Disney On Ice director living childhood dreams
By John Benson
As a child growing up in Toronto, Patty Vincent has vivid memories of traveling in the family car and taking a three-day drive to visit the Magic Kingdom in Orlando.
Today, the go-to director for Disney On Ice productions said she often taps into those emotions every time there’s a brand-new skating show.
“I think of the first time I ever saw Mickey Mouse or went onto a ride or saw a parade,” said Vincent, calling from Los Angeles. “Those are firsts, and people experience firsts in life all of the time. That’s what keeps it magical for me to keep it fresh and new. We know we need to make it special. And it’s a dream come true for me. I feel like I get to live that dream with these characters on the ice.”
Originally, Vincent’s dream was that of an amateur skater. In the ’80s and ’90s, she won the Western Division for Junior Pair Dance and gold medals in free skate, free dance and dance from the Canadian Figure Skating Association. Then the ice-skating veteran hung up her skates in 1992 and turned her experience and insight into a rewarding career behind the scenes.
To date, Vincent has helmed popular tours such as “Finding Nemo,” “Princess Wishes,” “Let’s Celebrate!,” “Toy Story 3,” “Dare to Dream” and “Playhouse Disney Live.” The latest show is Disney On Ice’s “Treasure Trove,” which visits Youngstown next Thursday through Dec. 16 at Covelli Center.
In a nutshell, the production is a magical medley that commemorates the legacy of Disney animated films.
“Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy take us on a treasure hunt,” Vincent said. “With this show, we wanted to have the classic stories but also to take a look at more contemporary stories. We thought ‘Alice in Wonderland’ hadn’t been done in a long time, and we wanted to make that different. So we have this really cool production number of the Army of Cards.”
Whereas most Disney On Ice productions are tailored around a certain animated feature-film story line, “Treasure Trove” delivers what its title promises. Audiences will experience one familiar character after another. They’ll set sail with Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and Captain Hook in Never Land. The next moment, they’ll be in the wilds of Africa with Simba, Nala, Pumbaa and Timon as they discover the true meaning of the “Circle of Life.”
Changing things up a bit, Rapunzel and Flynn appear along with favorite Disney princesses Tiana, Cinderella, Jasmine, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Mulan and Snow White.
Vincent said the production values of “Treasure Trove” are pretty amazing. One second you’ll be watching Captain Hook’s boat, and the next there will be a beautiful castle.
“It goes from one story to the next; we’re never in one place too long,” Vincent said. “We really want to show the highlights of the production, the characters and the story, so we tell a lot. There’s just a huge variety, which was fun to direct, put together and create. It really takes the audience on a wonderful journey.”