Long Island's competitive figure skaters perform at Gateway's Holiday Spectacular...

Long Island's competitive figure skaters perform at Gateway's Holiday Spectacular on Ice at the Patchogue Theatre. Credit: Gateway’s Holiday Spectacular on Ice

Ilana Sedaka finds it easy to keep her cool on the ice.

The 15-year-old Great Neck native has been skating since age 5 in her hometown and, more recently, competitively.

Sedaka earned a gold medal in the 2016 National Solo Dance Ice Competition, where she faced off against a few hundred other skaters in a monthslong contest.

Over the past two weeks, she has been preparing for another role — also on the ice — and one with which she is familiar.

Sedaka returns to her roots in Gateway’s Holiday Spectacular on Ice at Patchogue Theatre, reprising her role as Clara from “The Nutcracker,” whom she portrayed in the 2009 production.

Gateway’s Holiday Spectacular on Ice is a celebration of family through song, music and dance — brought to life by 12 world-class skaters and 25 child singers from the Gateway Performing Arts School. This year, there will even be appearances by canines, with help from Jenny Vidbel, a third-generation circus performer and animal trainer.

“I was kind of teary-eyed when I first heard the song ‘My Grown Up Christmas List,’ ” says Sedaka, a Great Neck North High School sophomore. “I remember watching the older skaters seven years ago when I starred as young Clara. This scene was very bittersweet.”

The song features prominently in a scene from the Gateway production where Sedaka — in her portrayal of adult Clara — looks back on her younger self.


“It’s an opportunity to meet old friends like Clara and her nutcracker, snowmen and the elves and Santa and his reindeer,” says Scot Allan, Gateway’s director of development and public relations. “It’s a magical journey celebrating the holidays.”

Gateway’s Holiday Spectacular on Ice debuted in 1997 at the company’s theater in Bellport before going on tour. It was presented at Patchogue Theatre in 2004 and 2009.

The show’s themes of family, love and honoring the traditions of the holidays have resonated with sold-out crowds since its inception, Allan says.

Headlining the 2016 production are championship figure skaters Ricky Dornbush, who has represented the United States in national competitions since 2010, and Rohene Ward, the current United States Open Champion and 2015 choreographer of the year.

Skating, Allan says, is something that audiences have embraced as a competitive sport and simply as a means of entertainment. This influenced Gateway to have the Holiday Spectacular on Ice make a revival.

“We really want to appeal to everyone,” Allan says. “We want people to feel like they can come with their entire families or on a date.”

Gateway’s Holiday Spectacular on Ice

WHEN | WHERE Through Jan. 1, Patchogue Theatre, 71 E. Main St.

INFO 631-286-1133, thegateway.org

TICKETS $29.50-$89 (half-price for children ages 5-9)


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