We all know the story: young Marie is given a beautiful nutcracker for Christmas who magically comes to life Christmas Eve. Our young heroine is subsequently caught in an epic battle between the Nutcracker's troops of gingerbread men and toy soldiers and the minions of the evil Rat King. A dazzling suite by Tchaikovsky moves the audiences from fear to triumph as the Nutcracker is transformed into a handsome Prince who trounces the Rat King, and he and Marie are welcomed as heroes by the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy in a final glorious waltz.
The music of the Nutcracker is as familiar to us as our own Christmas traditions, and in the River City, the Louisville Ballet has faithfully presented this favorite show for nearly fifty years. Thanks to a generous grant from the Brown-Forman Corporation in 2007, however, this much-beloved production received a much-heralded make-over, which will again be presented to enraptured families this December, every night from December 10th to the 23rd at the Kentucky Center.
This year, all the finery of the revamped production will again be on display. Audiences can expect scenery that subtly alludes to Louisville architecture and landmarks, designed by the renowned Peter Cazalet (who marks his retirement with this final production). The so-called "soft goods," or the canvases hanging upstage that create the total picture of the set, were painted in Cazalet's native Cape Town, South Africa, and include pieces as large as 85x37 feet, and stretching as long as several miles. In addition, 6,000 pounds of steel work to hold up this masterpiece. More than 40 artists in nine states spun 2,730 feet of tulle and nearly 1,000 sequins together to create the charming costumes, and master illusionist Marshall Magoon (whose previous work includes Shrek the Musical and Spamalot on Broadway) has created elements of magic specific to the Brown-Forman Nutcracker. Val Caniparoli has choreographed graceful numbers to be performed by an ensemble of 45 company members and more than 100 volunteer children from the Louisville area. Perhaps you know a young neighbor who has been chosen to participate in this unparalleled experience!
Besides the wonderful production itself, the Louisville Ballet is offering an exclusive Sugar Plum Party for young fans of Marie and her handsome Prince. On Saturday, December 10, and Sunday, December 18, in the East Room of the Kentucky Center, families can join the children's cast for Christmas festivities. Tickets cost $15, which include access to a bounty of holiday sweets, a photo with the cast members, a reading of the Nutcracker, and much, much more.
Tickets to both the Brown-Forman Nutcracker itself and the Sugar Plum Party can be purchased at the Louisville Ballet's website, by calling (502)-594-7777, or by visiting the box office at 501 West Main Street. Groups of ten or more save up to 20%; for more information, e-mail [email protected], or call (502)-583-3150, ext. 242.