NBT’s elevated ‘Nutcracker’ returns

This year’s Nutcracker should be a stunner — in more ways than one.
Photo: Virginia Trudeau

The Nutcracker December 14-22, times vary, $29-$175. Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall, 749-2000.

If your idea of The Nutcracker is a tired rehashing of the annual ballet designed to inspire wide-eyed kids, then maybe the “creative energy is in the hands of the artistic director” notion has been lost in the holiday shuffle. For the second year, Nevada Ballet Theatre artistic director James Canfield elevates the magic of the ETA Hoffmann tale with his “Tim Burton meets Dr. Seuss” approach.

Created specifically for the Smith Center, the $2 million production unites Canfield’s contemporary/classical choreography with a life-size, four-story Victorian dollhouse, a 30-foot Christmas tree and an airborne rocking horse that sails above the stage. The production debuted last year with new costumes, stage props (including the eight-room dollhouse, complete with a spiral staircase) and a live orchestra—something the company had been without at its previous stage homes.

Of the 10 performances, six will include a live orchestra under the direction of Jack Gaughan (four will be presented without an orchestra at a reduced rate). The Nutcracker is also one of only three NBT Reynolds Hall productions this season and continues the Tchaikovsky theme, following November performances of Swan Lake’s Act 2 and Sleeping Beauty’s Act 3.

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