ALBANY -- The magical world of Disney will come alive on stage at the Albany Civic Center on April 10 when Feld Entertainment's Disney Live! Rockin' Road Show will perform.
Audiences will join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy as they embark on a talent search filled with unexpected encounters with some of Disney's most memorable characters.
The show also gives audiences the chance to see Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie from Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story" on stage for the first time.
Jesse Highley, who portrays Buzz Lightyear in the show, said it was a challenge to bring the well-known "Toy Story" characters to life.
"I spent a lot of time looking at pictures of Buzz and studying the character's physicality and expressions," said the actor. "It was a challenge to incorporate an animated character's persona and bring it to life on stage."
Highley, a former Ringling Bros. clown, said his experience with juggling and riding a unicycle were incorporated into the show for his character.
"That was part of the fun of coming into this show as an original cast member. The pleasure of creating a character from scratch and being able to make it tailored to you," he said.
Highley said that unlike performing for the circus, the show provides an extra challenge for the actor to try to connect with the audience.
"When you're in the circus, the kids are right in front of you. With this show, there is a fourth wall. The challenge of this show was how you can connect through the fourth wall without breaking it," he said.
The actor said the show's interactive portions help the performer connect with the audience.
James Ward, who portrays Woody in the show, said learning to perform lasso tricks was one of his biggest challenges.
"I tried a lot of different techniques and I think we made it so that it is still within the character of Woody and still had technical aspects," he said.
Ward said he feels honored to have the chance to portray one of Disney/Pixar's most-beloved characters.
"It's an opportunity that I love. I've never seen the kids react the way they do to the Toy Story characters. It's something that I'm very excited to do and I have to be on top of my game because the kids know this character," he said.
Ward said Albany will be one of the last performances of Disney Live! Rockin' Road Show and that the performers are working hard to make it as magical as possible.
"I want them (the audience in Albany) to walk away with a sense that magic is still out there, I know that it is hard right now, especially because of the economy. What we are trying to do is bring a little bit of the Disney magic to the places where we perform," he said.
Cally Meyer portrays Jessie in the show and said she was always a fan of "Toy Story."
"Watching the movie to prepare for the role was no hardship. She (Jessie) was always my favorite," she said.
Meyer said the best part of being in the show is the chance to see kids in the audiences who are dressed as Buzz, Woody and Jessie.
"It's really nice for us to see the kids dressed in the characters," she said.
The actor said she is in character as soon as she puts on the hat that is essential to her costume.
"As soon as I put that hat on, I get in Jessie mode," she said.
In addition to the "Toy Story" characters, Cinderella, her comical stepsisters and Tigger all make an appearance in the show.
The premise of Disney Live! Rockin' Road Show is that Mickey Mouse and his pals decide to put on a talent show. After realizing they need more friends for the show, they go on a road trip in Mickey's fantastical bus which leads them on series of misadventures and inadvertently guides them to the perfect performers.
The show features amazing scenic backdrops, high-energy dance numbers, contemporary costumes and music.
Ward said guests should get to the show early for the chance to participate in a pre-show.
Disney Live! Rockin' Road Show will be performed at the Albany Civic Center on April 10 at 3 p.m. Tickets can purchased from Ticketmaster or from the Albany Civic Center box office for prices ranging from $38 - $15.