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'Toy Story 3' ice show: Good Buzz at the Coliseum

Jessie, Woody and Buzz put on some smooth

Jessie, Woody and Buzz put on some smooth moves in "Disney on Ice: Toy Story 3," coming to Nassau Coliseum for six days. Photo Credit: Handout

Buzz Lightyear may be an action figure, but even he sometimes tumbles when he's ice skating. After all, ice is slippery.

On the rare times Buzz takes a spill during a "Disney on Ice: Toy Story 3" performance, he asks that the audience laugh with him instead of gasping. He'll look up at the crowd with a "Whoops!" expression. "If you don't get mad and play it off, the audience laughs along with you as well. It's not this horrible thing," Robbie Harrison says.

Harrison is the 21-year-old skater from British Columbia who will play Buzz when the production comes to Nassau Coliseum for 11 shows beginning Tuesday. Tickets are on sale now.

BUZZ IS THE FAVORITE

Buzz is definitely the character the kids love best, Harrison says. They'll yell to him, "Hey, Buzz, over here!" hoping he'll acknowledge them. Harrison says he's encouraged to interact with the audience. His job entails being an actor as well as a skater; he's studied the "Toy Story" movies so he can make sure he gets Buzz's stances right and fully convinces the kids he's their hero. "It comes with a lot of responsibility," he says of the role. "You feel like you have to do a really good job for the kids."

Harrison's favorite scene in the show, which is one hour and 50 minutes long with a 15-minute intermission, comes during the first of the two acts. In Act 1, the characters have flashbacks to adventures from "Toy Story 1" and "2." While Disney on Ice has addressed the first two "Toy Story" movies in the past, this show has all-new material. Buzz has a solo in which he's chased by his archenemy, the Evil Emperor Zurg. "Buzz has this great entrance, and I do my solo with all my technical tricks," Harrison says. "It's a really cool number, with all the lighting and everything."

Harrison also likes the green Army men scene, in which Sarge and the soldiers do a drill. "There's lots of precision movements," Harrison says.

NEW SPECIAL EFFECTS

The show uses new special effects that Disney on Ice hasn't employed before, says director Patty Vincent: video projections onto the ice. For instance, during Act 2, which focuses on "Toy Store 3," the Ken doll and Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear lead the way through the Sunnyside Daycare Center. To help illustrate their journey from the "butterfly room" into the "caterpillar room," butterflies are projected onto the ice, followed by caterpillars. "Our strongest canvas is the ice itself, because it's a hard white surface," Vincent says.

And when Buzz fights aliens on the ice, the use of ultraviolet lighting makes it look like the aliens are floating instead of skating, Vincent says.

OTHER CROWD-PLEASERS

Buzz isn't the only star of the show. This is Disney, so of course, Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy open the festivities. Another scene features 16 workout Barbie dolls. "The crowd loves them," Vincent says.

Cowgirl Jessie also gets her time in the spotlight, urging the audience to get up on their feet and join in during a performance of the Miley Cyrus song "Hoedown Throwdown," teaching everyone the moves. "I get to see the little kids and parents and grandparents dancing along," says 19-year-old Buffalo resident Taylor Firth, who plays Jessie. "It really is great."

WHAT: "Disney on Ice: Toy Story 3"

WHEN | WHERE: 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 12; 11 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m. Nov. 13 and 14 at Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Tpke., East Garden City

INFO: $80, $55, $32.50, $27.50 and $20; Disney on Ice is partnering with the Marine Corps "Toys For Tots" program. Donation boxes will be set up at the venue to accept new, unwrapped toys from those who wish to donate at the show; 516-794-9300, 800-745- 3000, ticketmaster.com; disneyonice.com.

Plan ahead

If you miss the November shows, Disney on Ice returns to the Coliseum for eight "Princess Wishes" shows in January. That production features seven Disney princesses: Arielle, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Mulan and Snow White. Shows run Jan. 6 to 9, and ticket prices range from $23 to $83. Tickets go on sale Nov. 28.

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