Holiday on Ice in Stockholm, April 1986
Holiday on Ice in Stockholm, April 1986

Holiday on Ice is an ice show currently owned by Medusa Music Group GmbH, a subsidiary of CTS EVENTIM, Europe's largest ticket distributor, with its headquarters in Bremen, Germany.


Holiday on Ice originated in the United States in December 1942. It was the brainchild of Emery Gilbert of Toledo, Ohio, an engineer and builder who created a portable ice rink. He took his idea of a traveling show to Morris Chalfen, a Minneapolis executive, who supplied the financing, and George Tyson, who used his theatrical background to create the show.[1]

The touring show made its first international trip to Mexico in 1947. In 1946, the company expanded with another ice show and secondary unit, "Ice Vogues", which took over the Holiday's last season's production and extended it for another year making stops in Cuba and Hawaii. Then the Vogues toured in Central and South America while Holiday remain in North America. After 1956, the Ice Vogues became a second unit of Holiday on Ice.[2]

After her touring company was shut down, Sonja Henie joined Holiday on Ice in 1953, remaining part of the show until 1956. Her first performance with the company was in Paris while her final show was in South America.[3]

In Asia, Holiday on Ice first performed at the Philippine International Fair of 1953 in Manila; followed by a return visit in 1955. Starting in 1961, the company performed almost annually at the newly opened Araneta Coliseum under impresario J. Amado Araneta's auspices. HOI returned to the Araneta Coliseum in 1962, 1963 and 1965. The HOI company that performed in Manila was assembled in Europe and recruited cast members from Japan.

US was represented by Holiday on Ice at Brussels World Fair in 1958. While in 1959, the new Cultural Exchange Program allowed the company to travel to Russia.[3] A Holiday on Ice show on October 31, 1963, was the scene of a gas leak and subsequent explosion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum that killed 74 people.[4]

All owners except Morris Chalfen sold their shares of the North America Holiday on Ice to Madison Square Garden Corporation in 1964, while Chalfen retained ownership of the international Holiday on Ice tour and remained as executive producer of the North America company.[2][5]

By August 1971, General Ice Shows, Inc., a subsidiary of Thomas Scallen's Medical Investment Corporation (Medicor) and parent company of Ice Follies, had purchased Holiday on Ice (North America) from Chalfen and Madison Square Garden Company. At that time, Chalfen had purchased $2.2 million in Medicor convertible subordinated notes, which when converted to stock would have made Chalfen the largest share of Medicor. Scallen had Medicor stall registering the notes and sold 400,000 Medicor shares to Arthur Wirtz. After lawsuits by HoI's Chalfen[5] and Wirtz in 1976,[6] Wirtz gained ownership of both shows.[7]

Mattel's Irvin & Kenneth Feld Productions purchased the Ice Follies and the Holiday on Ice (USA) from Chicago-based Wirtz for $12 million in 1979.[7][8] Ice Follies merged with Holiday on Ice in 1980 operating as a combined show in 1980 and 1981. The first Disney's World on Ice began touring in 1981.[8][9]

International company

In 1964, Chalfen retained ownership of the international Holiday on Ice tour separating ownership from the North America company.[2][5]

After several changes of ownership, today it primarily tours with only two productions in Europe. In 1996, the company was purchased by Endemol Entertainment.[3]

On October 2, 2014, the German Medusa Music Group GmbH, a subsidiary of CTS EVENTIM, Europe's largest ticket distributor, acquired 50% of Stage Entertainment Touring Productions and Holiday on Ice; the company would acquire the remaining 50% two years later, on July 8, 2016. Hence, Holiday on Ice has become a German company with Stage Entertainment no longer involved in it.

During the 60's Holiday on Ice was introduced to the Philippines. Araneta Coliseum always was the venue until Disney on Ice came to Araneta Coliseum.


Holiday on Ice was established as a family-oriented show by its founders but has retained little of the traditional ice revue format. The actual shows focus more on a theatrical/musical aspect rather than on the glamorous revue style with clouds of feathers and millions of sequins and rhinestones to attract a new, younger audience. The once large "Corps de Ballet" of skaters has been reduced from 24 girls + 12 boys to 20 girls + 10 boys (between 1998 and 2008), and 14 girls + 10 boys (from 2009) and elaborate costuming has been replaced in favour of small modern stylings. Also the music choice from mainly Broadway show scores has been changed and adapted to the contemporary taste of actual pop music and even rock. Novelty acts such as acrobats have been added regularly to the main production numbers in recent years.

A traditional element in each Holiday on Ice show is the precision number with its famous spinning wheel, in which the skaters link arms with each other, one by one, lengthening the two spokes which spin around a center point. For many years, the traditional kickline, the light finale with illuminated costumes and the firework fountains at the end of a show were much expected elements as well.

Since 1988 each show has been given an official name to expose its unique identity resulting from its main production theme that weaves the various numbers into a unitary presentation. Beginning in 2005, Holiday on Ice has added several family-oriented touring shows to their schedule, including Peter Pan, Bugs Bunny on Ice and Ali Baba in "1001 Nights on Ice" in their new branch Kids Ice shows ("KISS").

In contrast to the North American skating tours Stars on Ice and Champions on Ice which feature primarily World and Olympic champion figure skaters, most of the skaters who tour with Holiday on Ice are not particularly famous, and the focus is on the overall production quality rather than the skaters' competitive credentials.

In 2011, Stage Entertainment announced the foundation of another subsidiary company which combines all its touring live productions, one of which is Holiday on Ice. This new division, Stage Entertainment Touring productions, is chaired by Caspar Gerwe.

For the first time in its 69 years, Holiday on Ice did not stage a new show production under its own brand in 2012. In 2013 a new show choreographed by Mark Naylor was produced with the name "Platinum".

Robin Cousins has choreographed several of Holiday on Ice's recent shows. Former choreographers have included: Stephanie Andros, Willi Bietak, Marie Carr, Kevin J. Cottam, Francis Demarteau, Sarah Kawahara, Karen Kresge, Jérôme Savary, Ted Shuffle, Anthony Van Laast, Robin Cousins, Frank Wentink, Mark Naylor, Bart Doerfler, Christopher Dean, Kim Gavin and Francisco Negrin.

Show themes by year (Holiday on Ice Europe)

Show themes by year (Holiday on Ice USA)


  1. ^ "Toledo Idea and Minneapolis Money Develop Biggest Ice Show Yet". The Blade. November 15, 1953. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Blakey, Roy. "Holiday on Ice - Totin' Ice Around the World". IceStage Archive. Roy Blakey. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Hines, James R. (April 22, 2011). Historical Dictionary of Figure Skating. Scarecrow Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0810870857. Retrieved September 6, 2016. ice capades.
  4. ^ Drabek, Thomas (1995-05-18). "Disaster in Aisle 13 Revisited". California Research Bureau. Archived from the original on 2001-01-28. Retrieved 2008-10-07 – via California State Library.
  5. ^ a b c "Chalfen v. Medical Investment Corporation 210 N.W.2d 216 (1973)". Justia U.S. Law. Supreme Court of Minnesota. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  6. ^ Bright (February 10, 1976). "CHICAGO STADIUM CORPORATION, a Delaware Corporation, and Chicago Blackhawk Hockey Team, Inc., an Illinois Corporation, Appellees, v. Thomas K. SCALLEN and Medical Investment Corporation, a Minnesota Corporation, Appellants. 530 F.2d 204". Public.Resource.Org. United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Dale, Steve (January 20, 1995). "Snow White And Greenbacks". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Feld Family Buys Ringling Bros". Associated Press in New York Times. March 19, 1982. Retrieved 2008-07-20. ... a family that had owned the circus and has been in its management for 26 years. Two members of the family, Irvin Feld and his son, Kenneth, said that the deal included the circus, Ice Follies, Holiday on Ice and the new Walt Disney's World on Ice. ...
  9. ^ Schneider Farris, Jo Ann. "Shipstads and Johnson Ice Follies". About Figureskating. Retrieved July 30, 2015.