Pro skater fondly recalls Highland Park childhood
Eddy Zeidler, who grew up in Highland Park, is a professional skater who performs as Alladin in "Treasure Trove," a Disney on Ice production that opens tonight at the Allstate Arena, Rosemont. | Photo submitted.
Disney on Ice presents “Treasure Trove”
When: 7 p.m. nightly from Thursday, Sept. 13, through Saturday, Sept. 15, with a performance at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, in Spanish. Additional English performances are at 10:30 a.m. Friday and 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Where: Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont
Featuring: Highland Park’s homegrown Eddy Zeidler
Tickets: $13 to $25 with a limited number of $50 VIP and $70 front row seats available
More information: www.ticketmaster.com, (800) 745-3000 and www.disneyonnice.com
Updated: October 2, 2012 4:18PM
HIGHLAND PARK — It’s not a stretch to say that figure skater Eddy Zeidler launched his career at the age of 4, when someone at Highland Park’s Centennial Park Ice Arena recognized his gift and urged his family to enroll him in private lessons.
Zeidler soon became one of those fiercely driven skaters, laced up and on the ice at 4:45 a.m. to pack in 2 1/2 hours of practice before school.
Zeidler’s family lived on Linden Avenue in Highland Park until his sophomore year of high school, when his family moved to California. He attended Indian Trail School and Elm Place Middle School.
“I spent many early mornings and afternoons learning how to skate at the Centennial Park Ice Arena, and I still know every nook and cranny of the ravines that run through Highland Park to this day,” said Zeidler, who recalls playing hide and seek in the ravines and sledding in areas that were clear of trees and brush.
Zeidler is currently appearing in a Disney on Ice production that opens at 7 p.m. tonight at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont. A professional skater for most of his adult life, Zeidler portrays Aladdin in the latest production, Treasure Trove, a medley featuring themes from eight Disney films and more than 50 Disney characters, including Snow White, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and the Princess and the Frog.
As Aladdin, Zeidler is seeking to impress a Persian princess, Jasmine, and the two end up flying through the air on a magic carpet. “The audience is stunned. It is just mesmerizing,” he said, noting the flight scene draws squeals of delight and spontaneous outbursts of applause. “Stuff like that keeps you going,” he said.
Zeidler said the show, the first to be produced by Juliette Feld of Feld Productions, was a labor of love. “She wanted the show to feature everything she loved growing up,” said Zeidler of the show, which spans the years from Walt Disney’s first animated film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, through the 50th film, “Tangled.”
The 42-year-old Zeidler performed in his first professional show at age 24 and was a principal skater with the Nutcracker on Ice production of 1994 and 1995 that also featured Olympians Oksana Baiul, Victor Petrenko and Brian Boitano.
He has competed in the U.S. Nationals five times and earned both silver and bronze medals. On a recent Disney on Ice stop in Ecuador, Zeidler was a bit worried about handling the strenuous routine at an altitude of 10,000 feet above sea level. When he handled it well, he thought, “I can almost compete again!”
His brother Leon still lives in Highland Park and he also has family in Rolling Meadows.
Whenever Zeidler returns to the Highland Park area, he makes a point of visiting Michael’s Hot Dogs, the successor to Nathan’s.
While much about Highland Park has changed since his childhood years, he noted, “The street I grew up on looks exactly the same,” adding, “It is bizarre.”