended up going to the after party which was a lot of fun although we didn't talk to as many people as we did during the meet and greet. It was fun seeing everyone all relaxed and having fun together. Parker's dad raffled off the table decorations from the on ice tables and he was so funny. It was hard to understand him at times (sound system issues, not him) but you can tell how proud he is of his son and I don't blame him. Parker did a tremendous job with this show and I really hope he does another one next year! I'll be there for sure.
I do have some pictures from the show but they're not online yet. I'll post a link here when I do finally get them online. The lighting wasn't the best at times so I don't have a lot but I did get a few pictures that I think are passable, LOL Even better than the show being great was that the Reds beat the Indians, 8-1, on Sunday (I went to the game with two other friends of mine) so that made my weekend even better!