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Utahns may flip over Bountiful skater in magical Disney role at Delta Center

In the five years that Bountiful native Scott Irvine has toured with Feld Entertainment's ice shows, he's never played for his hometown audience. But now, in his second year with "Disney on Ice — 75 Years of Disney Magic," he'll finally get a chance to perform in the Delta Center.

"I still consider Utah my home, and I come back every time we have the time off," he said during a telephone interview from the Bay area, where the tour was nearing the end of its West Coast leg.

Skating professionally since 1996, he's performed in such spectacular Feld productions as "Pocahontas on Ice," "Double Feature," "Starlight Express," "Aladdin" and "Anastasia" before tackling roles in two segments of "75 Years of Disney Magic." He is both the good-natured Genie in "Aladdin" and the elderly craftsman Geppetto in "Pinocchio."

"I think I hold the company record for show transfers," Irvine said. "But I'm really excited to be coming to Salt Lake. I've been putting in ticket requests right and left for the past couple of weeks."

Irvine's parents and siblings live in the area, along with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. His immediate family has seen him skate in shows in New York and Washington, D.C., but this will mark the first time his grandparents have been able to see him perform in a Feld production.

"And it's a production that I'm proud to be associated with," he said. "It's really a lot of fun. They've tried to incorporate more audience participation in the show. For the finale, all of the characters shake hands with those near the side of the rink."

He added, "My dad has to take credit for the skating gene; he still likes to get out on the ice rink in Bountiful every once in a while. The first time I went skating was when I was about 5 years old. Dad took me to the Duck Club pond west of Bountiful and pulled me around on a sled. Then I got involved in Bountiful's 'learn-to-skate' program and got serious about skating when I was about 12," Irvine said.

Irvine graduated from Bountiful High School and attended the University of Utah for one year before joining the "Disney on Ice" shows. "I did some local competition and competed a little bit on the national circuit, but competition never appealed to me."

Irvine credits his longtime skating coach, Stewart Sturgeon — now affiliated with the Steiner complex at the U. — with teaching him how to perform his daredevil back-flips.

"He took me up to Sun Valley, and I got involved with the ice shows they do up there during the summer," Irvine explained. "That sparked my interest in performing, then Stewart connected me with Feld Entertainment."

The "75 Years of Disney Magic" production went into rehearsal two years ago in Lakeland, Fla., then played the East Coast during the first season. This season, the company spent six weeks in Mexico before its West Coast engagements, and Irvine said the show will head to Japan for the summer.

During his first year with Feld, Irvine was featured as a barrel-jumper in "Double Feature," which toured Europe for seven months. "That was a real eye-opener. Having grown up in Bountiful, I hadn't seen much of the world beyond the West Coast."

In the Feld shows, Irvine seems to have cut a niche for himself for his ability to execute spectacular maneuvers while wearing bulky costumes. The back-flipping Genie, for instance, requires a heavily padded costume. He tried practicing some of his routines without wearing the costume recently, and found that they are easier when he has the costume on.

"I also tried to work some of my back-flips into the Geppetto role, but that doesn't work for him," noted Irvine. "He's elderly, and we have to keep him low-key."

PERFORMANCES AND TICKETS — Ticket prices range from $9.75 to $25.75 for most performances. All seats on opening night (March 14) are $5 less. Children 11 and under can save $3 on tickets for selected performances.

Performances are 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, March 14 and 15; 4 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 16; 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 17; and 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 18.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Delta Center box office, through all Ticketmaster outlets (Fred Meyer stores and Graywhale CD stores) or by calling 325-SEAT. For group rates, call 325-2548.