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