A funny thing happened Saturday in San Pedro. In the middle of a Princess Cruises event on board the Crown Princess to introduce its new entertainment, a Love Boat reunion broke out.
Princess had gathered local media and theater stalwarts, including Joanne Worley and Cathy Rigby, to see the premiere of Magic to Do, an original show created by Stephen Schwartz and employing music from his hit musicals, such as Wicked and Pippin. And, as the title should tell you, there was also magic.
The performance had just started, with a large, talented cast singing, dancing and prestidigitating their hearts out, when the ship's power went out.
The Crown Princess's cruise director took the stage, apologizing for the unexpected interruption to the show. Fortunately, he was holding an adorable baby, who charmed the patient crowd. Then he was joined by game-for-anything Worley, who entertained with her hilariously modified version of the song “Memory” (from Cats), featuring lyrics such as “What the hell did I come in this room for?”
That was followed by original Love Boat cast members Jill Whelan (
cruise director JulieVicki Stubing), Ted Lange (bartender Isaac), Bernie Kopell (Doc) and Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing himself). The audience was enthralled for about half an hour as the TV stars told stories about the Love Boat days and joked about being old(er). MacLeod relayed an anecdote centered on the Rose Parade and the long time away from a bathroom that riding on a float entails. Whelan was definitely the cruise director here, making sure everyone got a chance to talk and keeping things moving.
Eventually the power was restored and the show went off without a hitch. Magic to Do is the first of four Schwartz-created “entertainments” that will be exclusive to the Princess ships. It cleverly stages well-known songs such as Wicked's “Popular” and “Defying Gravity,” Godspell's “Day by Day” and Pippin's “No Time at All” with puppetry, illusions and magic tricks, creating an entertaining hybrid that should please the whole family.
Magic to Do is currently playing on the Crown Princess and debuts in late fall on two other ships, Ruby Princess and Emerald Princess.
The contributors are a Broadway who's-who: director Gabriel Barre (Broadway musical Amazing Grace); Emmy winner Jeremy Railton (2002 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies); Tony-winning lighting designer Ken Billington (Sweeney Todd, Chicago); Don Frantz, associate producer of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast; music director Mark Hartman (Avenue Q, national tour of Pippin); choreographer Jennifer Paulson-Lee (Seussical); art director Alex M. Calle (Galaxy Entertainment Macau, Crane Dance project in Singapore); costume designer Dominique Lemieux (Pippin on Broadway, Cirque du Soleil's Mystère); sound designer Danny Fiandaca (Come Fly Away); and, George Johnsen (Grammy- and Emmy-winning developer of entertainment technologies).
Creating the magic in Magic to Do was Jim Steinmeyer, who has worked with magicians including Doug Henning, Siegfried & Roy and David Copperfield.