Marietta native hopes to turn ice show into a tradition
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
And he wants to start a new one with “The Holiday Ice Spectacular.”
A professional skater for more than 25 years, Rand, along with his wife and pairs partner, Jennifer, performed in the Ice Capades, “Disney on Ice,” the Italian tour of “Stars on Ice” and, from 1998-2005, earned a featured role in “The Christmas Spectacular” at Radio City Music Hall.
Though his production company, Rand Enterprises and Productions, is based in Las Vegas, Rand is a native of Marietta, and recently, he’s returned home.
“It’s funny how I’ve been around the world and came back to Milton,” said Rand, a loquacious businessman still passionate about his sport.
While Rand, 45, pulled double duty for many years, performing and producing shows such as “Bright Lights on Ice” in Las Vegas and skating events in Hong Kong and Milan, he hung up his skates four years ago to concentrate on creating and producing.
It was during his stint at Radio City, though, that Rand was bulldozed with the inspiration for “The Holiday Ice Spectacular,” which will take over the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre from Dec. 16-24.
After absorbing the beauty of New York City in the winter – the snow, the horse-drawn carriages – Rand thought, “If I could take this moment, this snow globe moment, I’d be rich.”
He’s partially kidding about the latter comment, because later in the conversation, he emphasizes his yearning for the show to become Atlanta’s equivalent of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“I’m really not looking to make a dollar. If we can make some money for [charity recipient] Bert’s Big Adventure, it will be a huge victory for me,” Rand said.
So how did Rand transform his New York moment into an ice extravaganza?
He referenced his vast Rolodex, talked to choreographers and other contacts from Broadway and in winter 2006, unveiled the show in Hong Kong, where Rand said it received a hearty reception.
The production was developed further and for the last two years, played at the Eldorado Hotel Casino in Reno, Nev., which, according to Rand, sold out 85 percent of the time.
For the 11 shows in Atlanta, Rand has hired locals for the crew and costume design.
“Every single person I could give a job to here, I did. I hope they believe in this as much as I do,” he said.
Despite her full-time responsibilities caring for the couple’s two daughters, Hayden, 2 ½, and Mackenzie, 7 months, Jennifer Rand also is heavily involved in the show as a coordinating producer.
And for the performance part, internationally lauded skaters Michael Chack and Samantha Vonsiatsky star as the principal soloists, while Mikey Post, a longtime Atlantan now living in Los Angeles, handles the role of Henry, the lead elf and narrator.
“It is a variety show,” Rand said. “We have a 12-minute version of ‘The Nutcracker,’ a country section, a shopping section. I’ve woven in non-denominational characters and we have skaters who sing, which is really never heard of.”
While Rand is excited about bringing his latest achievement to his hometown, he’s even more optimistic about the future of “Holiday Spectacular.”
“I truly believe, especially with the bad economy and wars and political arguments, that this is something where you can go for 90 minutes and have a great time,” Rand said. “I want this to be the start of a tradition.”
Q&A WITH ACTOR MIKEY POST
Mikey Post has kicked Adam Sandler in the shin, boxed on “Boardwalk Empire” and cheerfully snickered as a holiday elf in Christmas commercials for Radio Shack and Big Lots.
Now living in Los Angeles, Post, who grew up in Marietta and Roswell, has carved a steady career as an actor and will utilize his skills as the principal elf and narrator in “The Holiday Ice Spectacular.”
But his first break came during his tenure at University of Georgia when his agent at the People Store, the Atlanta talent agency, booked him for a role in Martin Lawrence’s 2001 movie, “Black Knight.”
Post, a little person, sports an English accent and shares a dance scene with Lawrence in the film. The experience was gratifying enough that Post, 28, soon moved to Los Angeles after graduating from UGA with a degree in management information systems.
But his family connections are strong in Georgia. His parents still live in Roswell, his sister is in Grant Park and his grandfather lives in Cobb County. Post also has a brother who attends law school in Florida.
The actor recently talked with the AJC about his role in the ice show and how he feels about playing an elf.
Q: How did you hook up with Jeb Rand?
A: Meredith Eaton, an actress out here, referred me to him. He wanted me to do the show last year, but I was working on a film in Canada. Then I found out that he lives literally five minutes from my parents’ house.
Q: What does your role in the show entail? Will you be skating?
A: No, definitely no skating [laughs]. I do have special shoes with spikes on them so I can walk on the ice. I’m the comic relief of the show.
Q: You’ve been an elf a few times in your career. Do you enjoy playing that role or do you feel it’s a bit stereotypical?
A: When I first moved out here, I told myself I didn’t ever want to play an elf. But it’s acting, it’s a role. I don’t mind it as much now because there’s so much work being an elf.
Q: Have you had pretty steady work in L.A.?
A: It comes in spurts. I’ll do nothing for two weeks and then the next week I’ll have eight things offered to me and I’ll have to turn some down.
Q: What else are you working on now?
A: I’m filming the second season of [Animal Planet’s] ‘Pit Boss.’ My best friend, Ashley Brooks, is the secretary on the show. I’ll also be in a flashback scene in ‘The Cape’ on NBC, a superhero drama. And I’ll be on the Christmas episode of ‘90210’ [airing Dec. 6 on the CW].
Q: How long will you be in Atlanta? Is there anything you’re looking forward to doing while you’re here?
A: I’ll be there the whole month of December. I’m just going to spend time with my family and friends. My sister lives in Grant Park, so I’ll hang out with her.
The Holiday Ice Spectacular
8 p.m. Dec. 16-24 (also 2 p.m. Dec. 18, 22-23 and only 2 p.m. Dec. 24). $20-$69. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 770-916-2800, www.cobbenergycentre.com.