"The Nutcracker on Ice" will come to Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 9; and not just any old "Nutcracker." This one will star Olympic figure skating gold medalists Oksana Baiul (1994) and Viktor Petrenko (1992) as Clara and the Nutcracker Prince. Also featured will be U.S. Open Pro champion Rory Flack Burghart as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Producer Barry Mendelson notes that never before has "The Nutcracker" been performed by such renowned ice skating stars.
The stellar trio will lead a company of 24 into the Delta Center for one performance only, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. The show features elaborate, lavish costumes and Tchaikovsky's immortal music. "Nutcracker" has been converted to an ice spectacular by choreographer Minnie Madden, whose experience includes theater and other ice shows. She says she finds it rewarding to stage ballet on ice because of the possibilities for gliding, fluid movement.Salt Lake City will be the third stop on a tour of 19 of the largest cities in the United States and Canada, beginning Tuesday in Hartford, Conn., and concluding with a special performance to air on NBC television, Saturday, Dec. 31.
Stuart Zanville, spokesman for the show, notes that Salt Lake City is one of the smaller venues on the tour but considered a prime stop because of the city's reputation for wonderful family communication.
Baiul, a native of Ukraine, captured the heart of a watching world earlier this year when in Lillehammer, Norway, she edged Nancy Kerrigan by one-tenth of one percent on artistic points to win the gold at age 17 - the youngest since Sonja Henie of Norway, who in 1927 won the world championship at age 14.
Imaginations were piqued by the tragedy and gallantry that have marked Baiul's career so far. Her mother's death when she was 13 left her with no living relatives. Having already made a good start on a skating career, she came to the attention of coach Galina Zmievskaya, who took Baiul into her home in Odessa and guided her skating career. Petrenko, another protege of Zmievskaya, helped out by buying her skates and material for costumes.
Now 25, native Odessan Petrenko also rose to early prominence, winning a world junior title at 14. This he followed up by winning the bronze medal at the Calgary Games in 1988 and the Albertville Olympic gold in 1992. Finishing fourth at Lillehammer, Petrenko is secure as one of the elite of figure skating. He and Baiul now train under Zmievskaya at the International Skating Center in Connecticut.
Burghart began skating at 10 and turned professional in 1988; she has won third, second and first place ranking in the U.S. Open Pro Figure Skating Championships.
Burghart is noted as "a passionate, dramatic skater who loves to `act' while on the ice." She and her husband, seven-time Austrian singles champion Ralph Burkhart, live in Seattle where they are skating director and artistic director of the new Olympic View Arena and Sno-King Arena. Ralph is also part of the "Nutcracker on Ice" skating ensemble.
Tickets are $35, $30 and $20, on sale now at tahe Delta Center ticket office, 325-SEAT, and all Smith'sTix outlets. To charge by phone call 467-TIXX, or for group rates, 325-2554.