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Volume 3, Issue 1                                    University of Houston

Annual 'Nutcracker' production unforgettable for children and grown-ups alike

By Jake McKim
Breaking News Staff

Anyone who has had the great fortune of seeing the timeless classic The Nutcracker knows it is a masterpiece.

Dancers gracefully glide across the stage in the Houston Ballet's annual production at the Wortham Center, while decadent sets conjure unison "oohs" and "aahs" from impressed audience members.

The Nutcracker consistently draws children to witness the cherished event for the first time and adults who can't get enough of the breathtaking production.

Everyone should know the storyline by now. A little girl gets a nutcracker doll for Christmas from the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer. She takes it to bed with her that night and is promptly "attacked" by a group of large, human-sized mice.

The Nutcracker Prince doll comes to life, saves her from the fear-inducing rodents and then proceeds to take the girl on a journey through magical lands of sweets and treats.

The story is one that anyone can truly appreciate. This season's version features a remarkable cast of Nutcracker veterans and several notable debuts.

Houston Ballet artistic director Ben Stevenson brings the show to life with the unforgettable music that Nutcracker fans know and love so well.

Set and costume designer Desmond Heeley's lavish and eyebrow-raising work leaves audience members captivated by its sheer beauty.

Excellent performances by the many cast members keep things believable and grab your attention, at times making you feel as if you have been transported to these remarkable places.

The one beef this critic has with this, and any year's production, is that a minimum of 15 minutes needs to be shaved off. The show becomes repetitive toward the end and almost appears to be a look-what-I-can-do display by the dancers and choreographers. You may find yourself heading for the magical land of daydreaming.

However, any negative thoughts are quickly replaced with a deep sense of comfort and joy in knowing you have just witnessed one of the greatest stories ever told.

The Nutcracker runs through Dec. 30 with 7:30 p.m. performances every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and 2 p.m. shows on Dec. 16-17, Dec. 20-24 and 30. Tickets range from $11.50 to $76.50 and can be purchased by calling (713) 227-ARTS or 1-800-828-ARTS.

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