HACKETTSTOWN — The Centenary Stage Company is once again hosting The New Jersey Civic Youth Ballet’s (NJCYB) annual performance of The Nutcracker in the David and Carol Lackland Center Dec. 20 to 22.
With a cast of more than 70 talented dancers from Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Sussex and Warren counties, this ballet based on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite is unique because of the narration by Hadley DeGregoris who tells the story from the perspective of 10-year-old Clara Stahlbaum.
In this dramatic presentation, the audience is invited to Dr. and Mrs. Stahlbaum's Christmas Party. As the theater darkens, and music plays, Ms. Byrnes takes the audience on a storybook adventure. Clara’s Godfather presents his magic show of dancing dolls enchanting the children who attend the party. He has gifts for all, but one touches the young Clara's heart, an ugly Nutcracker. As Clara falls asleep under the beautiful Christmas tree, the noise of mice wake her. To save Clara, the Nutcracker and his army battle the giant Mouse King. The Nutcracker turns into a handsome prince, and takes a grown-up Clara through the enchanted forest into the land of Christmas.
“This is the most enchanting fairy tale of a child's most unforgettable Christmas,” says NJCYB Director, Christine Taylor, “Through the narration, young children can understand a fanciful story, while the rest of us realize that this is truly a story of life, love, and the holiday spirit.”
The role of Clara will be shared by Hadley DeGregoris (Independence), and Savanah Quiner (Chester). Both dancers have performed in the Nutracker for years but this marks their first appearance as Clara. The role of Fritz will be performed by Emma Crow (Hackettstown) and Anna Maria Svyda (Independence). Guest performers Shanna Heverly and Sean Patrick Hingle return to dance the Arabian Dolls and Parents. Heverly just returned from a Christmas tour where she performed for US Troops and their families stationed in Japan.
Guest artist Vitale Verterich performs as Godfather Drosselmeier and the Cavalier. After training at the Kiev Ballet School and the Moscow Academy of Art, he danced solo roles in classical and contemporary works with the Russian Chamber Ballet Theatre, and often appeared as a guest with the Bolshoi and Kirov. In 1998, Vitaly was a principal with Moscow Folk Ballet when Michael Flatley invited him to join Riverdance. Vitaly toured Europe, Australia, Canada and the U.S. with Riverdance, and performed in it on Broadway.
Elisabeth Holowchuk returns this year to dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Holowchuk is a soloist with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, in Washington, D.C. A former Hackettstown resident, Holowchuk has danced internationally with the Farrell Ballet, and performs The Nutcracker for many companies across the US.
New Jersey Civic Youth Ballet’s The Nutcracker will be performed Dec. 20 at 7 p.m., Dec. 21 at 2 and 7 p.m., and Dec. 22 at 3 p.m. in the Sitnik Theater at The Lackland Center.
Tickets are $25 for orchestra seats and $22.50 in the balcony with discounts for children. Tickets are available through the Centenary Stage Company box office by calling 908-979-0900, and online at www.centenarystageco.org. The performance is appropriate for audiences over the age of 3.