“Ours is a traditional Nutcracker with a new bit of choreography in the second act,” says Anne Hebard of the Catskill Ballet Theatre (CBT), adding that the troupe was able to buy some new costumes for this 29th production of E. T. A. Hoffman’s fantasy tale. The company performs throughout the Hudson Valley, offering two or three full-length programs each year that combine world-renowned, professional dancers with Ulster County ballet students, and does so primarily through the generous funding of donors. The Nutcracker costs approximately $50,000, a formidable amount augmented this year by a unique first-time fundraiser: the “Nutcracker Open,” a miniature golf event that was held at seven local restaurants and two museums on the Rondout District waterfront. The fundraiser also makes the spring ballet possible.
The Nutcracker is a tradition within a tradition. Set to Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s classical music, the story swirls around the traditional holiday festivities of the Von Stahlbaum family, wherein the children’s’ toys come to life in a dream filled with sweets and delight. The ambitious production stars Iris Jones and Morgan Schaeffer as the Nutcracker, David Loewen as the Mouse King, Alyssa McPherson and Molly Schatzel as Clara, Jacob Eichenhofer as Fritz, Augustus Guarente and Ellis Lader as Councilor Von Stahlbaum, Catherin Franklin as Frau Von Stahlbaum, Robert Wesner as the Nutcracker Prince and Jennifer Moll Safonovs as the Snow Fairy and the Sugarplum Fairy. Rounding out the cast are Colleen Connors, Scott Patterson, Madeline Jankowski, Hope Easter, Andrea Martin, Cailin Ryan, Micaela Ryan, Paul Herrling, John Hutton, Eugene Kruchowy, Anna Ffrench, Camilla Ffrench, Michelle Moughan, Jennelle Ohene-Agyei, Gabrielle Herrling, Mackenzie Prosser, Maria Koch, Vladimir Bachinsky, Gary Lenington, Elizabeth Luse, Mary Kate Garmire, Lena Easter, Marykate Taylor, Ava Stokes, Lia Berry, Celia Couse, Bella Edelstein, Sasha Fraser, Isabella Jankowski, Emma Loewen, Alexandra Mitchell, Erica Naccarato, Kaitlyn Nero, Sydnee Nissen, Sara Baldwin Nusbaum, Marin Prosser, Fieldina Water, Isabella Keesler, Cadynce LaLima, Gianna Tisch and Morgan Schaeffer. The “Grand Nutcracker Pas de Deux” is choreographed after Marius Petipa by Maja Tibbling and Melissa Bierstock.
Three performances of The Nutcracker will be staged by CBT at the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) on December 9, 10 and 11 at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. UPAC is located at 601 Broadway in Kingston. For ticket information and reservations, call UPAC at (845) 339-6088 or go online to www.ticketmaster.com/Ulster-Performing-Arts-Center-tickets-Kingston. Also see www.catskillballet.org.