Philadelphia-area Wildcat fans can get their heads back in the game this weekend because High School Musical: The Ice Tour, based on the Disney phenomena

High School Musical


High School Musical 2,

will stop at the Wachovia Center this week.

And with 15 shows through Jan. 6, there's plenty of school spirit to go around.

Although the original cast members from the two movies directed by award-winning director and choreographer Kenny Ortega won't be there to grace the ice, Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Ryan and the other characters that kids, teenagers, and grown-ups have fallen in love with will perform.

Produced by Kenneth Feld and Nicole Feld and led by director Jeff Calhoun, an East Coast cast of more than 30 professional ice skaters will act and sing songs such as "Start of Something New" and "Bop to the Top."

In a two-part show that combines the original movie and its sequel, the popular Wildcat who dons jersey No. 14 and the rest of the students of East High will battle over the labels that define them and the people they want to be.

"It worked out really well, dividing the two shows, because we really had the opportunity to build relationships, and it takes the audience on an emotional journey," said Nicole Feld.

That journey evolves through such scenes as one staged in a school cafeteria where the students sing "Stick to the Status Quo" and a baseball sequence when the skaters feature "I Don't Dance," which happens to be Emmy Award-winning choreographer Chucky Klapow's favorite scene.

Klapow, whose choreography can be seen in High School Musical, High School Musical 2, The Cheetah Girls 2, and now in High School Musical: The Ice Tour, said that the scene was also his most difficult to choreograph. "That baseball number was really hard to re-create because in the movie you can cut between the characters having props and not having them. On ice, you have to figure out where to put them," said Klapow, referring to the use of gloves and bats.

Klapow, who learned how to ice skate to work on the show, taught more than 100 skaters at a time how to translate his dance moves from the movies to the ice.

One of those skaters was Brad Santer, 25, of Sydney, Australia, who, after playing one of the leading roles as Prince Phillip in Disney's Princesses on Ice, landed the lead role of Troy Bolton in the East Coast cast in April 2007.

"After seeing the movie, Troy is the character I related to the most because I was sometimes torn between my love of skating and school while growing up. They assumed everyone had seen the movie, so I went out there with Troy's youthful energy and, as luck would have it, that's my usual skating style," said Santer.

That energy was definitely felt by Morgan Fassano, 8, of Bensalem, who sat in the full stadium at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton for the show's preview on Nov. 7.

"The High School Musical ice show was better than the movies and the play. It was awesome because of the way they did parts that weren't in the real movie, too," said Morgan, who sports a High School Musical backpack to school and has a collection of HSM memorabilia at home.

With constant skating, dancing, and all the High School Musical numbers kids can't help reciting, not to mention a few surprises along the way, High School Musical: The Ice Tour is a local can't-miss this holiday season. Warning: some adult audience members may catch themselves singing "We're All in This Together" aloud at work the following morning.

If You Go

High School Musical: The Ice Tour is presented today to Jan. 6 at the Wachovia Center, 3601 S. Broad St. Tickets: $13-$78. Information: 215-336-3600, Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 1-800-298-4200. Show times: 7 tonight; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday; 1 and 5 p.m. Tuesday; 7 p.m. Thursday; 7 p.m. Jan. 4; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Jan. 5; and 1 and 5 p.m. Jan. 6.