a.m., Dec. 6)
classic a treat for the whole family
production of 'The Story of the Nutcracker' continues today at the Orleans Theatre
on Centrum Blvd. with two performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Fred Sherwin/Photo
the things I look forward to the most around the holiday season is going to see
"The Nutcracker" or various versions of the children's classic. Chalk
it up to the inner child in me, I guess.
weekend the Orleans Young Players all ages Christmas Class is presenting their
own version of the holiday classic about a young girl who
dreams about her toys coming to life in the Land of Enchanted Dreams.
Story of the Nutcracker" is actually an adaptation of an adaptation written
by Michelle L. Vacca and first presented by Orleans Young Players two years ago.
this most recent version adapted and directed by OYP artistic director Kathi Langston,
political correctness is taken to a whole other level. The Nutcracker fights with
his feet rather than a sword, the Mouse King never really actually dies and the
fierce North Wind is little more than a winter breeze. Still the central theme
of the Nutcracker, which is that anything is possible in our dreams, remains.
the opening act, Herr Drosselmeyer brings three toys for Marie and Fritz -- a
doll, a soldier and a nutcracker. After the family goes to bed, Marie sneaks back
downstairs to say goodnight to her new friends and falls asleep with the nutcracker
in her arms which is when the magic begins.
is transported off to the Land of Enchanted Dreams where she meets the Nutcracker,
the Soldier and Clara the Doll, who have all come to life. Before they can get
acquainted, however, they are attacked by the Mouse King and his minions.
the Soldier tries to fend off the mice with his sword, the Nutcracker, oddly enough,
battles them by step-dancing. You have to see it to believe it. But as the Mouse
King begins to gain the upperhand Marie hits him in the head with her shoe which
breaks a spell cast on the Nutcracker and turns him into a handsome Prince.
the battle, the Prince, the Soldier, Miss Clara and Marie make their way to the
Land of Sweets where they meet the Snow King and Queen and the beautiful Sugar
Plum Fairy along with a number of delightful characters including Tutti Frutti,
Bonbon and two adorable pages named Butterscotch and Taffy.
the Sugar Plum Fairy learns of Marie's heroics she throws a party during which
the characters learn of the Christmas costumes in Mexico, India and Russia.
play ends with Marie waking up with the Nutcracker still firmly in her grasp and
the soldier and doll by her side. Thrilled that the young girl enjoyed her adventure,
Herr Drosselmeyer delivers a universal message to the audience about the magic
of Christmas dreams.
magic of OYP's production of "The Story of The Nutcracker", is in the
performances of the tremendous cast, especially Madison Meyer, who plays Marie
and Tyler Smith as Fritz.
in particular, although she wasn't on the stage for very long, Kierra Hughes did
an amazing job as the North Wind. It wasn't until I read the program after the
play that I realized she also played Tutti Frutti which is doubly impressive because
in watching the play you never would have realized the same actor played both
characters, which is a testament to her abilities.
But probably the most magical performance of the evening was turned in by sisters
Emily Lebel and Rebecca Lebel who play the dancing snowflakes as well as Butterscotch
and Taffy. They're both absolutely adorable and if they don't put a smile on your
face then you're definitely not in the holiday spirit.
remainder of the cast included Kelsae Harding as the Soldier; Henri Fiest as the
Snow King; Kathleen Sims as the Nutcracker Prince; Lynn Lebel as the mother; Michael
Wright as the Mouse King and Bon-Bon; Ian McGregor as Herr Drosselmeyer; Emma
Clarkin as the Sugar Plum Fairy; Barbara Bucknell as the Snow Queen; Scott Kirstjanson
as father; Holly Norman as Clara the Doll; and Heather Moore as Bittersweet.
Broud, Nidhi Gupta and Natalia Mohar also made appearances as the Little Russian
Girl, the Indian Dancer and the Little Mexican Girl respectively.
play continues today, Friday, Feb. 23 , at the Orleans Theatre on Centrum Blvd.
with two performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $7
for students and OYP family members.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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