Celebration on Ice, Drury Lane Theatre Evergreen Park. An era is ending. This eclectic extravaganza on ice is the swan song for Tony De Santis’s Evergreen Park theater, with its Martinique restaurant. The show is perfect for that, a collection of flag-waving, crowd-pleasing variety acts characteristic of the warmly kitschy fare that for years has attracted loyal (and increasingly elderly) south-suburban entertainment seekers. Nor is the loss confined to scores of chandeliers, 1950s flagstone walls, a pool of Japanese carp, marble stairs, and smoky, burnished wood paneling–all about to be demolished to make room for a Wal-Mart. The space has been a celebrity mecca as well as home to Marc Robin’s classy musical revues.
Like other confections by producers John R. Lazzara and Richard Porter, Celebration on Ice is showbiz oriented, featuring tributes to the Blues Brothers, Rosemary Clooney, and Donald O’Connor by champion ice skaters on a stage that seems too small for their perilous lifts, leaps, and flips. Also appearing is impersonator Frank Pisani, performing indistinguishable Tony Bennett and Dean Martin imitations and channeling a heartfelt Louis Armstrong and a Jimmy Durante with schnoz and soul. We’ll not see the likes of “circus boy” Bobby Hunt on this stage again, riding the world’s smallest bicycle, juggling knives from his unicycle, and delighting the crowd with his self-effacing put-downs. Even the tacky “Monster Mash” tribute is part of a scene that could not be more inimitable. It all dies on January 11, so see this vaudeville before it’s over–forever.