By Jill Keppeler
Niagara Gazette — Ferb, I know what we’re going to do on Saturday.
“Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever!,” a live version of the popular Disney Channel show, will hit Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo for three performances Saturday, bringing the title duo and cast of supporting characters to the stage in their never-ending quest for new and more interesting ways to spend their summer vacation.
While on the TV show, that last day of vacation just never seems to arrive, in the stage show it’s finally the last day of summer break in the Tri-State Area. For the Flynn-Fletcher step-brothers, of course, this calls for something special: The greatest invention ever.
But ... hey, where’s Perry?
As in the TV show, this all calls for the obligatory musical interludes, and in the midst of it is Nicole Dalton of Rochester, the tour’s dance captain and one of the dancers in the show. Dalton, a University at Buffalo graduate who has been with the tour for two years, recently talked about the show and her role in it during a stop in Fort Wayne, Ind.
This is her first year as dance captain, after a role as Milly (one of the Fireside Girls) last year.
“I work side by side with the performance director to teach the choreography of the show,” she said. “It’s my job to teach all the new people on tour this time ... keeping the choreography clean, keeping in the genre of the act, because there’s everything from country line dancing to Bollywood dancing to disco dancing.”
While all the genre mash-ups can be challenging, Dalton said, it keeps things interesting for the cast members, who are performing the show in 80 cities throughout North America this season.
“To be honest, we love it because it keep our show fresh constantly,” she said. “We’re doing this show for eight months. It’s nice to be in a show that’s constantly different. It’s challenging, but at the end of the day, we’re all professionals and we love what we do.”
The whole show is very high-energy — especially for Perry the Platypus (yes, platypus), AKA Agent P., and his nemesis Dr. Doofenschmirtz, who engage in one of their trademark face-offs — and very interactive, Dalton said. Cast members throw big disco (inflatable) balls into the audience during one number, there’s an interactive pre-show during which kids can learn how to do “The Platyus Walk,” and, at the beginning of Act 2, there’s a chance for some audience members to dance with Dr. Doof up on stage.
Dalton, who would like to one day open her own dance school, said it’s priceless to see the younger participants react to being in front of an audience.
“I don’t think I’d be who I am today if I hadn’t started dancing at the age of 3,” she said. “It’s just so fun to bring them up. The music comes on and they all just start dancing around and clapping. It just makes me happy because I can see myself at 3 being the exact same way.”
The Buffalo stop for the tour will be a homecoming of sorts for Dalton. There’s not much time — the tour will be hitting the road for Hartford, Conn., that night — but her family and a number of friends from UB will be attending. Plus, the Buffalo Bills fan — who wears her CJ Spiller jersey for every game and tries to keep updated on scores even during showtimes — will have a chance to commiserate about the team’s less-than-spectacular season thus far.
“Even though it’s been a little disappointing, we were in Arizona when the Bills beat the Cardinals in overtime,” she said. “I was quite happy. I made sure to keep that jersey on after show when we went out to dinner.”
Dalton plans to continue with the tour for as long as she can, and would like to eventually work her way into the performance director role. For now, though, she’s just enjoying the ride.
“I just think that the way the choreographers and producers made an original animated TV show into something interactive is just genius,” she said. “Kids are just so into ‘Phineas & Ferb.’ You can’t walk into a mall without seeing a 5-year-old wearing a Phineas shirt.
“Not only is there so much dancing and singing and participation, all these kids are going to get exactly what they expect. They’re going to see all these little inside story lines they’re familiar with from the show and I think that’s something really special.”IF YOU GO • WHAT: "Phineas & Ferb: The Best Live Tour Ever" • WHEN: 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday • WHERE: Shea's Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St., Buffalo • TICKETS: Range from $29 to $68. Call 800-745-3000, visit the Shea's box office or visit www.ticketmaster.com.