I have to admit something to you — I am a Nutcracker Nerd.
I have been since I was a kid in Gainesville, Georgia. Watching our city ballet’s Nutcracker performance was an annual tradition for the whole town and certainly the main reason my friends and I were all enrolled in ballet classes from the time we could walk. Sure, those endless pliés and grand jetes were super boring — but it would all be worth it if I ended up being cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy one day!
I quit ballet eventually in favor of theater, but I could never quit The Nutcracker. Over the years, I must have seen it 20 times, accompanied by family members who’ve shown varying degrees of enthusiasm. While I love the nostalgia of hearing the same music and seeing the same scenes over and over again, some don’t appreciate my Christmas mantra of ‘Expect the expected.’ My lovable cretins claim they’d rather see something new and different.
Fortunately, it’s been a few years since we’ve last seen The Nutcracker here in Nashville, so my whole fam was down to see a special media preview of Nashville’s Nutcracker last Friday night — It runs through December 23rd at TPAC. I’m glad they gave it a chance, and so are they — You may think you’ve seen The Nutcracker, but I promise you you’ve never seen anything like Nashville’s Nutcracker. My whole family loved it, including my husband, Dennis– The same man who had been lukewarm about attending earlier that day exclaimed during intermission, “This is the best Nutcracker I’ve ever seen!”
Nashville’s Nutcracker follows the traditional Nutcracker story, but moves the setting to Nashville, circa 1897 — The ballet opens with Clara and her family visiting the 1897 Centennial Exposition. The family also enjoys ice skating at Shelby Bottoms — and their home just happens to be the Belle Meade Mansion! It’s a very clever way to change things up while still remaining true to the original story.
Recognizing that many of the people sitting in the audience probably aren’t traditional fans of the ballet, Nashville’s Nutcracker incorporates plenty of elements to keep everyone entertained. Clara’s uncle, the mysterious Herr Drosselmeyer is an accomplished magician in this version of the show, performing many elaborate tricks that I’m still scratching my head over — some are new to this year’s performance. My son in particular was thrilled!
Nashville’s Nutcracker also includes plenty of young cast members (296, to be exact!), who up the adorable factor by about 200%. My favorites were these little baby mice – I. DIE.
Also new this year is the addition of snow in the audience at the end of Act I. By this point as you can see, my 10-year-0ld was 100% SOLD on Nashville’s Nutcracker.
Add in a dreamy performance from the GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville symphony and you’ve got a clear winner in the Christmas entertainment category. Nashville’s Nutcracker is absolutely worth the cost of admission and I highly recommend it.
To learn more about Nashville’s Nutcracker, view show times and purchase tickets, head over to the Nashville Ballet website.
And for those of you who want to heighten the educational experience for your kids, consider visiting the Belle Meade Plantation and/or the Tennessee State Museum (which has a wonderful exhibit on the 1897 Centennial Exposition) before you attend the show. Your children will definitely make the connection when they see Nashville’s Nutcracker, and it makes the setting all the more exciting!