Review: The Nutcracker

Don’t get it twisted.

Don’t get it twisted.

Photo courtesy of Sacramento Ballet

The Nutcracker; 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Monday, 1 p.m. Tuesday; $19-$90. Community Center Theater, 1301 L Street; (916) 808.5181; Through December 22.
Rated 5.0

Ron Cunningham’s rendition of The Nutcracker, now on stage at the Community Center Theater, may be 28 years old this year, but it remains as enchanting as when the Sacramento Ballet first imagined it.

The story of Clara and her magical Nutcracker doll comes to life as the two take a dream adventure through the Snowflake Forest to the Kingdom of Sweets, where treat after treat (in the form of national dancing) is presented for her entertainment.

The Nutcracker is a true spectacle, with its 100-plus kids per show, the enormous growing Christmas tree, the fanciful battle in which Clara and the Nutcracker battle with the Mouse King and his rat pack, the glittering reindeer drawing the Snow King and Queen into the Snowflake Forest and the elegant Sugar Plum Fairy and her partner. Many roles are double- and triple-cast, so pairings vary at different performances. Among the males, Stefan Calka, Jonathan Harris, Dylan Keane, Christopher B. Nachtrab and the two Richards—Porter and Smith—are strongest, while among the women (all lovely—and strong), Alexandra Cunningham, Lauren Breen, Ava Chatterson, Katie Miller and Lauryn Winterhalder excel. Any performance is sure to enthrall. A side note: As in past years, the ballet has partnered with the Front Street Animal Shelter to find homes for cats and dogs featured in the show.