Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nutcracker Review!

I enjoy writing reviews, and while we are on the topic, you should check out my War Horse review that went viral two weeks ago. The movie comes out next week, so if you want to check it out click here.

The Nutcracker is a classic Christmas story and it is one of the best known ballets of all time. Last night I had the joy of watching the Colorado Youth Ballet's performance at the Pikes Peak Center in downtown Colorado Springs. Every year this is one of the most enjoyable productions of the ballet that appeals to both experienced and inexperienced ballet watchers.

In addition to the dancers, they also sport an impressive cast that includes  professional actors and magicians who wow the audience throughout the show. Tchaikovsky is played by an excellent actor David Sckolnik who guides the viewers through the story. Drosselmeyer is always portrayed as magical, but Director Patty Hoffman makes the most of the character's magic to impress and confound the audience.

Have you ever seen someone engage a crowd and think to yourself, "He should be on stage"? I had one of those moments last night but it quickly became awkward when I realized that I was already watching him on stage. This character was the brother, Fritz, he connected with the crowd and drew everyone into the opening scene. Although traditionally his role is very limited, Hoffman wisely allowed him more time in the limelight. I don't know what is in Franklin Bennett's future, but he is very comfortable on stage.

Another character I want to point out was the Arabian male dancer. When he first strutted onto stage I wanted to look him straight in the eye and say “Just because you have a cool Arabian costume does not make you are ALL THAT.” After a few scenes of cute little children enjoying the antics of performance, the mysterious Arabian music swelled to fill the room, the problem was that the room was also being filled with the ego of one of the dancers: the Arabian. All of my criticism died, however, when I realized that he was indeed ALL THAT. He stole the show. He was a very physical dancer with a flare for the dramatic. The entire hall was astounded and showed appreciation with the strongest applause of the night.

At one point Tchaikosky was explaining the ballet, and I had a terrifying realization that my hearing aid was cutting out. Then I remembered with great joy that I don't have a hearing aid! I concluded that it was the sound system or mic. Never was I so happy over someone's technical difficulties.

The other sad problem was the fact that one of the most signature dances of the Nutcracker was cut leaving the audience with a Waltz of the Flowers shaped hole in their experience. The Snow Queen dance almost made up for it with it's flowing and beautiful choreography and breathtaking performance.

All told, I highly recommend adding the Nutcracker to your Christmas traditions (esp if you have a younger sister playing a Party Girl!)

What is your favorite Christmas show? It's a Wonderful Life? The Nutcracker? Wonderland? The Fourth Wiseman?

Posted by Jeremiah Lorrig

Backstage Photo Credit: 
 Ted Mehl ©2011 A Better Image Photography
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