BWW Reviews: The Colorado Ballet Shines with Their 53rd Annual Production of THE NUTCRACKER

The Colorado Ballet presents the 53rd annual production of THE NUTCRACKER dancing across the Ellie Caulkins Opera House now through December 28th. THE NUTCRACKER features memorable characters including Clara, the Nutcracker Prince and the Sugarplum Fairy as well as dazzling costumes and scenery by José Varona. This holiday tradition features classic choreography after Marius Petipa paired with Tchaikovsky's score performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. In addition, more than 60 students from the Colorado Ballet Academy will join Colorado Ballet's professional company on stage as polichinelles, party children, soldiers, angels, and sugarplum attendants.

If I could choose one word to describe this fantastic production and time honored tradition from the Colorado Ballet, it would be CHARMING! This exceptional company did not miss a beat, a step or a moment to shine and kept this annual highlight of their diverse season fresh, energetic, and full of Christmas wonder and joy. The lead roles are double cast to feature the talents of this large company. My evening featured Dana Benton as Clara, Adam Still as the Nutcracker Prince, Chandra Kuykendall as the Sugarplum Fairy and Domenico Luciano as the Cavalier. I loved the inventive ways that the company members owned their characters with fun and diverse movements and gestures to that made their characters unique (this was apparent especially during the Christmas Party in Act One). I also appreciated the Company's smart decision of utilizing the young talents of the Colorado Ballet Academy bringing a youthful and energetic quality to the show. This show left me transfixed from beginning to end and the Colorado Ballet should be proud of another superb production of a classic.

The choreography by Martin Fredmann and Sandra Brown was wonderfully diverse and energetic and featured the talents of the dancers while keeping this classic story fresh and engaging. The sensible staging, by Lorita Travaglia and Sandra Brown was thoughtful and good, especially with such a large company and everyone was given a chance to shine and the show flowed effortlessly. Jose Varona pulled double duty in designing the scenery and the costumes and gave the audience a grand spectacle with his larger than life sets, gorgeous backdrops, and gorgeous costumes that elevated this production and were absolutely stellar. I especially loved the mesmerizing scene, Snow at the end of Act One and the costumes for the Land of Sweets were simply marvelous. Lighting by designer Todd Elmer was also excellent and illuminated all of these fantastic dancers. Artistic Director Gil Boggs should be proud of his amazing company and should be commended for making this annual classic ballet a time-honored holiday tradition in Colorado

More On: Dana Benton, Adam Still, Sandra Brown, Jose Varona, Todd Elmer,

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Michael Mulhern Michael Mulhern has lived in Denver and been active in it's theater scene for over 10 years. He is originally from Wiesbaden, Germany and graduated with a BFA in Theater Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Currently he performs in one to two shows a year and is a proud member of the Denver Gay Men's Chorus. Some of Michael's favorite performances include - Lend Me a Tenor, Guys and Dolls, The Shadow Box, Buried Child, and Jeffrey. He is proud to represent Denver and it's growing theater community on!

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