Hol­i­day tra­di­tion

Schuylkill Bal­let to per­form 39th ren­di­tion of ‘The Nut­cracker’

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANIEL P. PROSICK COR­RE­SPON­DENT Con­tact the writer: [email protected]­pub­li­can­her­ald.com

Get in the Christ­mas spirit over the next two week­ends with per­for­mances by a lo­cal dance group that cater to all au­di­ences.

The Schuylkill Bal­let The­atre is all geared up to per­form its 39th ren­di­tion of “The Nut­cracker” at 7 p.m. Nov. 24 and 3 p.m. Nov. 25 at the Schuylkill Haven Area High School au­di­to­rium. Prior to those works, the SBT will be hold­ing a sen­sory-friendly per­for­mance at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 23. Ad­vance-or­der tick­ets for all per­for­mances are $10 per adult, $8 for se­niors and stu­dents and $6 for chil­dren ages 3 to 10, ac­cord­ing to Jill Krew­son, vice pres­i­dent of the bal­let the­ater. Tick­ets can be pur­chased at the SBT ticket store at www.schuylkill­bal­let.com, by call­ing 570-617-5616 or see­ing any mem­ber of the group. There is a flat fee of $12 for tick­ets at the door, Krew­son added.

“Our por­trayal of ‘The Nut­cracker’ be­gins with Herr Drosselmeyer — Clara’s god­fa­ther and toy maker — mak­ing life-size dolls to take to the Christ­mas party at the Stahlbaums’. Clara dances with her fam­ily and friends when Drosselmeyer makes a mys­te­ri­ous ap­pear­ance. He makes his dolls come alive and they each dance for the guests. Drosselmeyer saves a spe­cial gift, a Nut­cracker, for his god­daugh­ter, Clara.

“She trea­sures it so much that she sneaks into the liv­ing room near midnight to dance with her Nut­cracker. Drosselmeyer casts magic over the home and Clara’s Nut­cracker be­comes life size to de­feat an army of mice. Clara’s jour­ney then leads her to the Pine For­est where she meets the Snow King and Queen and dances among the snowflakes. She ends up in the King­dom of Sweets meet­ing the Sugar Plum Fairy and dancers from far away lands. They dance for Clara and Drosselmeyer brings Clara’s dream to a close. She tells her mother of her ad­ven­ture, but her mother as­sured her it was only a dream,” Sarah Schimpf, as­sis­tant direc­tor/chore­og­ra­pher, said in sum­ming up the plot.

Serv­ing as a pre­cur­sor to the per­for­mance, the SBT will be invit­ing the pub­lic to The Land of Sweets, hold­ing Tea with Clara at 10 a.m. Sun­day at the Walk In Art Cen­ter, Schuylkill Haven, Krew­son said.

“A decade ago, we had done a tea with Clara. We wanted to bring it back as a fun pro­mo­tional event lead­ing up to ‘The Nut­cracker’,” Schimpf said. “Plus the tra­di­tion of ‘tea’ co­in­cides with the era in which ‘The Nut­cracker’ is based upon.”

Guests are asked to bring their own tea cup, Schimpf said, ad­ding that there will be prizes, crafts, Nut­cracker-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing a small per­for­mance and the chance to meet Clara.

The 40-dancer cast in­cludes Jenna Re­ber as Clara; Amanda Johns as Sugar Plum Fairy; cel­e­brat­ing his 25th year in the bal­let, Greg Schuet­tler as Clara’s Prince; Kelly Kar­povich as Snow Queen; in his 39th per­for­mance, Dave Don­lin as Drosselmeyer; and adult cast mem­bers who make up the Party Par­ents.

The pro­duc­tion staff, in ad­di­tion to Schimpf, in­cludes Vi­vian Con­nor as artis­tic direc­tor, and Janet Bair, pres­i­dent.

The bal­let orig­i­nally in­cor­po­rated a score by Py­otr Il­lyich Tchaikovsky, a li­bretto by E.T.A. Hoff­mann adapted by Alexan­dre Du­mas and was chore­ographed by Mar­ius Petipa. The re­sult of works of artists through­out greater Europe, the bal­let de­buted the week be­fore Christ­mas in 1892, ac­cord­ing to nut­cracker.com.

The Schuylkill Bal­let The­atre will next be per­form­ing a bal­let adap­ta­tion of “Char­lie and the Choco­late Fac­tory” from April 12-14 at Blue Moun­tain High School. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit the group’s web­site at www.schuylkill­bal­let.com.

ANDY MATSKO / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

The Schuylkill Bal­let The­atre will present the hol­i­day clas­sic “The Nut­cracker” at 7 p.m. Nov. 24 and 25 at Schuylkill Haven Area High School au­di­to­rium.

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