BWW Review: BALLET HAWAII'S NUTCRACKER at Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall
The holidays simply aren't complete without a delightful Hawaiian-style production of The Nutcracker. Ballet Hawaii celebrates the imaginary adventures of a young girl and a prince with its 40th Anniversary Season and this unforgettable performance.
In 1847, Washington Place arose on the outskirts of Honolulu, the new capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, then ruled by King Kamehameha III, son of Kamehameha the Great. It was built as the personal residence of the well-known American trader, Captain John Dominis and his wife Mary Dominis.
The inspiration for this special performance came when the creative team learned that Mary Dominis held a Christmas Eve children's party at Washington Place in 1858. At the party, Hawaii's first Christmas tree was lit with candles as Saint Nicholas passed out candies and gifts for all.
Audiences can anticipate all the traditional holiday dance performances but with historical characterizations of Washington Place resident Mary Dominis and Hawaii's beloved Queen Lili'uokalani. In this production, the flowers are Crown, Hibiscus and Plumeria. The birds are I'iwi and new island animal performers are introduced, such as the Honu (sacred Hawaiian Turtle). The toy soldier uniforms are patterned after those of the Royal Guard and the famous waltz of the snowflakes takes place high upon the slopes of Mauna Kea. It truly is an enchantment to behold!
Megan Fairchild dazzles as the Sugar Plum. Her flawless technique and command of the stage leave ballet goers in awe. Megan joins the Ballet Hawaii Ensemble for this limited four-show run from the New York City Ballet. (Fairchild made her Broadway stage debut playing the role of Ivy Smith in the 2014 revival of On the Town, for which she received the 2015 Theatre World Award.)
Also in this production from the New York City Ballet is Joaquin De Luz as the Cavalier. Together with Megan, Joaquin has this other worldliness to him, as he seems to soar across the stage. (De Luz created an organization called 'Joaquin's Tour de Force', as small charitable program that targets schools, hospitals, and children's charities. It helps young, inner-city kids experience ballet by giving them free tickets to performances.)
Lesley Rausch and Lucien Postlewaite from Pacific Northwest Ballet - join the impressive 165-dance ensemble from Ballet Hawaii, accompanied by The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra.