Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Nutty Nutcracker

Last year (2008), Ballet West started a new tradition of showing The Nutty Nutcracker . This performance has all of the traditional dancing, with a few tweaks here and there, but the largest fun is all the large changes that are made. H mm let me see what were some of those many changes—

Prologue and Act I:
  • Jason Linsley as Disco Drosselmeyer. Yes that's right, a huge afro, in-line skates for the transformation scene and a rubber chicken were just a few of the changes that Jason made.
  • The party girls received horns for Christmas and the party boys dolls. Yes, they were quite confused, but it all worked out in the end.
  • No formal waltzing in this Nutcracker, instead it was boogie down the line with a disco ball twirling overhead.
  • How can I forget Kate Crews Linsley and Christopher Anderson with their darling "daughter" as an 80's ski couple who invade Victorian England.
  • John Frazer as the grandfather who walks through the beginnings of the snow scene for that last cup of eggnog (the alcoholic kind) that he had been denied during the party scene.
  • Or the bear who curls up with his teddy bear at the edge of the stage for the entire snow scene.
  • Snowflakes with jingle bells, that jingled in time to the music no less, and reindeer antlers. The snow cavalier with a top hat and cane.
Act II:
  • All of the ladies-in-waiting had Groucho Marx masks on.
  • The very best was Chris Ruud and Christina Bennett texting and doing nails while the Nutcracker Prince told the story of the first act. It must be so hard to not want to do that during regular performances.
  • No cakes with a dancer on the top in this production—cheese for the Mouse King, popcorn for Clara, and pizza for Chris R.
  • The Mouse King and Nutcracker Prince and their on-going fight. Rex Tilton as the Mouse King was fantastic. "I'll be back" "I told you I'd be back" and the white flag of truce.
  • Chris Sellars, again as the lead Russian, this time an over-weighted lead Russian. He runs on stage jumps up in the air, and lands, but wait…he is exhausted and the music must wait for him to catch his breath. Later in the finale he has to be helped off stage. Too too funny
  • Not one, but three Sugar Plum Fairies and their cavaliers (Chris R. and Christiana, Tom and Annie, and Elizabeth and Chris A.). Well choreographed changes were done to accommodate the three sets of dancers.
  • Alison DeBona as a bumble bee flitting through the Waltz of the Flowers was fantastic.
  • Tyler Gum as Waldo who appeared through-out the entire production was great. Seeing him do Russian in blue-jeans was marvelous too.
Of course there was beautiful dancing done by all. And lovely music conducted by Terence Kern. Can't wait for next year and those changes.

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