Ice skating on a stage. Who would’ve thought?
Tonya and Nancy: The Rock Opera is one of the many musicals featured in the 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival. This specific musical took place at the PTV Performance Space and was completely packed. The story is about the 1994 Olympic Figure skating contestants Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, whose bitter rivalry made the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics into one of the most watched and most talked about sporting events in all of history. Tonya and Nancy were rivals ever since they began their lives in competitive figure skating and it wasn’t soon until that rivalry turned into a bitter feud. It isn’t until a mysterious man approaches Nancy in the famous “knee whack” incident where he essentially cripples Nancy for a short period of time just before the 1994 Olympics and soon after the media suspects Tonya to have some sort of involvement in this debacle. This musical follows the lives of both girls as they grew up and became figure skaters and their time during the 1994 Olympics as well as their lives after it.
Both Tracy McDowell as Tonya Harding and Jenna Leigh Green as Nancy Kerrigan performed their hearts out on the stage and really sold their characters. Even though it would seem hard to get some sort of depth behind these two main characters, the writing by Elizabeth Searle was spot on and was written in such a way where you felt bad for the two characters at the end after all the silly antics and competitiveness was over between the two. Tony LePage, who played Jeff Gillooly, has to be made note of for his alcohol induced performance and a rocker voice that just made sense. Also, Liz McCartney, who plays both the mom of Nancy and the mom of Tonya does a phenomenal job of playing such polar opposite characters.
And along with that, the singing of all the cast members was spectacular. Both Tonya and Nancy had their tones and were very recognizable from that. Tonya, being a very down and dirty character, had a little bit of a rocker tone to her vocal parts, and Nancy, being the lighthearted, somewhat innocent, do your best kind of girl had a very light and harmonic tone that felt almost like it should be in an opera. These two tones played into the characters and made the whole performance even more enjoyable.
Overall, the silly choreography and singing just made sense given the premise of this musical. The acting, even though all the characters were ridiculous, was spot on, and nothing more can be said about this musical other than it is a must see comedy that will definitely make you laugh out loud.
This musical will be on stage from July 9- 17.