Homer ‘Nutcracker’ exits stage after 2 weekends of magic

As the holiday season approaches, the iconic Homer Nutcracker performance takes center stage once again, celebrating its remarkable 35th year. The cast consists primarily of school-aged dancers who dedicate three months of time to rehearsals and shows. The assembly of local talent converges to transform the Mariner Stage into a breathtaking showcase of community collaboration. The crew includes 68 student performers, 10 adults, 31 technical and stage crew, a makeup and hair team of six and eight people working in costumes. Many of the crew involved who are not performers are also Homer youth.

One noteworthy new addition this year was August Kilcher, a Homer High alumni, as the magical character of Uncle Drosselmeyer. His charismatic flair extends beyond the stage, charmingly engaging the audience, breaking the forth the wall at pivotal and humorous intervals.

Adding to the enchantment of Act I are two cats, performed by Haddie Kincaid and Layla O’Neal. These two captivate the audience with their delightful portrayal of feline antics. Kincaid and O’Neal brought a charming and whimsical touch to the stage, embodying the essence of playful cats through their expressive dance and interactions.

This year’s Battle scene was like no other, featuring multiple female leads. Reviving the role of Rat Queen, Anna Springer captured the audience’s attention in her remarkable performance alongside Rat King, Dayus Geysbeek. At one point Dream Clara, played by Christina Platter, lifted her sword to the audience acknowledging her new role joining the Nutcracker in the battle with the rats. In another new twist, the Nutcracker, played by Ireland Styvar, revealed herself after removing her mask.

Stepping gracefully into the spotlight is Homer High junior Tiya Martushev in the role of the Snow Queen. Martushev has been dancing since she was 9 years old and this year marks her seventh year in the production. In contrast, Homer High senior Talli Dalke leads the Ribbon dance in her second year in the production. Another junior, Sofia Loboy, graces the stage with performance in numerous pieces. Other notable performances by Homer High students include Ella Gustafson as the Shepherdess, Piper Arno who graced the stage as a statue, among other dancers, Jaelynn Kennon, Timmy Cissney, and many others. Notably, senior Johanna Wickstrom, played the role of the Sugarplum Fairy in the Second Act and fully embodied her character’s spunky personality.

Although Ireland Styvar, in the role of the Nutcracker, was injured during the Wednesday performance, the cast powered through despite her absences. Styvar returned for the final two performances regardless of her sprained ankle. The dedication of Styvar demonstrates the vibe of the whole cast as many look forward to a rest and will return to the stage again next year.

Homer News note: This review was provided by students from the Homer High School yearbook crew.