Twist on The Nutcracker Tradition
A Twist on Tradition: The New Jersey Foundation for Dance and Theatre Arts Presents “The Nutcracker”
There is a chill in the air and winter is on its way. Whether the glow in your home comes from Chanukah candles or the bright lights around the Christmas tree, you surely appreciate that this is a time of year when tradition is everywhere you look. One of the most popular holiday traditions is “The Nutcracker.” Peter Tchaikovsky’s classic was first presented in Europe back in 1892. You may be familiar with productions by The New York City Ballet, or other repertory companies but the interpretation of The New Jersey Foundation for Dance and Theatre Arts is in a different category and is not to be missed.
They have been presenting their spectacular rendition of “The Nutcracker” in the North Jersey area for 23 years. The show is considered one of New Jersey’s finest dance and theatrical presentations. Reviews of the performance have hailed it as a superb production of “The Nutcracker” with a twist. The “twists” are director Nancy King’s special touches and whimsical additions. “It’s fast moving”, she says, “It’s a story that has something for everybody, whether you are a child seeing a ballet for the first time or someone who has seen many performances.” It would be impossible not to get excited talking to King. Her love for dance and theater come across in every word she speaks.
The results are a Nutcracker that combines many different styles of dance and musical theater. The opening scene is a musical theater production of an early 1900’s village celebration, including holiday vocalists and specially choreographed dances.
“The Nutcracker” begins at the home of Judge Silberhaus, his wife and their children Clara, Louisa, Sabrina and Fritz. The children play games as the party guests enter and the dancing begins. However, all stops as the children’s dear godfather Drosselmeyer enters. He is a creator of wonderful, magical things and he has brought presents.
Clara receives a colorful nutcracker. The doll breaks and Drosselmeyer casts a magical spell on the broken nutcracker. The spell begins: great mice appear and are chased by toy soldiers, the Christmas tree grows to great heights, the grandfather clock comes alive, and the nutcracker becomes a prince. In the NJF production the mice are acrobats, the soldiers tap dance, the tree grows, snow falls and the fight scene is performed with real swords.
Clara meets the handsome prince and their journey begins, including travels to foreign lands and a visit from Mother Ginger and her clown children. The Dew Drop Fairy arrives with her candied roses, who dance the glorious Waltz of the Flowers. Finally, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform the Grand Pas de Deux. Everyone joins the final farewell waltz to Clara and the prince as the court pays their final tribute to the little girl who saved the prince.
Guest artist and alumnus of The King Centre, Casey Garvin will return to perform the roles of The Cavalier and The Snow King. Casey played the lead role of Chad in “All Shook Up” and portrayed Diesel and Riff in the national tour of “West Side Story”. Casey also performed in “Bare” in New York City and was in the ensemble of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in Pennsylvania and Maine. In 2014, he joined the ensemble for “Bullets over Broadway: The Musical” and the ensemble for the original Broadway production of “Disaster!” in 2016. He has performed the roles of Fritz, Russian, Arabian, Lead Soldier, Snow King and Cavalier in “The Nutcracker”.
Ashley Tetens will perform the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy. She is a resident of Ringwood and a member of the American Youth Dance Company. She has earned ballet scholarships from New York City Dance Alliance and American Academy of Ballet. She was selected as an outstanding dancer finalist by New York City Dance Alliance and was also chosen for their Triple Threat award. She has performed in “The Nutcracker” in the Party Scene, as a Doll, Chinese, Marzipan, Spanish, Dew Drop Fairy and Snow Queen.
The role of Clara will be shared by Jocelyn Geisel of West Milford, and Rachel Muhleisen of Wyckoff. Fritz will be performed by Gus Lindstrom of West Milford and Maya Sullivan of Wyckoff, Sabrina by Katie Muhleisen of Wyckoff and Leah Steiner of Wyckoff, and Louisa by Gianna Incorvaia of Oakland and Leigha Thompson of Wanaque. The Prince will be played by Delaney Roark of Mahwah.
This year, start your holiday season with “The Nutcracker.” Performances will be held on Saturday, November 19th at 2pm and 7pm and on Sunday, November 20th at 2pm at Lakeland Regional High School at 205 Conklintown Road, Wanaque, NJ. Tickets are $20 general admission. All seats are reserved seating.