It’s A Wonderful Nutcracker
What happens when you marry Tchaikovsky’s beloved score with Frank Capra’s charming film and a dash of Duke Ellington? Answer: Menlowe Ballet’s award-winning version of a holiday classic.
Menlowe Ballet’s character-driven It’s a Wonderful Nutcracker (December 13 –22) features entertaining characters and situations not typically found in traditional nutcracker. Even the mischievous, misguided Mouse King experiences a life-altering epiphany when he learns that love and connection are far more fun than greed and divisiveness. The feel good ballet takes place in a small American town in the 1940s and features sumptuous sets and stylish costumes. Menlowe Ballet’s professional dancers are accompanied in the show by a delightful cast of young student dancers.
Two years ago the company introduced a sensory-sensitive version, It’s a Suite Nutcracker, to provide a friendly, supportive environment for those with special needs and their families who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a Nutcracker performance. This 55-minute production is comprised of Nutcracker excerpts and narrated storytelling, and traditional theater rules are relaxed – house lights remain on, music is softened, and lighting effects are muted. Audience members are welcome to express their glee and may exit and re-enter the theater as needed. It’s a Suite Nutcracker is made possible by the generous support of Facebook.
Menlowe Ballet’s Executive Director, Lisa Shiveley relates, “We are thrilled about our newest offering this season, It’s a Wonderful FIRST Nutcracker, which allows families with young children to begin their own Nutcracker holiday tradition. It was born from our desire to offer a viable option for families with very young children to enjoy their first theater experience. Since the runtime of full-length Nutcrackers can test the attention span of children under five, leading to distress for parents and other theatergoers, we decided to supplement our season with this new abridged 65-minute version, featuring the most child-friendly moments from our full-length production.”
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It is undeniable that the performing arts industry is under-going major changes. With the innovation in technology and a shift in audience demands, art institutions are trying to attract and reach a rapidly changing audience before it is too late. Red Curtain Addict, a performing arts start-up in San Francisco, has set out to “unite the arts” by making the arts easily accessible, approachable, and fun to a new and young audience.