A New Era of 'The Nutcracker' in the Ozarks

Celebrating 40 years of Springfield Ballet in spectacular style!
B6c051dfabf1f3ff2775e454ae810210eba0dc91 unnamed 2 Written by Evan Bennett on November 29, 2016.

What a whirlwind year it has been! Last year at this time, Springfield Ballet was getting ready to present the 30th anniversary performances of our community’s beloved "The Nutcracker."

This year, Springfield Ballet is turning 40, and we’ve decided to commemorate that with an all new, updated set for our cherished production. There is now a palpable excitement about the new set and we cannot wait to unveil it on December 16, 2016 to the public.

Roger LaVoie's rendition of the new set for Springfield Ballet's "The Nutcracker."

What is even more impressive is that our audience and our community have been with us every step of our two year journey to get to this point. The genesis for the project to update the set started in the fall of 2014 with the spark of an idea. We knew we hadn’t updated the set since 2000, and it was time. The biggest question was: how to start? Fortuitously, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks presented their idea to create a single day of giving for the greater Ozarks region called Give Ozarks Day at the same time. We decided to take a leap and join with 175 organizations to be part of this historic occasion. In that first year alone, we were able to raise nearly $20,000, which meant we knew that we could start the process of looking for a designer.

Nutcracker Soliders: Mimi Orr, Brianna Haines & Eva Johns are the perfect soldiers to fight against the evil Mouse King in Act I.

Throughout this process, we’ve been told that we’re unconventional, and I have to admit we are. However, I like to be unconventional. Rather than handpicking a designer, Springfield Ballet decided we would let the audience help us decide which designer to choose. In July of 2015, we put out a call for designers and received 32 submissions from across the country. From this pool of incredibly talented designers, we selected 5 to submit concepts and present to our public in December 2015. With great accord, the audience chose Mr. Roger LaVoie of Melrose, Massachusetts, to design the new set.

Clara and Fritz: Elisa Peters & Ethan Houck will enchant the audience as Clara and Fritz.

Last May, Springfield Ballet returned to its public to finish the campaign for the new set and successfully raised over $26,000, which ended the campaign. But this was only the beginning, from that point to this, the staff and the board of Springfield Ballet have worked with Mr. LaVoie to bring a truly one-of-a-kind production to our area. Two of the backdrops have been specifically designed with Springfield and the Ozarks in mind. You and your family will be awed and inspired by this new set that will surely be the perfect centerpiece to your holiday tradition this year.

Gingerbreads: Madelyn Houck & Kylenn Pallohusky portray Gingerbreads that are full of sugar and spice.

Since 1976, Springfield Ballet has been bringing you ballet of the highest caliber. This year, we strive to go a step further in our mission to advance the art of ballet through unparalleled excellence. On December 16, 2016, the curtain goes up on a brand new era of "The Nutcracker" in the Ozarks and we invite you to take part. This is Springfield’s 'Nutcracker.' You and thousands of others like you came, voted and made it possible. We hope you’ll come and celebrate the set that you made possible. This year’s performance is sure to leave you breathless when the curtain falls. Don’t let this chance pass you by. Get tickets by calling 417-869-1334 or going to landerstheatre.org.

Photos by Ikenroth Images

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