Nutty Nutcracker!

Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal

One of my Christmas traditions is seeing The Nutcracker ballet.  I have performed in the Nutcracker several times, as a tin soldier and part of the Flower corps, and also understudied the Snow corps.  I have seen the ballet at least a hundred times, and it has a special place in my heart.

It’s a great ballet for kids because the main character, Clara, is a little girl.  It’s fantasical and has a very easy plot to understand.  It’s also set at Christmas, so it makes for a great tradition this time of year.

My old ballet company has started a new tradition…The Nutty Nutcracker!  It puts a fun twist on the traditional ballet by adding in lots of comedy.  Instead of Drosselmeyer gifting Clara the nutcracker, it is stolen by a hobo and Drosselmeyer spends the first act trying to get it back.

My husband likes the Nutty version better than the traditional, because it keeps your attention the whole way through.  It’s true that the second act of the Nutcracker, the Land of Sweets, has very little plot.

Jeremiah Isley (left) as the Mouse King, his brother Joshua Isley as Drosselmeyer and Damien Highfield as the Cavalier hold up cast member Kim Sulek as the Sugar “Plump” Fairy, of the Ballet Theatre of Ohio’s The Nutty Nutcracker in Munroe Falls. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)

Some of the fun additions to the Nutty Nutcracker include:

  • the Sugar “Plump” Fairy (as pictured)
  • Where’s Waldo appearing in various scenes
  • Tap dancing soldier dolls in fatigues
  • The toy soldier vs. mouse battle becomes a football game…including a mouse Tebowing
  • “Natalia Notgoodenov,” the understudy filling a slot in the Snow corps…definitely a dude in a tutu
  • Lots of fart jokes
  • What does the fox say? dance in the Land of Sweets
  • Japanese sumo dance in the Land of Sweets
  • Lots of other little jokes for those that know the show really well (I have probably seen it a hundred times, including rehearsals)
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