For more than 60 years, Ballet West has been part of Utahns’ festive celebration of the holidays with the annual run of Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker. Billed as the longest-running full-length production in America, Ballet West has devoted $3 million to a reimagined presentation of costumes, sets and special effects to update this spectacular ballet for the 2017 holiday season.
Included in the full-scale update are 24 sets, more than 180 costumes and nearly 200 props—including a 3-D printed Nutcracker. More jaw-dropping are the hand-sewn tutus decorated with hundreds of sparkling Swarovski crystals and yards of tulle, ball gowns made of internationally sourced fabrics coordinated with bejeweled headpieces and hats, mouse and money masks designed by London-based Robert Allsopp & Associates, and even Clara and her Nutcracker Prince being whisked away in an airborne sleigh thanks to some high-tech stage works.
It’s all part of the renewed magic and wonder that Ballet West’s The Nutcracker brings to Capitol Theatre this season.
With new opening sets to draw the audience immediately into the story, Act One begin with a holiday party at the Stahlbaum’s where the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer (Ronald Tilton) is an invited guest. Along with trumpets for the boys and dolls for the girls (each representing the dancers from around the world in Act Two), Drosselmeyer delivers a giant mechanical ballerina (Gabrielle Salvatto) and bear (Noel Jensen) to entertain the children and adults at the party.
As the evening draws to a close, Clara (Kyra Stafford) falls asleep with her wounded Nutcracker and awakes to a dream-like world where she must rescue her Prince (Joshua Whitehead) from a dual with the Mouse King.
As she begins her journey through this fairy tale world, Clara is charmed by Principals Arolyn Williams as the Snow Queen and her Cavalier Christopher Sellars as the sparkling Snowflakes dance in unison to one of Tchaikovsky’s most memorable pieces—the Waltz of the Snowflakes.
Entering the Land of the Sweets, Clara and the Nutcracker Prince are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy represented artfully by soloist Katlyn Addison and her Cavalier, Principal Rex Tilton. A parade of divertissements invited to entertain Clara during her visit to the magical kingdom follow.
Artist Elizabeth Weldon’s fluid movements in the Arabian Dance were noteworthy as was the Chinese Warrior Hadriel Diniz’s (artist) acrobatic dance around the on-stage dragon. And soloist Tyler Gum delighted the audience with his spot-on performance of the Russian dance.
Updates to Mother Buffoon’s costume include a nod to our Beehive State as she becomes the queen bee while the little buffoons are dressed as bumblebees during their adorable routine.
Bidding adieu to the fanciful world around her, Clara enjoys a final send off by Principals Katherine Lawrence and Christopher Ruud who perform the gorgeous Waltz of the Flowers and Addison and Tilton close with the gracefully executed grand pas de deux.
These are but a few of the new highlights of Ballet West’s The Nutcracker—a splendid leap into this holiday fantastic filled with sugar plum fairies pirouetting, mice and toy soldiers fighting, snowflakes dancing and a host of delights—all with the iconic Tchaikovsky score played live by the Ballet West Orchestra.
To experience the magical journey of Ballet West’s Nutcracker yourself, matinee and evening performances of The Nutcracker continue through December 30. Visit https://balletwest.org/events/nutcracker2017 for additional details and to order tickets.
Sugar Plum Party
Ballet West will also host onstage Sugar Plum Parties for children for just $11 after most matinees where youngsters can join the Sugar Plum Fairy and other Nutcracker characters from the ballet for cookies and punch, an ornament and a photo with the cast. For more information about the Sugar Plum Party, please call 801-323-6900. Children younger than 14 years old may not go unaccompanied onto the stage for the Sugar Plum Party.