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Cedar Point Live Entertainment 2014 June 1, 2014

Posted by ronannarbor in Cedar Point.
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Cedar Point’s summer season is off to a good start — with one of its best Live shows in over a decade: Lusty Lil’s at the Palace in Frontiertown scores points for the best entertainment CP has seen in years.

Following the “Wild West” theme, while using almost no older music and mostly pop and Broadway tunes, the show is funny, well directed, well choreographed, and very well presented by its cast that come from across the country. Also adding to the fun is a colorful versatile set, and some great costumes. Its harmless for the entire family, and there isn’t much in the way of anything “lusty” at all…true to its opening number from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’s “Nothing Dirty Going On”. Throw in some can-can, soft-shoe, barbershop quartet, and a nifty turn on “Favorite Son” from The Will Rogers Follies and its clear that someone smart and musical theater savvy is at the helm. Running a swift 30 minutes, the production features a live pianist and percussionist that play to a recorded track of other instruments. Be sure to stop by The Palace for a fun family show that you will truly say, “wow, I had no idea they did things like this at CP”…Here’s a glimpse:

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Down the Frontier Trail, Rockin’ Country is the newest show at the Red Garter Saloon. Its a mish-mash of country pop tunes, none of which are memorable nor would you have ever heard them unless you listen to exclusively country stations. The cast here is excellent, with a great guitarist, percussionist, and gitfiddle player that play live to a recorded track. Vocals are strong, and they are at their best when the track drops out every now and again so you can actually hear them. The problem here, as has been the past three summers, is the horrendous sound system — the track is far too loud, causing the live musicians to play even louder, and leaving the vocalists shouting to be heard — the result, the vocals are incomprehensible mush…all of which could be solved with proper sound levels. But they are definitely going for the “loud rock sound” here, and its a failure. You’ll leave the teensy Red Garter with your ears ringing. It bears repeating that the cast here is very strong, its too bad they are handed such poor sound equipment to work with. Here’s a glimpse of what’s going on there:

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At the Aquatic Stadium, Extreme Wheels returns again in a show that is nothing but crowd pleasing, but basically the same thing they do every summer: the stunts look great, the cast is enthusiastic, and the music selections are upbeat and fun. I admire the physicality of these folks…I just wonder how much longer until this attraction is gone. Its rumored that entire area is due for the next big CP facelift, and that will virtually guarantee this stadium will be gone a few seasons down the road. It looks like this:

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On Broadway has opened late afternoon performances at the front of the park (same show as last year). It suffers  bit from over-amplifiction issues this season, but the college cast is strong and it remains a solid offering which for many park goes on the way to the front of the park will end their day.

The brand new ice skating show Snoopy Unleashed (with a strangely phallic logo) is a series of a half dozen or so “scenes” in which live skaters join Snoopy for some ice skating fun. The cast is strong, and the choreography here is particularly good in small-group (5 or 6) skater units — the footwork is good, and the charisma is excellent. Lacking a strong pairs skating team (the featured pair is adequate but not Shelton siblings from a few years ago) its none-the-less a solid and very professionally presented production. Audience favorite Trey Ayers performs several energetic routines.  Its a fun show, beautifully designed, lit, and costumed and you and your wee ones will have fun together.

Also back this year with all new songs (and flying stunts) is the end-of-the-day park celebration “Luminosity” with all new songs and a huge high-energy cast, lots of flame, lasers, and fireworks. Not everything works (A strange chinese-dragon type roller coaster for example) but overall its a superb way to wrap up your day at Cedar Point — and stay and dance awhile with the cast. Great fun.

Be sure to take some time off from Coaster riding to enjoy one of Cedar Point’s fine live entertainment productions. There are also many times during the day that special theatrical offerings are presented for the tiny tot set featuring Peanuts characters – both in Camp Snoopy on the Gemini midway, as well as on the Luminosity stage. These are very well done, and include plenty of mingling/photo time afterwards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cedar Point Live Shows 2013 (Review) June 18, 2013

Posted by ronannarbor in Cedar Point, Entertainment, Uncategorized.
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Another summer of live shows is in full swing at Cedar Point, and it continues to offer the best overall live-park show entertainment outside of Walt Disney World’s theme parks. This year’s offerings are no exception.

Summer Daze at the Palace Theater in Frontiertown offers a front-of-the-park quality show at the back-of-the-park. This is the second year in a row for this super entertaining production that mixes in “summer vacation song” type numbers from Katy Perry to Broadway (kudos to whomever picked great songs from Pump Boys and Dinettes and Ragtime). This year’s cast is very talented and works well together. Musicianship, talent, and chemistry are at work here. The guys in particular dance much better than last year. This is a great place to grab lunch while watching the show, and the food options are much improved.

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At the front of the park, the new “On Broadway” mixes-up a lot of Broadway standards in an awards-show format. The cast is strong, and they are given good material to work with here. Its the strongest front-of-park show at the Jack Aldrich Theater in many years. The production makes very few missteps and stars a fresh young cast of nationwide musical theater students in a production that includes songs from old favorites (Hairspray, Les Miz, and Chicago) while liberally sprinkling in lesser known tunes from My Favorite Year, and lesser songs from Jukebox musicals including Million Dollar Quartet and Jersey Boys (though that segment is a bit generic). The “You Can’t Stop the Beat” Hairspray finale is particularly well done. A costume parade is terrific here with instantly recognizable costumes from Broadway musicals (though the My Fair Lady costume represents the movie, not the stage version). Be sure to stop off and end your day with this production as it runs in the late afternoon early evening only.

There’s a fantastic cast in the Frontier Trail’s Red Garter Saloon at “Absolute Country” — its a shame you can’t make out a single word of what they are singing in the highly over-amplified poorly sound-designed ear splitting production. The kids are terrific — and they work very hard to shout their songs out over the high-volume semi-tracked (with live accompaniment) production. For country lovers, you will probably recognize most of these honky-tonk style pop country standards, but if you didn’t already know them, you wouldn’t understand a word of what you are hearing in this mic-mush production. This is also a return show, and it suffered the same mic-problems last season. While I would like to blame it on the accoustics in the theater I can’t — in the old days, performers did their show here WITHOUT any mics, and they were able to be heard by all. The problem here is the sound design.

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All Wheels Extreme at the Aquatic Stadium offers its finest show to date. Gone are the old pander-to-the-guys-with-cheerleading-bimbos production values, and instead you now get a 25 minutes of purely stunt-driven high energy production with bikes, scooters, gymnastics, roller skates and a few surprises thrown in. All performed to high-energy summer hip hop and rock tunes, its a fun (and remarkably athletic) production that you shouldn’t miss. But kids, don’t try these stunts at home. Regular watchers of America’s Got Talent will recognize some of the folks in this group from last summer’s tv show. Note that this production is outdoors and is weather dependent. Also, do not sit along the “bird bombardment zone” (the second and third row around the seating area) where even after all these years CP hasn’t figured out how to eliminate the seagull droppings as they perch on the roof around the rim of the theater.

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Also returning for another season at the Goodtime Theater is “Happiness Is…Snoopy” ice-skating show. This is the Point’s biggest indoor production with multiple set, costume, and lighting effects. Family friendly to a fault, the show is much improved over last summer’s offering, and the skating stronger overall. Half of the cast returns from last season, while a few newcomers help make things feel fresh and different. Don’t bypass this production, as much as they go out of their way to make it seem like its another Peanuts-pandering kids show…it is not. You’ll be impressed by the skating, and dazzled by the excellent stage design for this full-out ice show.

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Luminosity (version 2.0 this year) returns to the Iron Dragon midway, and its a better show than last year. The song selection is better, and the singers stronger. The lighting is updated and the effects look great, and its a great way to end your day at the Point (the show starts at 9:30 and runs about 40 minutes, followed by dancing on the midway to a live DJ that rises from the stage). More people hung out to dance after the show this year, and the better placement (and expansion) of the bar-area behind the light booth certainly helps with the late night energy. You’ll recognize some of the folks you saw in other shows during the day as well. This is a much-needed improvement over the old laser lighting show, and it really sends you out of the park (or back to the resorts) in a great mood. Note that this production is dependent on the weather.

There are several other smaller productions geared toward the kiddees (all themed to Snoopy and the Peanuts gang) throughout the day. The peanuts characters make frequent appearances in Camp Snoopy, and they are more than amenable to taking photos with adults as well. Overall, this is a very strong season of live entertainment at Cedar Point — be sure to take some time out of your coaster-riding day to sit down and enjoy some of the great performers.

Goodbye Disaster Transport (Avalanche Run) Cedar Point 2012 July 27, 2012

Posted by ronannarbor in Cedar Point, Entertainment, Travel.
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It’s been a long time coming — and Disaster Transport (nee Avalanche Run) will offer its last toboggan run on Sunday July 29th. The ride is slated for demolition (along with Space Spiral a few weeks later) to make room for next season’s new B&M-manufactured wing coaster.

Built in 1985, Avalanche Run opened with great fanfare along with a handful of the toboggan coasters opening across the country.

Seen here outdoors, it was a fast favorite of fans, despite its low thrill factor, with very long wait times and slow load times. A few years later in 1990, Lake Erie, sand, and the elements were beginning to have their way with the track. Throwing good money after bad (most parks that installed the toboggan coasters removed them within a few years because of the extraordinary  and expensive maintenance required on them vs the low interest/thrill factor) Cedar Point enclosed it in a large warehouse type structure; themed it to outerspace transport gone amok, and Disaster Transport was rebranded.

Known mostly as the coaster you road when it was really hot outside; Cedar Fair did little in the way of maintenance. As lighting and effects wore out, they were simply abandoned. The queue line was shortened to its current lackluster state. Over the years paint, lights, animatronics, and other effects were simply afterthoughts and most current riders don’t even know what it looked like in the early 90’s since most of the effects have been gone for 15 years.

There are plenty of other blogsites that carefully discuss the history and the effects in the ride — so I will leave that to them, and to your Google search.But I will leave this for last, a photo of Disaster Transport taken from the Skyride with Space Spiral in front of it. I had a final ride on Disaster Transport/Avalanche Run yesterday — and for all those many years of lackluster (but fun and air conditioned) rides, I salute you. Goodbye Disaster Transport.