The Carolina Ballet is gearing up for its annual presentation of Nutcracker. And this year, the show will be even more magical than usual.
Magician/illusionist Rick Thomas, one of the country's top magicians, has created illusions for Carolina Ballet's new version of Nutcracker. The magic happens in the first act, which begins on Christmas Eve as Clara's family prepares for the big party.
In the Carolina Ballet's new version, the story is the same. But the action is much different. Herr Drosselmeyer, Clara's godfather, is now a master magician who, for instance, shrinks his nephew small enough to pack him away in his valise and has him reappear when Drosselmeyer arrives at the annual Christmas party, where the classic story unfolds.
There's more magic planned. And I hope to share some more details over the next few weeks.
After Thomas conceived the illusions for the show, Bill Smith of Magic Ventures in Las Vegas built them. Carolina Ballet Artistic Director Robert Weiss, and Jeff A.R. Jones, resident scenery designer, along with the two dancers who play the role of Herr Drosselmeyer, Marin Boieru and Dameon Nagel, spent a week with Thomas to learn the secrets. (Full disclosure: WRAL-TV is sponsoring the magic).
The Carolina Ballet also is giving the production a general face lift with some new scenery. But, with all the changes, the storyline and choreography have not been changed.
“All the favorite Nutcracker dances, Waltz of the Flowers, Candy Canes, Ribbon Candy, etc., that everyone has come to expect from Carolina Ballet, will remain the same and only be enhanced by the magic and scenery," Weiss said.
Carolina Ballet is planning 20 performances next month. It premieres in Chapel Hill at Memorial Hall for three shows on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4. Then it moves to the Durham Performing Arts Center for three shows on Dec. 10 and Dec. 11; and finally it moves to Raleigh's Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts where 14 shows are planned from Dec. 16 to Dec. 24.
Tickets are on sale now. Prices start around $30 for tickets at the DPAC and $25 for tickets for the Raleigh performances.
And, you guessed it, I do have a ticket deal!
The code CLARA will give you a 20 percent discount on some seats for the following performances: 7:30 p.m., Dec. 16; 7:30 p.m., Dec. 17; 7:30 p.m., Dec. 20; 2 p.m., Dec. 21; 2 p.m., Dec. 22; 7:30 p.m., Dec. 22; 7:30 p.m., Dec. 23; and 1 p.m., Dec. 24.
For more information and tickets, go to Carolina Ballet's website. You'll also find information about this weekend's performance of Cinderella.