Dancers perform The Nutcracker in Homer, Alaska in 2011. (Homer News file photo by Adam Bauer)

Dancers perform The Nutcracker in Homer, Alaska in 2011. (Homer News file photo by Adam Bauer)

Homer’s The Nutcracker on deck this weekend

For 30 years, Homer has brought the passion and wonder of “The Nutcracker” ballet to the small community stage for peninsula residents to enjoy. This year is no different.

The local performance — which celebrated its 30th year in production in 2018 — often puts a unique spin on the classic 1892, two-act ballet. Started locally in 1989 by Jill Berryman and her sister Jennifer Strelkauskas, the ballet brings together youth, parents and community members in an all-hands-on-deck performance.

This year’s “Nutcracker” will be shown at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14 and at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. All performances are at the Mariner Theatre in Homer High School.

Advance tickets cost $15 per adult and $10 per child and are available at the Homer Bookstore and River City Books in Soldotna. Tickets purchased at the door are $20 per adult and $15 per child.

Other than guest “Nutcracker” performer Lennon Chahivec-Schneider, who arrives from California to play the principal male role, the production will feature dozens of Homerites both young and old.

Directed by Breezy Berryman and Jennifer Norton, this year’s Nutcracker pays homage to several of the traditional dances and music, Berryman said. At the same time, as can usually be said of the Homer production, there’s a bit of a twist. Berryman said she and Norton came up with an idea to combine the Story of the Hard Nut with other modern fairytales.

The Story of the Hard Nut is a story within the novel “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” written in 1816 by E.T.A. Hoffman, which The Nutcracker musical is based on. In Homer’s version, the character Drosselmeyer has just completed his novel, “The Tale of the Hard Nut” and is on his way to show it to his niece and nephew when he drops it, along with a book of fairytales.

A witch happens upon the scene and decides to get into some mischief by using her magic to combine the two books.

“Casting an evil spell on the books she changes the course of the stories,” an excerpt from the production’s program reads. “Now all the fairytales that were written are combined with ‘The Tale of the Hard Nut!’ Will Drosselmeyer be able to separate the books, put the characters back in their own tales where they belong, tell his story, free the Nutcracker and help his niece find true love? Will there be a happily ever after for all?”

Thus, familiar characters from other childhood stories, like Snow White, Puss-N-Boots, Hansel and Rapunzel will also be dancing through the production along with the more traditional Nutcracker characters.

The aim is a blend of the traditional and the unexpected.

“We like to keep with a lot of the traditional music and a lot of the traditional ballet dances throughout,” Berryman said. “And then we like to switch it up a little bit with a few dances here and there.”

Other dance styles to be included this year alongside ballet are hip hop and modern dance. The production will also feature aerial silk skills by local silk artist Bridget Doran.

2019 ‘Nutcracker’ Cast:

Mother Stahlbaum: Emilie Springer; Party Parents: Pam Soderholm, Reece Cowan, Brent Guarin; Red Riding Hood: Ireland Styvar; Fritz: Tyson Walker; Young Snow White: Ayda Henry; Youngest Sister: Aurora Springer; The Queen Witch Of Snow White: Daisy Kettle; Party Kids: Swift Blackstock, Daniel Christ, Timmy Cissney, Marina Co, Nico Erickson, Hadassah Vance, Hayden Kumfer, Christina Platter, Rainey Sundheim; Drosselmeyer: Aaron Walbrecher; Drosselmeir’s Assistant: Lukas Renner; Puss-N-Boots: Liam James, Aaron Walbrecher; Colony Of Cats: Sylvia Clemens, Frida Renner, Johanna Wickstrom; A Big Present: Alectra Miller, Alexix Miller; Hard Nut Masquerade Nutcracker: Karma Wilcox; Purlipate: Tiya Martushev; Queen Rat: Ava Halstead; Town Mouse – Country Mouse: Emma Cissney, Cecily Shavelson; Mice: Arwyn Linder, Ingrid Pederson, Lupin Piedra-Pine, Janice Platter, Lila Shavelson, Max Trejo, Sulla Trejo, Skyra Martin; Dish And Spoon-Cat, Cow, Moon, Little Dog: Piper Arno, Aria Palma, Ceilidh Platter, Ahnali “Ani” Cook, Ella Gustafson, Bella Loboy; Rats: Liam James, Daisy Kettle; Hansel: Tyson Walker; Rats And Soldiers: Karma Wilcon, Christina Platter, Rainey Sundheim, Audrey Wallace, Grace Berumen, Thea James, Jaelynne Kennon, Sofia Loboy, Alectra Miller, Anna Springer; Little Rats And Soldiers: Timmy Cassney, Alexander Brock, Gulliver Norton, Daniel Christ; Beanstalk Children: Emma Cissney, Isabella Clarke, Harper Kumfer, Cecily Shavelson, Aurora Spinger, Grayce Geagel, Ilsa Golden; Golden Goose: Cayte Matthews; Hunter: Lennon Chahivec-Schneider; Snow Queen: Sophie Morin; Ice Princess: Aiyana Cline; Snowflake Princess: Hannah Vance; Ice Crystals: Ruby Allen, Daisy Kettle, Adelyn McCorison, Ava Halstead, Hailey Radford; Snowflakes: Llena Bice, Sylvia Clemens, Neviya Reed, Frida Renner, Johanna Wickstrom, Hannah Stonorov, Ireland Styvar; Silk Beanstalk: Jaelynn Kennon, Swift Blackstock; Little Bo Peep: Neviya Reed; Shepherdesses: Tiya Martushev, Karma Wilcox; Lambs: Arwyn Linder, Ingrid Pederson, Janice Platter, Lila Shavelson, Max Trejo, Sulla Trejo; Baa Baa Black Sheep: Lupine Piedra-Pine; Wolves: Alectra Miller, Alexis Miller, Nikolai Moseley, Hannah Stonorov; 7 Dwarves: Daniel Christ, Timmy Cissney, Alexander Brock, Gulliver Norton, Nico Erickson, Nikolai Mosely; Ginger Bread Kids: Piper Arno, Aria Palma, Ceilidh Platter, Ahnali “Ani” Cook, Bella Loboy, Swift Blackstock, Marina Co, Hayden Kumfer, Ella Gustafson, Ayda Henry, Izzy Clark; Queen Witch: Daisy Kettle; Aladdin: Liam James; Genie: Adelyn McCorison; Dragon Princess: Hailey Radford; Rapunzels: Aiyana Cline, Ava Halstead; 12 Dancing Princesses: Jaelynn Kennon, Christina Platter, Rainey Sundheim, Audrey Wallace, Grace Berumen, Thea James, Sofia Loboy, Hadassah Vance, Anna Springer, Alexis Miller, Alectra Miller; Young Princess: Sylvia Clemens; Russian Folk Dancers: Llena Bice, Karma Wilcox, Tiya Martushev, Hannah Stonorov, Frida Renner, Johanna Wickstrom; Sugar Plum Faerie: Hannah Vance; Sugar Plum Faeries: Sylvia Clemens, Frida Renner, Johanna Wickstrom, Hannah Stonorov, Llena Bice, Neviya Reed, Ava Halstead, Aiyana Cline, Daisy Kettle, Hailey Radford, Adelyn McCorison, Sophie Morin.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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