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The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County Presents THE NUTCRACKER, 11/29-12/30

By: Nov. 15, 2012
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Following 2011's The Sparrow and last season's sold-out-hit Death and Harry Houdini, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is proud to partner with the famed House Theatre of Chicago for a third consecutive season to present a new holiday-themed production, THE NUTCRACKER, A MAGICAL NEW PLAY, playing November 29 through December 30 in the intimate Carnival Studio Theater (Ziff Ballet Opera House). Written by House company members Jake Minton and Phillip Klapperich, and featuring original music by Jefferson Award-winning composer Kevin O'Donnell, THE NUTCRACKER, A MAGICAL NEW PLAY is a "riveting reinvention" (The Chicago Sun-Times) of the beloved holiday classic by E.T.A. Hoffmann and boasts an in-the-round set perfect for up-close enchanting experiences.

The play is part of the Arsht Center's Theater Up Close series in the Carnival Studio Theater which features artistic collaborations from stellar local theater ensembles and nationally acclaimed theater companies.

Tickets to THE NUTCRACKER, A MAGICAL NEW PLAY are $45*, and may be purchased through the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at

"It is a great pleasure to work with the stellar House Theatre of Chicago for a third consecutive season," said Scott Shiller, Executive Vice President of the Adrienne Arsht Center. "Earlier this year, 'Death and Harry Houdini' captivated audiences with its compelling storyline and jaw-dropping illusion acts. Now, we're eager to up the ante with The House's hip and magical play 'The Nutcracker' – South Florida fans may think they know the classic story, but this ingenious reimagined tale is far from the ballet. The House's 'The Nutcracker' is a holiday story about family, for all generations!"

Set in modern day, The House's fantastical expansion of this holiday classic is not a ballet, but rather a play-tremendously uplifting and emotional-about one loving family's recovery from a terrible and surprising loss. Based on the original E.T.A. Hoffmann story, the play centers on young Clara's journey to save Christmas and bring her broken family back together-making this production a splendidly empowering holiday story and a wholly different take on the classic tale! This contemporary holiday theater piece weaves together riveting dialogue, astonishing puppetry, original songs and spellbinding spectacle to tell a heartwarming, darkly moving story of magic and hope.

THE NUTCRACKER, A MAGICAL NEW PLAY's cast features talent from South Florida and Chicago. Local actress Renata Eastlick, most recently seen as Josephine in the acclaimed production of Ruined at the GableStage, will take on dual roles as Martha, Clara's mother, and the Really Scary Rat; Mary Sansone (City Theatre's world premiere of Camp Kappawanna: A Lisa Loeb Musical) takes on the role of young Clara; and the ensemble cast includes Anne Chamberlain and Mark Della Ventura, an ALLIANCE THEATRE Lab company member and Carbonell Award-nominated actor.

Chicago-based actors include Josh Odor (Steep Theater's Moment and LiveWire's Oohrah) who will play David, Clara's Father, and Quite Scary Rat; Joey Stone (Pippin, Cabaret) who plays the titular role of Fritz, the Nutcracker; Joey Steakley (House Theatre of Chicago company member; the Arsht Center's production of The Sparrow) will play Hugo, the toy robot; Sarah Bockel (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's Sunday in the Park with George; regionally with The Lost Colony and Post Playhouse) who appears as Phoebe, the doll; Zeke Sulkes (previously seen in The House's The Iron Stag King: Part One and Rose and the Rime) makes a playful appearance as Monkey; and John Wilson (Steppenwolf Theatre Company's To Kill a Mockingbird) who rounds out the cast as Drosselmeyer and the Really Quite Scary Rat.

THE NUTCRACKER, A MAGICAL NEW PLAY is directed and choreographed by Tommy Rapley, a House Theatre of Chicago company member who has directed and/or choreographed 24 works (The Sparrow, The Valentine Trilogy) of original theater in the last 10 years. The play's creative team also features additional House talent such as scenic design by Collette Pollard (Death and Harry Houdini, The Donkey Show); costume design by Debbie Baer and Mieka van der Ploeg; lighting design by Lee Keenan; and sound design by Jeff Award-winning designer Michael Griggs and Harrison Adams. House company member, Kevin O'Donnell, leads a quartet of Miami instrumentalists though the show's live, lush, stirring original score. O'Donnell, an award-winning, Chicago-based composer and percussionist, will perform with the show each night.

The House Theatre of Chicago's original play version of THE NUTCRACKER, A MAGICAL NEW PLAY first premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre in 2007 under the Visiting Company Initiative, and enjoyed highly-acclaimed new productions at The House in 2010 and 2011, and is now playing in a simultaneous production in Chicago for 2012.

Upcoming 2012-13 Theater Up Close season performances include Zoetic Stage's All New People by Zach Braff (January 10-27, 2013); ALLIANCE THEATRE Lab's Brothers Beckett by David Michael Sirios (March 7-24, 2013); and Zoetic Stage's Savannah Disputation (April 11-28, 2013).


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