Skaters on a tour like Disney on Ice generally spend months living on the road.
Susan L. Brodie has been living that life for decades.
Except for three years living in Las Vegas, Brodie has been touring with ice shows for nearly 40 years, auditioning as a skater fresh out of high school in 1972 and now working as a performance director for Disney on Ice's "Treasure Trove," which opens a seven-show run today at the Covelli Centre.
“The Lion King” is one of several animated films featured in the latest Disney on Ice production.
Like most young skaters, Brodie said she imagined it was something she would do for maybe a couple years before moving on to something else.
"I loved skating, and when you find out what you can do with it performing, it gets into your blood even more," Brodie said during a telephone interview from Peoria, Ill. "The first time I came home, my father knew I was hooked - 'It's in your blood, isn't it?"'
Brodie moved up the ranks, going from skater to line captain to performance director and company manager, before getting married and settling in Vegas and a job at the Bellagio.
When You Go
WHAT: Disney on Ice -
WHEN: 7 p.m. today and Friday, 11 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Covelli Centre, 229 E. Front St., Youngstown
HOW MUCH: Tickets are $44, $32, $21 and $16.
"Not to get into personal details, but I did end up back on the road," she said. "Obviously, I was meant to be there and fell in love with it all over again."
As performance director, Brodie's job is to make sure the show maintains the same level of quality the creative team intended. She gets involved at the preproduction and rehearsal stage, but unlike the choreographer, costume designer and others, she's the only one who stays with the production as it goes from city to city.
"I primarily have to maintain the choreography, the integrity of the show while it's on tour," she said. "We're all part of the building of the show, but once it hits the road, it's up to me to take care of there on afterward."
Each performance, Brodie is sitting in the arena, splitting her attention between the performers on the ice and the audience to gauge how the people react to the production.
"We have kids that come with their parents and their enthusiasm coming to see their favorite character, their enthusiasm and excitement level is so great," she said. "It's so exciting to see the excitement in their eyes."
That said, when Brodie was a skater, her favorite role without hesitation was the Evil Queen in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
"It's fun playing the evil characters ... Kids would run to their mothers when they saw me."
"Treasure Trove" brings together an wide range of beloved characters from Walt Disney's animation legacy. In celebration of "Tangled," which is billed as Disney's 50th animated feature and introduces its latest princess with Rapunzel, the ice show features many of Disney's princesses, starting with the original Snow White.
"Mickey Mouse and his gang introduce the treasure trove of shows that Disney has produced over the years," Brodie said.
In addition to appearances by Belle, Ariel, Tiana, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Mulan, the show includes scenes from "Peter Pan," "Alice in Wonderland," "The Lion King" and "Aladdin."
"This year's show is a good combination of everything from Captain Hook to the princesses," Brodie said. "Captain Hook and the pirates is a very high-energy number. I love that number."