A timeless family tradition | December 14-24
Our nationally-celebrated holiday tradition returns to Music Hall after 11 years! Embark on a journey with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, and follow the Snow Queen and her King to the Land of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier are waiting to embrace you with treats and exotic celebrations.
Frisch’s Big Boy Presents the Nutcracker Student Matinees were made possible in part by a grant from The H.B., E.W. and F.R. Luther Charitable Foundation, Fifth Third bank and Narley L. Haley, Co-Trustees.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Cincinnati Ballet Company Dancers
Scenic Design by John Ezell
Costume Design by Carrie Robbins
Lighting Design by Trad A Burns
Our story begins on Christmas Eve. There is a flurry of activity as the maids, butlers and chef prepare for a Christmas Eve party where friends and family of the Stahlbaum’s will gather to open presents and celebrate the holiday. The Stahlbaum’s son Fritz and their daughter Clara try their best to be helpful, but that is not without its complications.
The Stahlbaum living room is bright and festive with the most beautiful Christmas tree imaginable. All the guests and children are having a marvelous time dancing, laughing and opening gifts when suddenly, Herr Drosselmeyer bursts into the room. He is an older, mysterious doll maker, who can surprise all with unexpected acts of magic. With the swipe of his cloak, dresses change colors and dancing dolls appear. One doll is so beautiful that Clara bravely asks if she could have the doll for Christmas. But Mother Stahlbaum is clear that this will not be possible. Clara is sad until the magical Drosselmeyer places the most colorful and adorable Nutcracker in her hands. She joyfully dances around the room showing off her splendid gift. Fritz wishes that Drosselmeyer had given him the Nutcracker and in his frustration, grabs it from Clara and breaks it. Immediately, the precocious Fritz is scolded by his father and sent off to bed. Herr Drosselmeyer, watching from across the room, comes to the rescue and mends the Nutcracker. The festivities continue well into the night, highlighted with a stately dance initiated by Clara’s grandparents. As the evening comes to an end, and the guests depart to their own homes, Drosselmeyer is the last to bid the family farewell. Just before heading up to bed, Herr Stahlbaum brings out one last gift. He fastens a beautiful and elegant necklace around his wife’s neck and there is one last embrace before the parlor grows quiet and dark.
Clara, with candle in hand, sneaks down the stairs to check on her beloved Nutcracker. She finds herself in the drawing room and is startled by the sound of scampering feet and the flickering of tiny eyes. Clara hears the chimes of the big grandfather clock striking midnight as a band of mischievous mice try to steal away her precious Nutcracker. Drosselmeyer appears out of the darkness and with the wave of his arms, the mice scurry as the tree, parlor furniture and toys begin to grow. A terrible battle ensues between the mice and the toy soldiers. The Mouse King appears frightening everyone. The Nutcracker, having escaped the clutches of the mice, has grown to life-size and challenges the Mouse King to a duel. It is a fierce fight but the Mouse King is distracted by Clara’s imaginary friend, Minnie, the poodle, allowing the Nutcracker to wound his foe. As the mice scamper away and the parlor once again grows quiet, Clara sees her Nutcracker magically transform into a handsome prince. He takes her hand as they begin their journey into a land of swirling snowflakes. In a flurry of transformation they find themselves in a magical snow forest. There, they meet the noble Snow Queen & King who dance with an entire snowstorm of flakes. Just as the storm subsides, a beautiful flying ornament descends to take Clara and her Nutcracker Prince to the Land of Sweets.
As the curtain opens on Act II, we see a delightful assortment of filigree frosted cakes. It is the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Kingdom, an international land attracting people from all over the world because it is the sweetest place on the entire planet. All of the characters from the Land of Sweets are frolicking and playing together when suddenly, their Queen, the Sugar Plum Fairy, arrives. All bow to honor her and her cupcake and gingerbread boy attendants. The Sugar Plum Fairy graces them with a special dance when suddenly an enormous flying ornament appears carrying Clara and the Nutcracker Prince. The Sugar Plum Fairy welcomes them and they are treated to the kingdom’s most sumptuous delights. Clara is reunited with Minnie, her poodle, and together they recount the fierce battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The entire kingdom cheers as the Nutcracker reenacts his victory. Each character honors them with a special dance. As the celebration continues, the Land of Sweets transforms before their eyes into a beautiful garden full of flowers with flowing petals and one brilliant pink rose. Finally, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cotton Candy Cavalier do a grand dance as a special treat for Clara. All the characters join together for a rousing finale. As their dancing concludes, the flying ornament descends to take Clara and her Prince high over the mountains, further and further away from the Land of Sweets. Suddenly, Clara opens her eyes and she finds herself at home in the parlor room with her imaginary friend by her side and her beloved Nutcracker watching over her, always.
The Nutcracker is sponsored by
The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of The H.B., E.W. and F.R. Luther Charitable Foundation, Fifth Third Bank and Narley L. Haley, Co-Trustees.