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Stephen Schwartz’s “Magic to Do” Thrills Aboard Princess Cruise Ship

On Oct. 10, Princess Cruise lines unveiled the first of several original collaborations with Oscar, Grammy and Tony-winning composer Stephen Schwartz, “Magic to Do.” The show, a showcase of the cruise line’s new direction into original, bespoke live shipboard entertainment, on the Crown Princess, docked at the Port of Los Angeles, thrilled guests with its combination of beloved songs from Schwartz’s catalog and its stagecraft, including lots and lots of real magic — such as the duo taking the song “Defying Gravity” quite literally, above — performed by the multitalented cast of high-energy singers and dancers.

While the show was hit with some technical difficulties – the power on the ship went out for about 25 minutes –the “Love Boat” cast, including Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Jill Whelan and Ted Lange, gamely jumped onstage and vamped, while Jo Anne Worley sang “Memories” with alternate lyrics that gave the song a whole new meaning and had the crowd laughing.

Schwartz brought together a large group of theater veterans for “Magic to Do,” including: Don Frantz, associate producer of Broadway’s “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast”; director Gabriel Barre, whose credits include the national tour of “Pippin” and the current Broadway musical “Amazing Grace”; Jeremy Railton, four-time Emmy winner whose background in theater, film, television and multi-media design includes the 2002 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies and the Academy Awards; Ken Billington, Tony award-winning lighting designer;  Mark Hartman, whose Broadway credits include “Sondheim on Sondheim,” “Avenue Q” and the national tour of “Pippin”; choreographer Jennifer Paulson-Lee, whose work includes “Seussical”; Alex M. Calle, art director on the Warner Brothers Theme Park UAE, Galaxy Entertainment Macau and Crane Dance project in Singapore; costume designer Dominique Lemieux, whose work includes Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystere,” “Alegria” and the costumes for “Pippin” on Broadway; sound designer Danny Fiandaca, who has worked on various tours and productions, including “Come Fly Away” (Broadway) and “Catch Me If You Can” (first national tour); George Johnsen, media design and Grammy and Emmy award-winning developer of technologies for such companies as IBM, he also co-produced the hit sci-fi series “Babylon 5”; and Jim Steinmeyer, who created the magic experience in Magic to Do.

After the performance, VIPs adjourned to the Wheelhouse Bar for some celebratory cocktails.

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