Mainstage brings the magic of ‘The Nutcracker’ to oconomowoc

Ella Sivak and Alex Vrba, shown here in MainStage Academy of Dance 2017 “The Nutcracker,” will also be featured in this year’s MainStage production of Tchaikovsky’s classic at the Oconomowoc Arts Center, Dec. 7-9. Sivak will reprise here role as Clara while Vrba will play the Rat King and other roles

Ella Sivak and Alex Vrba, shown here in MainStage Academy of Dance 2017 “The Nutcracker,” will also be featured in this year’s MainStage production of Tchaikovsky’s classic at the Oconomowoc Arts Center, Dec. 7-9. Sivak will reprise here role as Clara while Vrba will play the Rat King and other roles

 
 

 Four delightful shows this weekend at the Oconomowoc Arts Center

By MARILYN JOZWIK

Published Dec. 4, 2018

It’s been over 125 years since Peter Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” was first performed on Dec. 18, 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia. And the magic of the music and dance continues to this day.

“The Nutcracker” contains some of the most recognizable holiday tunes, including the rousing “March of the Toy Soldiers” and the exquisite “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.” The ballet creates a land of fantasy like no other – one that delights all ages year after year.

This weekend MainStage Academy of Dance/Bray Ballet Company will bring this delightful, professional-quality production to the Oconomowoc Performing Arts Center with its toy soldiers, marching mice, dancing flowers and snowflakes and the lively terpsichorean journey through various countries in Act 2. It is the ninth year for the production.

Dates and times for the show are 7 p.m. Friday, Dec 7; 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec 8; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9. For ticket and other information visit www.theoac.net

The show is being directed by MainStage Artistic Director Eddy Bray.

The story centers around Clara, who receives a special Nutcracker doll from her uncle during a party at her family’s elegant home. Soon, dolls and toys magically come to life. When Clara awakens from a dream, she sees the Nutcracker, now life-sized, battling an equal-sized Mouse King along with his troops.  The Nutcracker is victorious and Clara is whisked to a fantastic place to see the Snow Queen, King and Snowflakes perform. In Act 2, Clara is treated to lively and exotic dances from all around the globe, including the enchanting “Sugar Plum Fairy.”

I was able to watch a video of last year’s MainStage show that featured Ella Sivak as Clara, a role she will reprise in this year’s MainStage show. Joe Huberty will be dancing the role of the Nutcracker/Prince.

Last year’s Nutcracker in the MainStage production I viewed was Alex Vrba, who will be performing a variety of roles in this year’s MainStage production, including the Rat King; the Arabian Dancer in a pas de deux with Chloe Tessmer; and one of three Russian dancers, alongside fellow company dancers Sam Huberty and Max Guin.

Sivak and Vrba were a stunning pairing in last year’s MainStage show. Sivak’s performance was light as air, ethereal and delicate, while Vrba combined strength and grace while maintaining elegant postures.

Sam Huberty, also from Bray Ballet Company, will play the uncle, Herr Drosselmeyer.

The Sugar Plum Fairy will be played by Reina Johnson and the Snow Queen will be played by Lauren Thompson, also from Bray Ballet Company. Caroline Packee will be dancing the Reed Flute.

The remainder of the performers will be dancers, ages 8 to 18, from the MainStage Academy of Dance.

Vrba will also be performing in Dance Wisconsin’s presentation of “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 15 and 16 at the Wisconsin Union Theater in Madison.

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