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Local students shine in ‘The Nutcracker’

By: Ellen Lampe


The Young People’s Theatre performs “The Nutcracker” at SCC on Dec. 15, 16 and 17.

On the campus of St. Charles Community College, the Young People’s Theatre will perform “The Nutcracker” at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15 and Saturday, Dec. 16; and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 17. All performances will take place in the Donald D. Shook Fine Arts Building theater, located at 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in Cottleville.

The legend of The Nutcracker comes to life in this captivating story told around the majesty of Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music. At a gala Christmas Eve party, Clara’s godfather presents her with an amazing Nutcracker in the form of a wooden soldier. Too excited to sleep, she suddenly finds The Nutcracker brought to life. He tells her he is a prince under the wicked enchantment of the Mouse King, and she joins him in a series of adventures in strange lands as he seeks to regain his throne.

Full of fantasy characters that dance their way into your heart, this timeless classic is a perfect accompaniment to the holiday season. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at stchastickets.universitytickets.com or by calling (636) 922-8233.

While “The Nutcracker” is a holiday favorite of many, some little ones may find the 2-plus hour performance of the full-length ballet a little long, especially with their own versions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. Enter the Alexandra Ballet and Logan University in Chesterfield.

For the 10th year, The Purser Center at Logan University, located at 1851 Schoettler Road, sets the scene for a one-of-a-kind telling of “The Nutcracker.” The narrated production, set to take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, is a family-friendly rendition consisting of a 30-minute first act, a 20-minute intermission and a 30-minute second act.

Alexandra Zaharias, founder of the Alexandra Ballet Company, introduced the idea of incorporating a narrator, and believes it sets her show apart.

“[The narrator] does help the children enjoy the performance more. It makes it easier for adults and older people to take their children or grandchildren,” Zaharias said.

Zaharias has been teaching ballet since 1949. She began the nonprofit Alexandra Ballet Company in 1985.

“When I was about five years old, I was very shy,” Zaharias said. Her mother enrolled her in ballet lessons as a way to help her break out of her shell. The rest was history. “It’s been a long road but I’ve enjoyed it all.”

Emily Ratliff, director of events at Logan University, said The Purser Center initially just provided the space. Four years ago, it began producing the event, a rewarding role that Ratliff said has kept her busy.

“What sets this performance apart, what I love about it, is that it’s really family-friendly. There are so many versions out there. Some are long and tedious,” Ratliff said. “This one is narrated. It’s the perfect time span. It’s a good introduction to ‘The Nutcracker’ for families. There is not another version like this in town.”

Zaharias said performers in the show also are local students, drawn from many surrounding communities. “We’re very proud to say they come from everywhere.”

Attendees to the show are in for a treat, both inside and outside the performance.

Guests can visit the Land of Sweets to enjoy refreshments and concessions before the show and during intermission. After the performance, special members of the cast will come out for pictures with visitors. Each child who attends the performance also can take home an ornament off one of the decorated Christmas Trees at the venue.

Reserved seating and general admission seating will be available for the event. Tickets can be purchased at logan.edu/nutcracker.

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