BWW Reviews: THE NUTCRACKER a Holiday Classic Runs at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center

BWW Reviews: THE NUTCRACKER a Holiday Classic Runs at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center

The Kauffman Performing Arts Center in Kansas City, Mo. is known as one of the most spectacular buildings in the metropolitan area. With its breathtaking city views, through the large slanted glass windows, little surpasses it for beauty. Through December, the phenomenal view from the windows is matched by the beauty and grace that currently plays with the Kansas City Ballet's presentation of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker.

Todd Bolender, with choreographic contributions by Devon Carney, choreographed the Kansas City production based on E.T.A. Hoffman's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Ramona Pansegrau conducts the Kansas City Symphony with music by Peter I. Tchaikovsky. Robert Fletcher designed the marvelous scenic and costumes with Associate Scenic Designer R. Keith Brumley.

The Nutcracker opens at a Christmas party given in the Dr. and Frau Silberhaus house. Their children Clara and her brother Fritz await Herr Drosselmeier, Clara's inventor Godfather. He arrives bearing many gifts, including life-sized dancing dolls, which Clara immediately wants for her own. To her disappointment, her mother tells her the magic toys are meant for children everywhere. Hearing that Drosselmeier produces a handcrafted wooden Nutcracker, which Clara immediately falls in love with. Fritz outraged that he did not receive the gift throws it on the floor breaking it and Drosselmeier attempts to save the day by mending the broken toy.

After all have gone to sleep Clara returns to the parlor to check on her beloved Nutcracker, which is now life-sized. Giant mice running across the floor, preparing to attack the two of them, confront Clara and the Nutcracker. After a short battle, Clara throws her slipper at the Mouse King, to distract him as the Nutcracker begins his attack. The Godfather returns and with a swipe of his magic cape transforms the Nutcracker into a handsome prince. The prince puts the crown of the Mouse King on Clara's head and a wonderful journey to the Kingdom of Sweets begins.

Act 2 begins as the two reach the Kingdom of Sweets where they are greeted by Angels and the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. All things in the kingdom come to life at a festival to honor Clara for her bravery in the fight against the Mouse King. Toys, drinks, and candy are marvelous as they dance through the festival. The crowning joy is the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier portrayed by Laura Hunt & Lamin Pereira dos Santos.

Missouri is known as the Show Me State and the Kansas City Ballet production of The Nutcracker does just that. It shows the Kansas City audience that it is filled with some of the most talented dancers not only in Missouri but also in the country. The choreography is gentle, graceful, and as spectacular as the venue itself. Kansas City is given a marvelous Christmas gift that begins to unwrap as the curtain goes up. Each dance, scene, character, and movement takes it to its conclusion, enchanting the audience as they discover they have just seen holiday magic.

On Friday December 12, Leah Reiter was magnificent in the role of Clara and Dillon Malinski fantastic as the Nutcracker prince. Logan Pachciarz gives an astonishing performance as Herr Drosselmeier.

The holidays bring out bowls of candy, fudge, decorations, and of course presents. Families should reward themselves yearly with the present of tickets to the Kansas City production of The Nutcracker. The Nutcracker by the Kansas City ballet continues at the Kaufman Center for Performing Arts through Christmas Eve. Purchase tickets by visiting the Kansas City Ballet website or by calling the box office at 816-931-2232. Photo courtesy of the Kansas City Ballet.

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