Orpheum Theatre | Minneapolis, Minnesota
The much loved and much sought after ballet of any season, Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet comes to Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis on Thursday 30th November 2023. The Russian ballet was fashioned after the composer, Tchaikovsky, had read an 1816 publication of a short story entitled The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Throughout the ages, the story line, and the names of the characters, have changed a little from the original, but most productions have kept to the script. The ballet is in two parts, and is based on the triumph of good over evil, and an ending in forever after love. There are adults, children, mystery men, a battle of good triumphing over evil, gingerbread soldiers and fairies. Just the stuff of fairy tales, that make for award-winning theatrical performances.
From the pen of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, in 1892, and an adaption of an 1816 publication of the same name, comes one of the most loved and most sought after ballets of the Christmas season. The premier of the Nutcracker and subsequent performances, in the 1890s, were not favorably received. Its popularity slowly climbed the ladder of success until by the 1960s, the production has openly been admitted, by all the major American ballet companies, that the production, single-handedly, now contributes as much as 40 % of the theaters’ annual revenues from the relatively short seasonal runs.
The story tells of the gathering of some friends and family, all decorating the Christmas tree, in the family room on Christmas Eve. As the clock strike8 o clock, and as the children have been given their Christmas presents, the room is ominously quiet as the room is entered by a mysterious man. The man is known to be a talented toy maker and also happens to be Clara’s godfather, and his name is Drosselmeyer.
Drosselmayer has brought with him, Christmas presents for the children, and among the presents is a little wooden nutcracker, carved in the shape of a man. Clara immediately falls in love with the nutcracker and is distraught when her younger brother accidentally breaks it. Her godfather reassures her that the nutcracker is easily repaired, and the children as soon sent upstairs to bed. With the evening coming on to midnight, Cara, unable to sleep, tiptoes downstairs to check on her new nutcracker.
The clock strikes midnight and everything becomes unimaginable. The nutcracker changes into a man, the room is filled with little gingerbread soldiers and hundreds of mice – all in a battle, with mice eating gingerbread men. In the middle of the battle, Clara sees her newly transformed man being wounded, and what looks like an evil king of the mice, advance on her man to finally slay him. Clara, throws one of her bed slippers at the evil king, distracting him and allowing the nutcracker man, to stab and kill the king. The battle is over and all the mice scurry to escape and run away.
When next Clara sees her man, he has changed into a handsome prince, and he takes her for a walk through a pine forest into his magical kingdom. There she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy and the kingdom of many sweets celebrate after the prince recounts Clara’s heroism in saving him in the battle. The Fairy escort the two down through the garden and into a sleigh, where they fly away together.