Holiday tradition continues in the Tri-State area

December 07, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

So many productions of "The Nutcracker." So little time.

The Chambersburg Ballet Theatre has its version. The Hagerstown Ballet Company has its own take. And let's not forget the Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Company in Hagerstown and the Maryland Regional Ballet in Frederick, Md.

There's another problem: All of these productions are scheduled throughout December - some of them on the same night.

Consider this your cheat sheet for how each company plans to dazzle audiences this season.

Most people are familiar with the plot: Clara falls asleep beneath a Christmas tree with a broken nutcracker and begins to dream. She gets into a fight with some mice. The nutcracker becomes a handsome prince. They wander together through the Land of Sweets. Adventure abounds. Clara wakes up. All ends well.

While the story line is similar across productions, the number of local variations suggests that there's more than one way to tell the same tale.



Hagerstown Ballet Company

WHEN: Debuts 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Fridays, Dec. 8 and 15, and Saturdays, Dec. 9 and 16; 3 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 10 and 17.

WHERE: Antietam Ballet Theater, 104 S. Mechanic St. Sharpsburg

COST: $15

HIGHLIGHTS: Unlike most productions, where the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier are the lead roles, Clara and the Nutcracker Prince are the leads in the Hagerstown Ballet Company's production, said artistic director Carolou Russell. Rachel Doub, 17, of Williamsport, is cast as Clara; Erik Hoffman, 18, of Sharpsburg, will be her prince. Figure skater Scott Powell, 22, of Hagerstown, is cast as the Cavalier; Clarissa Mathews, a Shepherd University professor, is the Sugar Plum Fairy. The costumes and set were created locally by families and artists throughout Washington County. There are roughly 50 dancers cast in this production.


Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Company

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, and 3 p.m. Sunday Dec. 10.

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

COST: $22 to $28

CALL: 301-790-2000

HIGHLIGHTS: The Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Company has cast 100 dancers in its production of "The Nutcracker," said artistic director Lauran Clowser. Solos were given to both out-of-town professionals and company members (local members account for a total of 18 solos). Professionals include Juliana Scarpelli (Snow Queen, Sugar Plum Fairy) and Angel Giglio (Nutcracker Prince, Cavalier). Both are former members of The Joffrey Dancers, the official dance ensemble of the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. Two local dancers are cast as Clara: Audi Colombo, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Northern Middle School, on Saturday; and Marie Furnia, 15, a sophomore at North Hagerstown High School, on Sunday.


Maryland Regional Ballet Company

WHEN: Debuts 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8. Additional shows are at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9; and Sunday matinee Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St., Frederick, Md.

COST: $11 to $25

CALL: 301-228-2828

HIGHLIGHTS: The Maryland Regional Ballet Company's full-length production features 80 dancers from the Frederick School of Classical Ballet, with notable student performances from the corps as Snow Flakes and Flowers, and solos as the Queen and Dew Drop Fairy. Principal roles go to Miranda Weese as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Sbastien Marcovici as the Cavalier. Both are principal dancers at the New York City Ballet. Alexander Ritter, principal dancer at the Washington, D.C.-based Suzanne Farrell Ballet Company, is cast as Drosselmeyer and the Candy Cane.


Chambersburg Ballet Theatre Company

WHEN: Debuts 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Shippensburg University's Memorial Auditorium, with another show there at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. The show moves to The Capitol Theatre in Chambersburg, Pa., for a performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16.

WHERE: Shippensburg University's Memorial Auditorium, 1871 Old Main Drive (Dec. 9 and 10). The Capitol Theatre, 159 S. Main St., Chambersburg Pa., (Dec. 16).

COST: $5 to $18

HIGHLIGHTS: The Chambersburg Ballet Theatre Company's version is set during the Civil War, said artistic director Lavinia Reid. Key performances will come from two Ballet San Jose (Calif.) dancers: Jing Zhang as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Michael Doerner as the Cavalier. Freelance dancer Micki Kolberg is cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy for the company's show in Chambersburg. Rounding out the 50-person cast are dancers from Shippensburg University, Wilson College, Miss Laurel's Valley School of Dance and Mar-Le-Nie Dance Studio.

CALL: 717-267-2012

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