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The Love Boat Cast Throws Lifeline at Stephen Schwartz Premiere

The Love Boat Cast Throws Lifeline at Stephen Schwartz Premiere

Magic to Do
The cast of 'Magic to Do' (Chris Weeks for Princess Cruises)

An enchanting new musical revue of the Wicked songwriter's hits got a little help from a surprise cast reunion.


Magic to Do, a new musical revue of Stephen Schwartz songs, premiered last weekend on a Princess Cruises ship docked in the port of Los Angeles. It was a spellbinding display of dancing, magic tricks, and singing of some of Broadway's greatest hits from Wicked, Pippin, Godspell, and more.

But the first trick of the evening came from a surprising source: the cast of The Love Boat, who saved the day after a hiccup in electricity cut the lights during the first few minutes of the performance.

The Love Boat

While the power rebooted, actors Jill Whelan, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Lange, Bernie Kopell, and Jo Anne Worley took the stage and enchanted the audience with behind-the-scenes stories from the popular ABC series, which ran from 1977 to 1987.

There were many jokes about growing older. Worley sang a parody of "Memories," which revised the Cats song's lyrics to be a humorous account of senior moments. MacLeod and Bernie told an uproarious tale of last year's Rose Bowl parade, when, fearful of marching for hours without a bathroom break, they invested in an insurance policy: Depends.

The cast also recognized the other special guests in attendance, among them Joely Fisher (Desperate Housewives) and the man of the hour, Stephen Schwartz, who stood and took a bow amid the cheers of the audience.

A few minutes later, the show went on without a hitch. Vocalists Stephanie Hodgdon, Danny McHugh, Kurt Robbins, and Courtney Stokes offered Broadway-caliber singing performances, which were enhanced by dazzling special effects.

In particular, "Colors of the Wind," a classic written by Schwartz for the Disney film Pocahontas, featured a breath-taking dance of wind, fabric, and color that defied expectations for a stage on a ship.

Moreover, master magic-maker Jim Steinmeyer, of David Copperfield and Siegfried & Roy fame, presided over a bag of tricks--among them levitations, disappearances, and a woman cut in half--that offered much to marvel at in addition to the music.

Magic to Do

Speaking to The Advocate after the show, songwriter Schwartz said he was "very happy" with how Princess Cruises adapted his songbook

"The revue format is not an easy one," he admitted. "I've seen many, many attempts over the years at revues of my material, and I've never particularly liked any of them. I like so much how this is put together, how it flows together."

He praised the "stunning" design, how it was "beautifully staged and choreographed," and the "amazingly strong" singers, which were "surprising to me, frankly, because I didn't know that cruise lines had this quality of singer."

In particular, he loved "Defying Gravity," his hit from Wicked, which here has been reimagined to tell a story about love through a surprising feat.

"I'm not going to give it away, because that would be a spoiler," he said. "But I loved how they used that song both to tell a story about a relationship, and then have an absolutely spectacular magic trick."

Magic to Do

When asked about his gay fan base, Schwartz spoke to the universal quality of his music, and that he doesn't think of his fans in terms of gender, sexual orientation, or origin.

"I don't separate gay fans from straight fans," he said. "I just feel that I'm trying to do work that speaks to people, and whether they're straight or gay or male or female or wherever they are from, I don't see that distinction."

Everyone can enjoy Magic to Do, he said, even regardless of age. He pointed to the words of The Love Boat's MacLeod, who remarked onstage how the show made him feel 20 years younger.

"I didn't quite expect that reaction," Schwartz said. "But it was an awfully nice one to hear."

Magic to Dois the first of four planned musicals by the Oscar winner to set sail on Princess Cruises over the next several years. Watch a preview of the show below.

All photos by Chris Weeks for Princess Cruises.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.