The Long Beach Ballet "The Nutcracker" Review- A Holiday Classic

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Long Beach Ballet brings back a holiday classic, "The Nutcracker." Artistic Director, David Wilcox presents an unordinary rendition of the classic tale unlike any other. Not only is there a full symphony orchestra with not one but two harps (which only two companies in the country use), it is packed with on-stage pyrotechnics, a flying sleigh, a live horse, and a cast of over 200.

 

The tale begins in a small German town where Dr. Stahlbaum (Mariano Sanz) is having a Christmas Eve party at his home. We are introduced to his children, dreamy eyed Clara (Chloe Pruett) and trouble maker Fritz (Mark Scheidker). As the guests arrive and the party begins, gifts are exchanged. As the girls behave and play with their presents, the boys continue to harass them causing their parents to consistently step in.

"The Nutcracker" (courtesy photo)



Drosselmeyer (Ben Majors), Clara's uncle, arrives and has brought some of his inventions to the party to entertain the children. He gives Clara an unusual present, a nutcracker shaped like a soldier that Clara immediately falls in love with. When her brother Fritz sees it, he tries to take it away from her so he can have it himself and it ends up breaking. Drosselmeyer is able to fix it however before the party wraps up and the guests leave.

"The Nutcracker" (courtesy photo)



The children are sent to bed but Clara cannot sleep and sneaks back downstairs to play with the nutcracker. She soon falls asleep with the nutcracker still clutched in her arms. Suddenly the room is invaded by mice who steal the presents under the tree and attack Clara. Suddenly, the nutcracker (Sonny Sun) comes alive and leads the toy soldiers into battle with the mice and the Mouse King (Craig Rexroad). The stage comes alive with cannonballs being shot across the stage.

"The Nutcracker" (courtesy photo)



The soldiers are overpowered by the mice and the nutcracker is hit during battle and drops his sword. Clara then picks up the sword and drives it into the Mouse King. The mice carry off their king leaving Clara with the lifeless nutcracker. While she mourns the loss of her beloved nutcracker, the nutcracker magically transforms into a handsome prince (Jerome Tisserand) and promises to take her to an enchanted kingdom.

On their way, they come across the Snow King (Evan Swenson) and Queen (Katelyn Conrad) who entertain them with a dance and dancing snowflakes. Clara and the prince then get into the magical sleigh that flies them away to the land of the Sugarplum Fairy.

"The Nutcracker" (courtesy photo)



 Act 2 starts with them passing by angels along the way. Once they arrive at the kingdom, the prince tells the people how Clara killed the Mouse King and saves his life. Other members of the court come to greet Clara including the Sugarplum Fairy (Kylee Kitchens) herself. The prince then entertains her with dancers from all over the world: "Hot Chocolate" from Spain, "Coffee" from Arabia, "Tea" from China, Russian dolls performing the Russian dance, Mother Ginger (Hilde Byrne) as all of children dance around her, the Mirliton pastries entertain the guests, and the Flowers dance while the Dewdrop Fairy (Melissa Sandvig) floats around.

"The Nutcracker" (courtesy photo)



At long last, the Sugarplum Fairy and the prince put on a spectacular dance closing Clara's time in the kingdom. In a blink, Clara is back in her home on her sofa with her nutcracker in her arms.

"The Nutcracker" (courtesy photo)



 Though the audience was full of children because this is a ballet for all ages, it is hard to take your eyes away from the stage to even bother paying attention to the family with the crying baby. Conducted by Dr. Roger Hickman, the Long Beach Ballet Orchestra pulls the audience with its amazing rendition of Tchaikovsky. Combine this with the breathtaking performance by the ballet dancers; the Long Beach Ballet delivers a brilliant performance delighting both children and adults alike.

 

 

 

 

The Long Beach Ballet

December 15th and 22nd, at 2:00pm and 7:30pm and Sunday December 16th and 23rd at 2:00pm

Ticket prices from $25- $65



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