About his upcoming appearance this week at AT&T Park, skating to live music by Barry Manilow and a full orchestra, Brian Boitano says, "God, I hope it doesn’t rain."
The outdoor show, the first of its type at the San Francisco baseball field — which is being outfitted with a custom ice rink — actually opens with the number "It Never Rains in Southern California," says Boitano, who has been staging television specials with his company White Canvas Productions for more than a decade.
The 1988 Olympic gold medalist has lined up a cool roster of guests for the Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular, which will be filmed before a live audience Wednesday night and will air on NBC on Dec. 22.
His friend Dorothy Hamill (another Olympic champion, with whom he appeared in the hit Will Ferrell comedy "Blades of Glory") will join him in a duet to the song "The Way We Were"; she also solos to Manilow’s "Weekend in New England." Other world-class skaters in the lineup include Olympic gold medalists David Pelletier and Viktor Petrenko, world champion Yuka Sato, British champion Steven Cousins, Olympian Jason Dungjen, and ice acrobats Vladamir Desedin and Oleksiy.
Boitano, a resident of The City whose professional skating career has teamed him with singers such as Josh Groban, Brian McKnight and En Vogue, is particularly thrilled to be working with Manilow.
"I try to have a musical guest every year, we were looking to get someone really exciting this time," he says.
The skater, also known as the subject of the "South Park" anthem "What Would Brian Boitano Do?," seems to have gotten over what he calls the "impossible" task of selecting Manilow’s inevitably limited set list.
Manilow will sing eight songs in the show. Four are classic hits, including a special dance mix of "Could It Be Magic" ("I put ‘booms’ in here and there," Boitano says). He’ll also perform tunes from his new album, a collection of covers called "The Greatest Songs From the Seventies." (A Manilow television tied to the CD airs at 1 p.m. Saturday on KQED.)
For Boitano, who first picked up ice skates at age 8, professional skating can’t be compared with competitive skating.
"They’re really apples and oranges. There are completely different sets of stresses," he says, pointing to the example that pro skating has a much more grueling schedule, with lots of rehearsals and shows, than does amateur skating, which is more about resting and preparing.
For the time being, Boitano is enjoying his busy itinerary, as well as his Bay Area home. The longtime San Francisco resident says, "I’ve been every place in the world. There’s no place better than this."
Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular
Where: AT&T Park, 801 Third St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Tickets: $50 to $150
Contact: (800) 225-2277 or www.tickets.com