By M. SCOTT MORRIS / NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A horde of heroines will overrun the BancorpSouth Arena when Disney on Ice’s “Princess Classics” comes to town.
“It’s your seven favorite princess stories from Aladdin and Jasmine to Sleeping Beauty. We have the Little Mermaid. We have Mulan. We have Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and Snow White, as well,” said James Black, who portrays Prince Charming.
There’s no doubt young girls will find plenty to enjoy at the show, but Black wanted people to know that boys haven’t been forgotten.
“There’s all sorts of stuff that’s great for boys,” he said. “We’ve got the Genie from ‘Aladdin.’ We’ve got Sebastian the crab from ‘The Little Mermaid.’ It’s got those little bits of Disney magic. There’s also fantastic skating to watch out for.”
In addition, Mickey and Minnie Mouse will be on the ice, and Tinkerbell is supposed to put in an appearance.
“The set is a 40-foot castle that rotates 180 degrees,” Black said. “It changes for each story we tell, so the set’s kind of magical itself.”
The first act of the show will follow six different stories. The second act is reserved for Cinderella’s search for true love.
That’s where Black comes in. As Prince Charming, it’s his job to find the girl who fits into the legendary glass slipper.
In real life, he’s already found her. His wife, Vicky, plays the part of Cinderella.
“It really helps us get a sense of realism of what we’re trying to portray on the ice,” Black said. “In a lot of cases, people try really hard to act out those intimate moments.
“We have an advantage, in that we have our love off the ice, as well as on the ice. It really helps us to make what we do more believable.”
The pair met when they were skaters on the British national team. She left to join Disney on Ice, and Black decided he couldn’t let a good thing get away.
“We realized what we had before was what we really wanted,” he said. “When I was done competing, it was a good time for me to get on the show with her, and we’ve toured the world together ever since.”
Disney on Ice presents its own challenges for the couple. They trained for many years as single skaters. Now, they’re a pair.
“We keep trying to improve. Whether it’s new lifts, new moves, slight changes to the choreography – that helps us keep it interesting for ourselves, as well,” he said. “It’s nice to go into work every day with a new challenge. That’s the way we like to look at it.”
Make some magic
The goal is to entertain, and there’s a certain synergy that happens when the crowd gets into the show.
“It’s good to see everybody getting involved in the production,” he said. “That gives you the satisfaction that you’re doing your job right, if everybody’s having a great time.”
In addition to world-class skating, “Disney Classics” includes elaborate costumes, memorable music and special effects.
And there’s more, Black said.
“It is the first opportunity you will ever get to see all seven of your favorite Disney princesses skating on the ice together,” he said. “You will forget the real world and be completely enveloped into this fantasy world.”
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.