The Nutcracker that most audiences know and love, based on the tale by E.T.A. Hoffman, has been turned into a present-day production about love, loss and the extraordinary power of childhood imagination at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda.
In a truly unique and heartwarming spin on the classic holiday story, The Nutcracker, billed as a “new holiday musical” adapts the beloved ballet into a modern theatrical experience that continues to celebrate the original narrative, while presenting something unexpected to the storyline.
Parents should note, while this is a wonderfully visual and humorous production, it deals with some very emotional, mature themes. The jubilant opening Christmas day scene, featuring Clara and her family, quickly transitions into the story of the loss of her Marine brother, Fritz. Grief overcomes the family and it appears that the joys of the holiday season are memories of the past.
Clara, too young to fully comprehend the enduring impact of the loss of her brother, yearns for the feeling of a Christmas that once was. It is from here, that Clara’s nutcracker, along with her cherished and cheerful army of whimsical toys, lead her into a magical world where she fights to recapture the love and innocence of a time she held so dear.
Kids and adults alike will love the cast in this production. Each actor does a magnificent job of bringing their characters to life, while also playing antithetical roles throughout the show.
Children will enjoy the brilliant physical comedy, delightful costumes and highly-visual elements of the production. Adults will welcome the quick-witted dialogue and inventive storyline.
While tuneful and magical for the large majority of the show, parents should consider bringing older children to this production as the subject matter at hand is an emotional one.
The show provides parents an opening for meaningful discussions about the everyday hardships so many families face, and the need to understand their range of emotions during the holiday season. The messages are valuable and can be easily explored within the context presented.
The Bottom Line
This unconventional production of The Nutcracker is a wonderful and welcomed modern-day spin on the classic tale. Recommended for kids 10 and up, the cast of characters, musical numbers and whimsy will delight children and parents alike. However, it is recommended that you discuss the subject matter before the show so children understand the central themes. The theatre is small, so almost every seat in the house is a good one.
- The Nutcracker runs from November 26 to December 28, 2014. Performances are Tuesday to Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3:00 p.m.
- Tickets range in price from $10 to $45 and can be purchased by visiting www.roundhousetheatre.org or calling the box office at 240.644.1100. Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more, seniors, members of the military and veterans.
- $10 tickets for side seats will be available on December 9, 16 and 23.
- The show has an estimated running time of 2 hours, including a 15 minute intermission.
- There is a café to visit before the show and during intermission which serves a small a selection of drinks and sweets.
- Photo One: Will Gartshore (party guest), Lauren Williams (Clara), Erin Weaver (party guest), Lawrence Redmond (Uncle Erich Drosselmeyer), Sherri L. Edelen (Martha) and Mitchell Hébert (David) in Round House Theatre’s current production of The Nutcracker.
- Photo Two: Lauren Williams (Clara), Vincent Kempski (Fritz/Nutcracker), Will Gartshore (Monkey), Evan Casey (Hugo), and Erin Weaver (Phoebe) in Round House Theatre’s current production of The Nutcracker.
- Photos by Danisha Crosby.