‘Tis the season for “The Nutcracker“! If you have put off taking your kids to see a Nutcracker performance because you were worried they wouldn’t understand the story as a ballet or couldn’t sit for two hours, put your worries aside. This is the year to take your littlest one to experience the magic of the Nutcracker re-imagined as only the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences could do it.
The Nutcracker Musical
This Nutcracker is a musical twist on the classic tale with all the magic, some of the dancing, and the most memorable bits of music from the original ballet. If you’re not familiar with the Nutcracker story, it’s a holiday story about a girl, Marie, and her unusual Christmas gift of a nutcracker. When Marie falls asleep under the Christmas tree, she awakens into a dream where the Nutcracker and other toys have come to life, including an evil Mouse King. The story follows the Nutcracker, Toy Solider, and Clara, Marie’s beloved doll, as they race through magical lands to get the Nutcracker’s crown back from the Evil Rat King to get to the Sugar Plum Fairy.
I took my two girls, ages 6 and 2. My six-year-old is a veteran of Marriott shows and loves the theatre. The Nutcracker was the first show for my 2-year old that she has memories of. I took her to Cinderella when she was 18 months and still could be quieted with a pacifier.
As expected, my six years old loved the show. My two year old sat through it but was cautious throughout the whole things. The rat characters seemed to concern her, as did the running up and down the aisles. If you are not familiar with the Marriott Theatre, it’s in the round, and actors enter the stage area through the audience. She was also easily distracted and focused on the large TV screens around the stage, which I don’t remember being such a large part of previous shows. While I understand why they were used – to better illustrate to kids the different lands the characters traveled through (sweets, toys, snow), I am kind of a theatre purist and would have preferred the effects being done with lights and sounds.
Overall it’s an excellent adaptation, and I loved how some famous dances were kept in and highlighted. My girls have been dancing all over the house to the “graham cracker,” as my two-year-old calls it. It’s an excellent performance to introduce young children to the story and magic of the Nutcracker. I wish my eight-year-old boy would have come with us because he would have loved the goofy antics of the Rat King and his friends. This is a great holiday musical that is perfect for all ages and celebrates friendship and the holiday spirit’s beauty. The tale is enhanced by a score that includes Tchaikovsky’s music along with new additional misc and lyrics by Marc Robin.
The Nutcracker runs most Tuesdays through Sunday at 10 a.m. with certain performances at 12:30 p.m. Visit The Marriott Theatre website or call the box office for exact showtimes. Single ticket prices are $15 per person with free parking.
Disclosure: The writer received tickets to the press opening of the show to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received, and all thoughts and opinions are their own.