Just like big city dwellers who flock to the Nutcracker every year, area residents can make the Nutcracker a highlight of their own family’s local holiday. With no change to the beloved story of Clara, Herr Drosselmeyer, and the Sugar Plum Fairy but a few thrilling adjustments to hoist the characters into the air, Cirque d’Art Theatre will again bring Le Nutcracker Cirque to the main stage of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts on December 16 at 4:00 p.m. and December 17 and 18 at 7:00 p.m.
“Demand to repeat has been phenomenal from all sides, just overwhelming,” said Cirque Director Pegi Wilkes, “and our performers can’t wait to bring these iconic dance roles to life again in a unique aerial production that takes full advantage of their circus training.”
Le Nutcracker Cirque’s well-trained army of 120 performers, ages 7 to 25, promises a polished evening of familiar music and fable, much of the original ballet choreography and a typical Nutcracker cast of characters refreshed and invigorated with acrobatics, high energy maneuvers and exciting aerial routines made possible with new equipment designed and commissioned for the production. Fabricated locally by Rush Welding, the new equipment takes center stage in the “Alpine Trees in the Forest” scene performed by Olivia Pennington, Allison Huffman and Micah Garvin. Star soloist on
“The Snowflake” will be Sami Matthews, while Heavon Jordan, Lila Ridout, Breanna Howell, Karli Stone, Curbee Morris, Lauren Jolly and Casey Holmes will apply their skills to the new “Flower” apparatus.
Meaghan Redouty, a pre-med student at Shawnee State University and eleven-year veteran and instructor for Cirque d’Art Theatre, will introduce the new “Icicle” routine which combines the steely shimmer of metal with the illusive drift of silk. “Aerial silks are difficult to master,” she said, “but the possibilities for elegant, creative choreography are unlimited. I am ecstatic about premiering this new piece.”
Amber Howard will perform the lead role of Clara while Derek Howe plays the Nutcracker. Jacob Kielmar will play Herr Drosselmeyer, Hayden Schmidt will be the Snow Queen and Autumn Thompson, the Arabian Dancer. McKenzie Thompson, a sophomore at Lewis County High School, returns as the Sugar Plum Fairy featured in a new pas de deux, a star routine where Thompson will be supported by Jon Chamberlin, who has been with the troupe since it began in 2001. McKenzie Thompson said she “learned so much in this role last year that I feel confident about adding the new choreography. We’re all coming into this production enthusiastic about building on last year’s success and energized by new costumes, new routines, new aerial equipment, new music. Everything about it is just magical.”
“And,” nodded Trisha Schmidt, the veteran Assistant Director of Cirque d’Art Theatre,
‘magical’ is exactly the experience we intend to give the audience.”
Tickets for Le Nutcracker Cirque go on sale December 1 at the McKinley Box Office at Shawnee State.