Eddie Brigati was the voice of the Rascals, as well as - often in collaboration with Felix Cavaliere - one of the group's two resident composers. Born Edward Brigati, Jr. in Garfield, NJ, in 1945, he reached his teens amid the tail-end of the first wave of American rock & roll, though his real first love was R&B and, later, soul music. Following his brother’s lead into the business in Joey Dee and The Starliters (Peppermint Twist), he was a founding member of the Rascals. Brigati's credits included such classics as "Groovin'," "I've Been Lonely Too Long," "How Can I Be Sure," "You Better Run," and "People Got to Be Free." The Rascals was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, and a dozen years later, in 2009, Brigati and Cavaliere were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
National Recording Star
A backup singer for numerous big-name acts including Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Rob Thomas, and Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Bouchelle has made a big splash in the business with her edgy style reminiscent of Neil Young and Tom Petty. As the opening act for Bryan Adams, Richard Marx, Sophie B. Hawkins, and many others, Lisa has been there and done it, including appearances on major TV shows such as Gossip Girl and New York radio programs. She released a self-produced CD, Bleu Room With A Red Vase, in 2010 which features an ode to her mother and a duet with John Popper from Blues Traveler. Lisa is on tour throughout 2011, so you can catch her performances after Skate for Love.
Pearl the Mime
Margot Carr a.k.a. "Pearl the Mime" has performed professionally throughout the world entertaining audiences with her theater, dance, and mime experience. She is skilled in classic/modern mime, roving improvisation, clown and character antics, silent storytelling, living statue, and living mannequin. Margot has been associated with Cirque du Soleil and takes pride in touching people's hearts. She has also been spotted in everyday, ordinary places eliciting smiles from unsuspecting passersby and brightening their days.
Pushing the body's natural limits beyond the imaginable, Jared Rydelek is no ordinary performer. He holds three world records for contortion, and scientists have marveled at his abilities on The National Geographic and Discovery Channels. Jared trains actors and stuntmen how to escape from straightjackets and to perform other amazing feats. He specializes in the element of surprise so be prepared for something strange and wonderful.
An icon in American skating, JoJo Starbuck is a three-time US pairs’ champion, two-time world bronze medalist, and two-time Olympian with her partner, Ken Shelley. She headlined Ice Capades and has appeared in numerous TV specials. JoJo currently directs Starbuck & Company, a special events production group specializing in staging shows for network TV, private functions, corporate affairs, and fundraising events. She has been the head skating professional at The Rink at Rockefeller Center since 1988. JoJo was touched by cancer when her mother fought and defeated breast cancer. While JoJo’s mother went on to lead a fulfilling life, JoJo will never forget the impact it had on her family, and she has continued supporting charity events ever since.
Olympic Bronze Medalist
Dubbed the “quad king,” Tim Goebel competed at all top levels of figure skating. He captured the US national title in 2001 and finished fourth at the World Championships. Tim won the bronze at the 2002 Olympics and is credited with being the first skater to land a quadruple Salchow jump in competition as well as three quad jumps in one program. Following his successful skating career, Tim pursued a degree in mathematics at Columbia University.
SPECIAL GUEST HOSTS
US and world champion Elaine Zayak represented our country at the 1984 Olympics. A New Jersey native, Elaine was the first woman to land seven triple jumps in competition, which revolutionized the sport via the International Skating Union’s institution of the “Zayak Rule” in 1982. She currently coaches in Hackensack and avidly supports charity functions.
Lucinda Ruh holds the Guinness world record for performing the longest and fastest spins on ice. She represented Switzerland eight times at the World Championships and has been the Swiss national champion multiple times. Lucinda had a successful professional career and has remained active in the sport. She supports a number of charities, including children’s rights advocacy and youths. Her work as a figure skating coach, mentor, and motivational speaker help to inspire children.
Olympian & US Silver Medalist
Emily Hughes comes from an all-skating family. Her sister Sarah won the 2002 Olympics, which inspired Emily to reach those heights and represent the US at the 2006 Olympics and Worlds. Emily won the silver medal at the 2007 US Nationals, narrowly missing the title by less than 1 point. A full-time senior at Harvard University, Emily continues to skate and to support a variety of charities. Her mother, Amy, defeated an aggressive form of breast cancer, so events like Skate for Love hold special meaning for the Hughes family.
Olympian, World and US Champion
Kimmie Meissner is a US national champion, world champion, and Olympian. In addition to these accomplishments, Kimmie is only the second US lady in history to land the incredibly difficult triple Axel jump in competition. She is currently pursuing a degree in exercise science at the University of Delaware and hopes to become a physical therapist. Co-founder of the Cool Kids Campaign, Kimmie devotes a great deal of time to children affected by cancer. She is partnering with Johns Hopkins Hospital in an effort to launch a learning facility so kids can continue their education while seeking treatment at the oncology ward.
1995 US Champion, Olympian
Competing at all levels of the sport, Nicole Bobek won US Nationals in 1995 and a bronze medal at the World Championships that year. In 1998, she fulfilled a life-long dream by representing the US at the Olympics. Nicole skated professionally with the popular Champions on Ice tour and appeared in several pro competitions before retiring. Skate for Love marks Nicole’s return to show skating, and she is proud to support this charitable endeavor.
2010 US Junior Pairs Champion, 2008 US Novice Ladies Bronze Medalist - Felicia Zhang
Felicia Zhang is a four-time US North Atlantic Regional champion at various levels. She was the 2008 novice national bronze medalist and 2010 US national junior pairs champion with partner Taylor Toth. Felicia continues to compete at the junior level in singles. Some of Felicia’s close friends’ parents have had breast cancer, so she dedicates time to supporting charity events in hopes it will help aid in the quest for a cure.
2009 JGP Final Bronze Medalist
Finishing in fifth place as a senior at the last two US Nationals, Christina Gao is aiming for the World Championship and Olympic teams. She is coached in Toronto by two-time Olympic silver medalist and world champion Brian Orser and has medaled at international competitions at the junior level. Her idols include Michelle Kwan and Olympic Champion Yuna Kim, whom she trained with in Canada. Off the ice, Christina enjoys reading, shopping, and hanging out with friends.
Ice Theatre of New York
Founded in 1984 by Moira North, Ice Theatre of New York seeks to change the face of figure skating by creating works that integrate the sensibilities of contemporary dance, music, and art. Through its performances in both traditional and alternative venues, ITNY presents on-ice dances that challenge the perceptions and conventional definitions of figure skating. ITNY was the first ice dance company to receive dance program funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. In addition to building and performing works of artistic merit, ITNY also reaches out to the next generation of skaters and audiences through its exemplary education, community outreach, and training programs.
When Marni Halasa was four years' old, her parents told her she had three career choices: doctor, lawyer, or scientist. Marni would eventually earn a law degree and work in the field; however, she pursued her passions for belly dancing and rollerblading at night. A self-described "parade addict," Marni has performed in numerous events and found her way into the world of figure skating. She is a member of Ice Theatre of New York and a professional skating instructor. Marni has appeared on TV and is proud to pursue her dreams and entertain audiences.
World Professional Adagio Team
Rachel Gomez & Andrew Naylor
Rachel Gomez & Andrew Naylor have starred in shows around the world. Both competed as eligible skaters, with Andrew representing England and winning the British national title six times. He competed in Europeans, Worlds, and the Olympics, finishing as high as ninth in the world. A resident of the US since 1990, Andrew has appeared in many shows with adagio partners, including Dorothy Hamill, and most recently with Rachel in Magic on Ice and Cool Art Hot Ice on the Royal Caribbean Cruise lines.
At just nine years' old, Taryn Barrett has been skating for over six years. She also takes dance, ballet, and strength conditioning training. Taryn is a voting member of the Screen Actors Guild and has appeared in a number of national TV commercials and network sitcoms. In her free time, she volunteers at the Veteran Hospital in East Orange, NJ.
Hailing from the American Academy Figure Skating Club, Gianna Bozzetti is a 2011 US Regionals finalist and was an alternate for the 2011 US Nationals in the junior division.
Fourth grader Jackie Buckenberger began skating two years ago. She has appeared in several holiday shows and recently was invited to skate at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of a new skating rink in Rockland County. In February 2007, Jackie lost her uncle to cancer; it is with deep pride and affection that she skates with his memory in her heart.
Gabriella Calandra is 11 years' old and has been skating for five years. In her spare time, she loves to read. Gabriella also plays the viola and has been selected for the all-county orchestra.
2010 Sectional Champion, US Nationals Competitor
Two-time US national competitor Samantha Cesario has been skating for 10 years. Selected to be part of the 2010 US international team, she competed at the Gardena Spring Trophy in Italy where she won the gold medal. In October 2010, she was given a Junior Grand Prix assignment in Brasov, Romania where she placed fourth. Samantha is a three-time US regional champion and the 2011 Eastern Sectional champion.
Olympians & 6-Time US Medalists
Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov
The world-renowned husband and wife team of Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov are seasoned professional skaters. They are the founders and directors of the award-winning Fever on Ice program in Hartford, CT; in addition, they produce and direct an ice show called Proud Nation (www.eduskating.com). While you may have seen Denis recently on "Skating with the Stars" and Melissa and Denis on tour as professionals, this team is also known for its accomplishments in the eligible ranks and talent as choreographers—both for their own routines and those of top-level skaters such as Olympic Champion Evgeny Plushenko and Johnny Weir. Sadly, Melissa lost her mother to cancer last year, and she has experienced how the disease affects loved ones.
Lari' N. Estridge started skating when she was eight years’ old. Now 13, she skates at the intermediate level and competed as a juvenile skater at the 2010 US North Atlantic Regionals. When not on the ice, Lari’ loves working with cosmetics to create different looks for skating and fashion. She also likes choreographing skating programs and dance routines for herself and her friends just for fun. Lari’s grandmother Camille Figueroa developed Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2005 and is currently in remission. Her great grandmother Jean Lott lost her life to cancer several years ago. Lari’ performs in Skate for Love to honor both their memories.
Olivia Halevy is 15 years’ old and has been skating since the age of five. She has competed at US North Atlantic Regionals for the past four years. Olivia is a junior coach at the Skylands Ice World rink. In addition to skating and coaching, Olivia enjoys singing in the select chorus at school. Olivia's great grandmother died of breast cancer, and she has two aunts who are breast cancer survivors, so this event has special meaning for Olivia’s family.
At 13 years’ old, Kellie Jamin has been skating nearly half her life. She competed in the US North Atlantic Regionals. Kellie loves to skate and plans to continue for many years. When not skating, Kellie enjoys dancing, drawing, and writing. Skate for Love is special for Kellie because she lost both of her grandfathers to cancer.
2011 State Games of America Novice Ladies Champion
Fifteen-year-old Sydney Jones started skating nine years ago. She won the silver medal at the 2011 US North Atlantic Regionals in the novice ladies’ qualifying event and a pewter medal in the novice ladies’ finals. She competed at the 2011 US Eastern Sectionals in the novice ladies’ finals. In 2009, Sydney won a State Games of America gold medal in the novice ladies’ free skate event. In 2010, she won an Empire State Games gold medal in the novice ladies’ free skate event. Sydney has qualified to compete in the 2011 State Games of America.
Worlds and Four Continents Competitor
Crystal Kiang represents the Skating Federation of Chinese Taipei in international competitions and has competed at the World Figure Skating and Four Continents Championships. Crystal is known for her expressive skating. She is moved by the courage and determination of cancer survivors and their loved ones. She skates with passion and purpose in this charity event.
2011 US Junior Nationals Intermediate Competitor
Fiona Kim is in sixth grade and skates at the intermediate level where she has been a finalist at the US North Atlantic Regionals and a competitor at US Junior Nationals. Outside of skating, Fiona likes to play the piano and cello; dance, including the Korean traditional fan dance and drum dances; and sing.
3-Time Regionals Finalist
Simone Kim is in ninth grade and was a finalist at the novice level in the US North Atlantic Regionals. She was previously a finalist at the intermediate and juvenile levels. Simone’s hobbies include playing the piano, the Korean traditional fan dance and drum dances, and choreographing figure skating.
Taiwanese Men’s Champion, Worlds & Four Continents Competitor
The reigning men’s champion for the Skating Federation of Chinese Taipei, Stephen Kuo has competed at the World Figure Skating and Four Continents Championships, as well as Junior Worlds. Stephen is studying business at Rutgers University; he is interested in computer science and teaching. He enjoys reading, juggling, and playing the violin.
Taiwanese Ladies Champion
At 16 years’ old, Corinna Lin is the 2010 national champion of Chinese Taipei. She has competed regionally at all levels in the US and won medals at the Empire State Games, including gold at the senior level in 2011. Corinna previously won bronze as a junior and silver as a novice. In addition to being a high honors student, she is a first degree black belt in taekwondo, speaks fluent Mandarin, and aspires to become a doctor.
Julie McNamara is 12 years’ old and has been competing at the US North Atlantic Regionals since she was nine. Julie competed in the State Games of America in Colorado Springs in 2009 and qualified for the same event in San Diego in 2011.
Olympians & British Champions
Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland
Penny Coomes & Nicholas Buckland are currently the top-ranked ice dance team in Great Britain. They will be competing at the World Championships in Moscow starting April 24. The team represented Britain at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and have competed at two European Championships. They won bronze at the Coupe de Nice 2010 in France and took bronze at the Golden Spin Trophy in Zagreb, Croatia in 2009.
3-Time Regionals Gold Medalist
Madison Olivieri is in ninth grade and a three-time US North Atlantic Regional qualifying round gold medalist who has received numerous championship trophies. She recently placed first at the novice level at both the NJ Council Championships and the Garden State Games, qualifying her to compete at the 2011 State Games of America in San Diego. Madison has competed internationally and won the silver medal at a 2009 event in Austria. She also teaches skating lessons at ProTec Hockey Ponds in NJ.
Allison Reed & Otar Japaridze
Allison Reed & Otar Japaridze are the Georgian national champions in ice dance. They competed at the 2010 Olympics and World Championships. They have competed at European Championships twice and are coached by two-time Olympic Champion Evgeny Platov in New Jersey.
Abby Scarpello is 11 years’ old and has been skating for two years. Her grandmother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Abby dedicates her performance in Skate for Love to her grandmother, who, with lots of love and prayer, will hopefully overcome her illness.
Falling in love with skating at an early age, 14-year-old Taylor Scarpello skates at the juvenile level. Like her sister Abby, Taylor dedicates her performance in Skate for Love to her grandmother, who is undergoing aggressive treatment for breast cancer.
3-Time US Junior National Competitor
Competing at the US Junior Nationals three times, 14-year-old James Schetelich began skating nine years ago after watching the 2002 Olympics. He placed fifth at the novice level at the US Eastern Sectionals in November 2010. When not skating, James enjoys reading and spending time with friends.
2011 US Junior Nationals Juvenile Competitor
David Weltz is 11 years’ old and began skating as a toddler to join his sister on the ice. He competed at the juvenile level at the 2011 US Junior Nationals and the US North Atlantic Regionals. David’s other hobbies include surfing, tennis, fishing, and travel.
2011 Regionals Novice Ladies Competitor
After watching “Nutcracker on Ice” at age four, Jessica Weltz fell in love with skating. She competed at the 2011 US North Atlantic Regionals as a novice. Jessica’s other hobbies include spending time with friends, dancing, bike riding, cooking, watching movies, and going to the beach.
Eleven-year-old Madeline Wong has been skating since age four when she followed her brother, a hockey player, onto the ice. She competed at the juvenile level at the 2011 US North Atlantic Regionals. Madeline is musically inclined and has performed piano solos and duets at Carnegie Hall for the last four years. Two of her mother’s close friends are breast cancer survivors, another was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and her grandmother is in remission from lung cancer. Madeline joins those who hope and pray for a cure for cancer.
2-Time Junior National Finalist
Twelve-year-old Olivia Yao is a two-time junior national finalist and US national showcase dramatic champion and improvising champion. She is a straight A student, forensic champion, and winner of Johns Hopkins University’s international talent search in mathematics. Olivia has performed in many charity events and would like to dedicate her appearance in Skate for Love to her best friend’s mother, a breast cancer survivor.
Intermediate and Juvenile Synchronized Skating Teams
Representing the Skating Club of Morris, the Precisely Right synchronized skating teams train at the Mennen Sports Arena. They compete throughout the country at various levels and perform in ice shows. The intermediate and juvenile teams are featured in Skate for Love and sport medals from competitions this season. For over 10 years, the teams have been coached by former British ice dance champion John Towill, who has worked with national and international champions across all figure skating disciplines. Lynn Alberi and Suzanne Laki-Echevarria serve as assistant coaches and work with all teams.
Cast subject to change.