Cedar Point 2011 – Live Shows (Review) Updated

Good News, Bad News…and another summer of live shows at Cedar Point

First the Good News: Tropical Heat, Island Beat is back at the Red Garter Saloon, and it’s as ridiculously entertaining as last year. Infused with Island-beat pop rock standards, the cast delivers 25 minutes of energetic, fun music with the best selection of songs at the Point. Grab a drink, enjoy the show, and see what the raves were about (including my own) from last season. This year’s cast brings its own charisma to the show.

Next, more Good News: What a difference a year makes. Grand Ole Country at The Palace Theatre is the show they tried to stage last year, but found undone by the uneven casting. This year, the attractive ensemble cast is terrific, and every performer can not only sing well, but also do the difficult choreography, and do so with a smile on their faces. It’s a whole new creature, and it’s highly recommended this year. Granted, you better like your classic country music, ’cause it’s all about the foot-stomping, clap-along, “know how to hold ’em” variety here.  My one complaint — just like last year, the pre-recorded score is cranked up way too loud for the singers, who at times struggle to be heard over the soundtrack. It looks something like this:

Rockin’ The Point, at the Jack Aldrich, replaces last season’s one-year disaster, Rock Band Live. Thank goodness. This returns the show back to it’s musical theater roots, with a variety of students from around the region performing a 30-minute homage to rock music, from the 50’s to the 80’s. The talent varies from good to very good, and it’s a welcome return-to-form for the standard Broadway-style-review. The show is upbeat, the cast clearly enjoying themselves, and a good way to end your day at the park. The sound inside this theater is uneven. Depending on where you sit, it can be just right, too loud, too echo-y, or too soft. I suggest getting there early and sitting toward the middle to middle rear of the house.

Everybody Loves Snoopy is back at the Goodtime Theater (the old Imax theater) and it is virtually identical to last years show, with the same cast basically intact. That’s good news because it brings back the excellent brother-sister team of Neill and Lara Shelton, with some of the supporting cast also showing improved strength and a few new tricks this year. But the show itself is virtually identical, complete with 7 costume changes and multiple sets. The general consensus on the way out of the theater was “this is the best show I have ever seen in a theme park” and outside of Disney Shows, I would second that.

And now, the Bad News….I have never been a fan of All Wheels Extreme in any of its incarnations, and this year’s is even a bigger mess. It’s loud, chaotic, and everything you see here is done better, faster, and more cleanly on weekend Extreme Sports tv shows — you know, the ones they run in the middle of the afternoon on Saturdays because even the studio sports departments know that nobody watches this stuff. That is not to say that this cast is not athletic, and that they don’t know their craft. The bimbos are back to cheer, clap, and generally serve as obstacles for the stunt performers to swerve around and increase Cedar Fair’s insurance premiums. I suppose if you are a very drunk father of a group of  7-year old boys who insist on seeing this show, they probably serve to make this 25 minutes more tolerable. It’s chaotic, and the direction is poor — you don’t know where to look for half of the production, and the tumbling and bike-riding is well done but overall one-note.

This year one of the bimbos does this:

One of the tumblers does this:


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