“The Nutcracker Fantasy” is once again going to be presented during the holiday season at the Park Theater. The production is based on the original story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” featuring music by Tachaikovsky.
The production is presented by The Park Theatre Group Dec. 8-9 at 7 p.m., showcasing students from Paula’s Dance Academy. Paula Barnes and Camryn Austin co-direct the show featuring 55 cast members.
“We are so pleased to be a part of this wonderful production again this year,” said Barnes. “It is a little different this year, we have added new characters, moved some characters and changed the choreography some.”
One of the changes in this year’s production is the addition of a Prince. In the original story of “The Nutcracker,” the Nutcracker turns into a prince in her dreams.
Garrett Gilliam will portray the Prince, with Allison Hudson taking on the role of Clara. The Nutcracker is played by Bree Hayes, Livia Brewer the Mouse King, Anaston Chisam the Snow Queen, Mary Humphrey the Sea Fairy Queen, and Katie Sweeton the Sugar Plum Fairy.
The production is a first for Gilliam, who is the first to confess he has no dance experience. The Warren County High School senior was approached by Barnes, encouraging him to take the part.
“It’s very interesting, and a fun experience,” said Gilliam. “I had no idea there was so much work involved. I just hope I remember the routines.”
When asked the best advice he had been given, he said it came from Barnes, and it’s “Just say yes ma'am.”
Hamby is no stranger to the stage, as she has been dancing for 10 years, and appeared in “The Nutcracker Fantasy” two years earlier. She says the actual acting parts will be the hardest for her, and she will have mixed stage fright. Her favorite part is the actual dance with the Nutcracker.
Barnes says the addition of a Sea Fairy Queen and Sea Fairies, as well as a China Tea Master portrayed by Christian Weeter, has added much to the production.
“We are very proud of our cast, as they have put many hours into the presentation,” said Barnes. “We actually have 16 of our dancers dancing on pointe, and only had five that first year. That’s a huge number.”
Actor and director Chad McGee is playing the important role of Uncle Drosselmeyer, Clara’s uncle and magician, who brings very interesting gifts to the party.
“Being part of ‘The Nutcracker Fantasy’ has been a lot of fun,” said McGee. “It’s especially crazy this time of the year, especially since we just finished ‘A Wonderful Life.’”
A limited supply of tickets is still available at ticketbiscuit.com/parktheater/events.