A resident troupe and a touring company are two of several additional Nutcracker options in Northeast Ohio this holiday season.
Ballet Theatre of Ohio, based in Munroe Falls, will celebrate its 20th year performing the holiday ballet beginning this weekend, with shows running 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Akron Civic Theatre, 182 S. Main St. The show continues at 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2 p.m. Dec. 2.
For the 20th anniversary celebration, the pre-professional company will offer a spectacular new Act II Land of Sweets set, designed by Jack Balance. Guests may also enjoy a 20-year Costume Retrospective in the theater’s upper salon. They also may purchase special candles to help decorate Clara’s giant, 7-foot birthday cake in honor of the 20th anniversary.
For artistic director Christine Meneer’s company, the magic of The Nutcracker starts in the Grand Lobby, before the performance has begun. The title character and his soldiers will greet guests with candy canes, and photo opportunities will be available with Santa and in front of the Nutcracker Tree at the top of the grand staircase.
The ballet, which evokes a Victorian Christmas, will star seventh-grader Haley Boggs of Stow’s Kimpton Middle School as Clara this weekend and sixth-grader Makenna Zelenak of Akron’s Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts as Clara next weekend. BTO dancer Sarah Ruesch will perform the role of the Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy on alternate weekends and Abigail Wilhite will be the Snow Queen next weekend.
Professional guest artists will be Jennifer Moll Safonovs, Damien Highfield, Gary Lenington, Brian Murphy and Ryan DeAlexandro. Joshua Isley and his brother Jeremiah will play Drosselmeyer and the Mouse King for the 20th season. Other longtime cast members will be Kim Sulek as Mother Ginger and Erin Kelly as Clara’s mother.
The company also will offer a single premiere performance of The Nutty Nutcracker, a comedic spoof on the ballet, at 7 p.m. Nov. 30. Tickets cost from $20 to $42. Call 330-253-2488 or 800-745-3000 or see www.akroncivic.com.
In Cleveland, Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker will be performed at 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at Music Hall in Public Auditorium, 1200 E. Sixth St. The company returns to Cleveland after sold-out performances last year to celebrate its 20th anniversary of the holiday production.
The show, originally choreographed by Bolshoi Theatre soloist Stanislav Vlasov, features towering handmade silk puppets, 200 new costumes, nine hand-painted backdrops, falling snow and a Christmas tree that grows to five stories tall. The Moscow Ballet features Russian culture throughout the performance, including a Troika-styled sleigh escorted by Russian folk characters Ded Moroz (Father Christmas) and Snegurochka (Snow Maiden). Cost is $27.50 to $68. See www.nutcracker.com or call 800-745-3000.
Other Nutcrackers include the Canton Ballet’s performances at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8 and 2 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9 at the Canton Palace Theatre, 1001 Market Ave. N. Tickets are $18, $14 for seniors and $8 for children and can be ordered at www.cantonballet.com and 330-455-7220.
Wayne Center Ballet’s Nutcracker will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Wooster High School Performing Arts Center, 515 Oldman Road, Wooster. Tickets are $17, $15 seniors, $13 children 12 and under. 330-264-2787.