This past Friday night, I took my DD7, her best friend, her best friend's sister, and their mom and dad to see the very first live performance of High School Musical on Ice. Both girls are huge fans of both movies and sing and dance to them nonstop. I wasn't sure what to expect since it was the very first show (at Tampa's St. Pete Times Forum at 7:30 PM), but I was pleasantly surprised. My DD's birthday was last month and we had a family party for her, but didn't really do any big gifts from mom and dad. I figured we could do something special just the two of us, so when my DH's HR Dept. sent out an email offering tickets to the ice show for $28, I went ahead and talked with the best friend's mom and we decided to treat the girls as a surprise. It was hard keeping it a secret, but they had no clue. The other mom is in a wheelchair (born with spina bifida, has 3 adopted kids, wonderful woman), so I requested wheelchair accessible seating and set the date on the calendar. My DD and I left the house around 5:30 PM since I had to pick up the tickets at Will Call. She was a little confused when we passed Chuck E. Cheese (that's where she thought we were going) and got on the Crosstown Expressway. I told her we were going somewhere special and she would find out soon. When we pulled up to the St. Pete Times Forum, I pointed out the big banner on the side of the building advertising HSM on Ice and asked her if she'd like to go. She screamed and bounced up and down - I guess it was a good call! We parked the car and went to the box office to pick up the tickets - Little scare when they couldn't find them, but they were in a separate box with the group ticket orders. Whew! We still had a while before the others were to arrive, so DD7 played in the inflatable obstacle course set up outside and got used to using the binoculars we had brought. About 7 PM, her best friend showed up and they started screaming and bouncing up and down together! We all headed to the disabled entrance (elevator) to go to our seats. When we got in the elevator, the usher looked at our tickets and said they weren't for wheelchair accessible seats. Grrr! We had to go to Guest Services and exchange them, which luckily only took about 10 minutes. Great service and easy process. We then all headed to our seats, which were in a box with chairs to sit in and an area for the wheelchairs. We were joined by a mom with two girls about 10 years old in wheelchairs who were wonderful and went to get some snacks before the show. Tip - Wait until you get inside to see all the merchandise that's available rather than jumping at the limited stuff outside. They were selling a megaphone for $8 outside that my DD really wanted, but we waited until we got inside and got one with a huge bag of popcorn for the same $8. There were also popcorn buckets and various drink cups filled with snowcones and lemonade. Not a bad deal to get a drink and a souvenier at the same time! Also, if you can wait until after most of the crowd has left, take a walk and see if anyone left anything behind - We found a sipper cup (went straight in the dishwasher when we got home) and a popcorn bucket (just the bucket, no popcorn - That would be YUCK!). $18 worth of free souveniers - I don't know why anyone would leave them behind, but their loss was our gain! Well, we settled into our seats and got ready for the show. Our box was at the far end of the Forum, about as far away as you could get, but in a straight line view of the ice. We had the binoculars to use to get close up looks at the skaters, but honestly, I was glad that we were far enough away that we couldn't see their faces. While they definitely fit the skin tones and general height/body shapes of the movie casts, they didn't look anything like them. I would have been distracted by that if we were sitting closer. From far away, you could still "imagine" that it was the actual cast from the movies. Plus, a side or up close view wouldn't have allowed us to see the whole stage. The seats were pretty good - Especially considering I only spent $28 each on them! The show started and the music was LOUD! But, it was nothing compared to the nonstop screaming and yelling from all the kids. After a while, you just got used to it. They introduced all the characters and then began the retelling of HSM. Basically, each "movie" takes about an hour. A pre-recorded soundtrack plays with the original songs/singers from the movie with additional narrations added here and there. Mainly, the girl who played Kelsi did most of the talking outside of the actual script. The set was really creative, with a platform for skaters to climb stairs up and down and also an elevator to use. They brought out all kinds of props, including a basketball hoop (I cannot imagine how difficult it is to skate and dribble a basketball at the same time, but they did it), lockers, and a ladder. The segment featuring the Scholastic Decathalon, the basketball championship, and "Bop to the Top" was especially clever, with all three going on simultaneously. The choreography was pretty close to what they do in the movies, with added skate moves. They had passed out signs for the kids to hold up with all different sayings on them. Ours said "We're all in this together" and for the 2nd movie, "Fab u lus." They broke for intermission (about 15 minutes) and then came back to start the 2nd movie. It was lots of fun as well and again, the dance moves matched what you see onscreen. Neat things they did were pulling the "Sharpettes" around on beach floats during "Fabulus" (I hate misspelling that, but that's what Sharpay's car says!), using all the kitchen props (pots and pans) for "Work it Out" and even having Sharpay and Ryan drive around in a little pink car. The choreography to "I Don't Dance" was great - Of course, it's my favorite song from HSM, so I'm a little biased ... When Troy gets the fancy clothes to change into (the Sharpettes help him in the ice show), his shirt is ripped off and the screaming was deafening. While the guy playing Troy wasn't exactly Zac Efron, he wasn't too hard on the eyes, either. The 2nd movie ended with sparklers/pyro effects and a full cast bow. It was a great show and a wonderful night to share with my daughter. The only "oops" was when one of the Sharpettes fell during the final dance number, "All for One." Other than that, the skating was perfect (to my novice eye). It was a great mix of spins, jumps, and even some partner skating and the dance moves from the movie. Kids all over the Forum were dancing and singing (including a lot of the moms!). If you have any specific questions, I'd be glad to try to answer them. We didn't take any pictures because they had said no recording devices, but we probably could have since I saw other people taking them. However, I did enjoy watching the show "full screen" rather than through my digital camera's little 2.5" screen. If you are going to one of the shows in your town, be prepared for lots of screaming, singing, and dancing. All in all, it was a great production and a super adaption of the movies onto the ice. Yeah!