Disney packs more magic with latest ice show

03/07/2013 2:34 PM

03/07/2013 6:33 PM

If Cinderella had grown up in Canada during the Internet age, she might look and sound a lot like Kate Gauthier.

Gauthier, 24, plays the famous princess and two other characters in “Disney on Ice Celebrates 100 Years of Magic,” which runs Thursday through March 17 at Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena.

In the show, Gauthier is a graceful, glamorous figure. In a video posted on YouTube and titled “Kate Gauthier Demo Reel,” she has a little fun mugging for the camera in addition to showing off her skating skills.

“I’m a bit of a goofball,” she said by telephone from Quebec City, where the show opened Wednesday. “I wanted to showcase my personality a little in that video. I just love skating. That’s what it ultimately comes down to.”

Gauthier grew up near Calgary in western Canada. After competing at the national level in figure skating, she sent an audition tape to Feld Entertainment, producer of the “Disney on Ice” shows, and was hired at age 19. Her first role came in the “Disney on Ice” version of “High School Musical.”

In the current production, she said, “You’ve got over 65 characters from 18 stories. You’ll be able to see re-enactments of some of our favorite films – like ‘Aladdin’ – and a lot of the princess stories, like ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Snow White.’ There’s a great ‘Nemo’ segment, as well. There’s a lot of variety out there. It’s complemented by a beautiful background of a castle and really accurate costumes that really do justice to the characters.”

The skating ranges from classic figure skating routines to back flips and other show tricks.

Gauthier fills the skates of three characters: Cinderella, the Blue Fairy (from “Pinocchio”) and Mrs. Incredible.

“It’s great to skate three completely different roles,” she said. “Cinderella is such a classic. The Blue Fairy (role) is just graceful, pure skating; that’s my personal favorite. Then Mrs. Incredible is just super snazzy and dynamic. It’s fun to be a superhero.”

Gauthier said she grew up going to “Disney on Ice” shows.

“I remember wanting to emulate those girls,” Gauthier said. “It’s cool that it’s come full circle. Little boys come to the show, too.”

Gauthier said she hopes to become an actress when she hangs up her skates. Although her current job is short on dialogue, she said it’s preparing her in a way.

“Everyone holds these characters so dear to their hearts, you really want to do a good job of it, do them justice and make them believable for everyone.”

The traveling Disney show brings a Wichita native back to his hometown, although his work is done backstage.

Head props man Dustin Streight, 27, is a Wichita West High School graduate who hooked up with Feld Entertainment through his connections at Wichita Ice Center, where his family skated and worked for years.

“A couple of skaters had auditions (for Feld) at the rink,” he said. “I was like, ‘Hey, are you hiring? What would it take to get on the road?’ ”

That was six years ago. “Disney on Ice” has taken Streight around the United States and Canada and to Europe, the Caribbean and South America. A tour of the Middle East is next.

Streight heads a five-person crew that takes care of all the props in the show, from genie lamps to magical slippers.

“Anything you see that moves out there on the ice is what I’m in charge of,” he said.

The props crew works closely with the skaters, he said.

“We interact with them constantly,” he said. “We run around pushing props or dragging props into place. We take it up to the curtain, then the skaters push it out onto the ice.”

He’s also in charge of loading the production’s trucks before they head to the next venue.

Like Gauthier, Streight hopes to stay in the entertainment business, perhaps moving into film or television. But for now, he said, “I really enjoy the live aspect of what we do here.”

The show at Intrust is his first visit to Wichita with Disney.

“I have a ton of people coming,” he said. “They’re all very excited.”

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