“The Nutcracker”

 ***** For decades and decades, families have thrilled to the amazing story of a special holiday treat- “The Nutcracker”. For many it is the ballet or the movie version that has thrilled little girls for two hundred years. The dazzling music of Tchaikovsky has now been transformed into a special theater for young audeinces at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. This new one hour version with dialogue and song added to the magic of dance. Directed and choreographed by Matt Raftery, who truly creates magic on the small stage and does so with very little in the way of a set- basic props (Casey Schillo) and marvelous costumes ( Nancy Missimi, who always creates the most fabulous “fairy Tale costumes),, spectacular lighting ( Brian Hoehne) and sound (Bob Gilmartin) make the technical side of this production perfect. The musical portion of the production is led by the talented conductor, Patti Garwood and her musicians, limited in numbers, but gigantic in quality. And then we have the cast of players. The dedicated actors/singers/dancers who bring the magic from the script to the stage. Yes, the lighting, sound, costumes and the props are keys to a show being well accepted, but in reality it is the direction ( another great job by Raftery and the performers. A sensational, fun loving cast that makes the children in the audience believe!

As usual, when it comes to theater for young audiences, I try to bring a child or two in order to give the view of the age group that the show is geared for. This being more of a “girlie-girl” play, my grandson, Adam, passed the baton to his younger sisters, five year old Sarah and 3 ( and a 1/2) year old Rebecca ( pictured with characters Marie ( Dara Cameron) and Drosselmeyer ( Rob Rahn).

The story is of course about Uncle Drosselmeyer ( Rahn) on Christmas Eve, bringing a special doll to Marie ( Cameron)- a Nutcracker with a magic crown. He also brings a doll to her brother fritz ( another solid performance by George Keating) The Mouseking , who as it turns out has no magic crown. That night, Marie falls asleep and in her dream, she finds that her Nutcracker has become real, but as it turns out, so have all the other dolls, including the Mouse King who feels that the crown should be his. Keating takes over the character of the Mouse King and with his two mice aids, Joe(Steven Shellhardt) and Shmo ( Norm Boucher) set off on a chase through all the special places in the music. It is of great importance that they find the Sugar Plum Fairy( the lovely Holly Stauder)who has the power to make a doll into a human.

This is an extraordinary story, told in dance and music in less than an hour and watching the kids in the opening performance audience, seeing the sparkle in their eyes an dthe awe in their faces, makes even an adult feel the warmth of this beautiful piece. I always ask the kids about their favorite parts. rebecca ( who loves wearing a Tu-Tu around the house) loved the ballet dances, in particular as performed by Clara ( the enchanting Lauren Blane) and others Sam Rogers, Amanda Tanguay, and Zach Grey. Sarah, on the other hand, a dancer herself , was mesmerized from start to end. She loved every second of the production with dara Cameron/Marie being her VERY Favorite.

I watched her closely and watched her eyes light up when the dream sequence began. I am not sure , but I don’t think she even blinked until the production eneded. One of the beautiful parts of these productions is the cast goes on stage and answers questions from the kids in the audience, and you would be amazed at the quality of the questions- BRAVO, young audience members.

“The Nutcracker” will continue at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire located at 10 Marriott Drive ( just East of Route 21/Milwaukee Avenue) and South of Route 22/Half Day Road) through December 28th with performances as listed at the end of this review.
Tickets are a mere $15 and there is plenty of free parking. To purchase your tickets, call the box office at 847-634-0200 or visitwww.MarriottTheatre.com To see what others are saying, visitwww.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “The Nutcracker”

Source: www.aroundthetownchicago.com 

Wed, Nov 20: 10:00am
Thu, Nov 21: 10:00am
Fri, Nov 22: 10:00am
Sat, Nov 23: 10:00am
Tue, Nov 26: 10:00am
Fri, Nov 29: 10:00am
Sat, Nov 30: 10:00am & 12:30pm
Sun, Dec 1: 10:00am
Tue, Dec 3: 10:00am
Wed, Dec 4: 10:00am
Thu, Dec 5: 10:00am
Fri, Dec 6: 10:00am
Sat, Dec 7: 10:00am & 12:30pm
Sun, Dec 8: 10:00am
Tue, Dec 10: 10:00am
Wed, Dec 11: 10:00am
Thu, Dec 12: 10:00am
Fri, Dec 13: 10:00am
Sat, Dec 14: 10:00am & 12:30pm
Sun, Dec 15: 10:00am
Tue, Dec 17: 10:00am
Wed, Dec 18: 10:00am
Thu, Dec 19: 10:00am & 12:30pm
Fri, Dec 20: 10:00am & 12:30pm
Sat, Dec 21: 10:00am & 12:30pm
Mon, Dec 23: 10:00am & 12:30pm
Thu, Dec 26: 10:00am
Fri, Dec 27: 10:00am
Sat, Dec 28: 10:00am