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Cincinnati Zoo’s Famous Hippo Fiona Joins the Cast of The Nutcracker

November 14th, 2018

The Nutcracker Presented by Frisch’s Big Boy, now in its 45th annual season, returns to the Music Hall from December 13 through 24, 2018.

This year, the production has grown in a big way! Joining the cast is a brand-new character, based on the world’s most famous hippo – ‘Fiona.’ Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden collaborated on the character development for the creative partnership.

“What could be more Cincinnati than the famous Fiona dancing in the region’s favorite holiday tradition,” said Cincinnati Ballet Artistic Director Victoria Morgan! “Our wardrobe team spent four weeks and nearly 100 hours designing and constructing the custom-made costume, modeled after the real Fiona.” The elegant hippo stands more than six-feet tall, donned with a pink, multi-layered tulle tutu that measures 60 inches around at the waist.

Each year, The Nutcracker provides the rare opportunity for young dancers to star in the featured roles of Clara and her brother, Fritz, along with dozens of additional roles for local young performers. This year, Fiona was old enough to audition for a role in The Nutcracker Kidscast and Mom, Bibi, is so proud she’s been cast in a role! Fiona will be rehearsing with the rest of the dancers starting today!

“Fiona the hippo is a graceful diva in her pool at Hippo Cove,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard. “I can’t wait to see the moves that Victoria has choreographed for the Fiona character! I’m sure this addition to the cast will be a big hit with all audiences.”

The Nutcracker is a classic holiday tale that follows the imaginative story of Clara, a little girl who embarks on a dreamy journey after she receives a nutcracker as a gift on Christmas Eve. With her Nutcracker Prince, Clara travels through the Land of Sweets, meeting colorful and exciting characters along the way.

Frisch’s Big Boy and Cincinnati Ballet have a long history of collaborating to present the production, dating back to the first Frisch’s Presents The Nutcracker in 1974. Frisch’s Restaurants Inc. championed that production through a generous donation and has sponsored the production every subsequent year.

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