‘Nutcracker’ Production At LCC Attracts International Performers

Nutcracker Prince and Clara leaving the Land of Snow. Photo courtesy Hawaii Ballet Theatre.

Nutcracker Prince and Clara leaving the Land of Snow. Photo courtesy Hawaii Ballet Theatre.

Toy soldiers and sugarplum fairies are coming to Leeward Community College this Saturday through Dec. 22, and this year marks Hawaii Ballet Theatre’s 33rd production of The Nutcracker at LCC.

Set to enchanting music, and featuring ballet by top artists and beautiful staging, young Clara is visited by the mysterious Drosselmeyer who creates a magical Christmas dream for her. Clara encounters giant mice, a Nutcracker who is transformed into a handsome prince, and she visits the Kingdom of Sweets where she meets resident Bonbons, Ribbon Candies, Waltzing Flowers and more.

Special appearances in principal roles will be made by Hiroko Kurokawa Ota of Japan as Sugarplum Fairy; Eric Carvill, formerly of the Ohio Ballet, as her Cavalier; Andrea Blankstein, formerly with Berlin Opera Ballet and Cleveland Ballet, as Clara; and Mark Otloski, former principal dancer with the Cleveland and San Jose Ballet, as Drosselmeyer.

“Our Mainland artists usually fly in right before we open just to be in our Nutcracker,” noted Carole Richelieu, who has been dancing in the production for 22 years. “They mesh seamlessly as members of the family, which artistic director Charlys Ing and her husband, Dennis, the general manager, have grown throughout the years.”

More than 150 dancers make up the local cast, for whom Richelieu serves as a guide. With five “party moms” under her wing, they teach the rest of the cast choreography, stage mannerisms, and preparation regarding costume and hair.

“Our choreography, one of many by Charlys, is not as easy as it looks, but the direction and training make it seem effortlessness,” said Richelieu. “Charlys and Dennis Ing nurture dancers from toddlers to teenagers to adults, and they become family.”

Some have gone on to national fame as professional dancers, and many return through the years to visit the Nutcracker production, either backstage or in the audience.

The Nutcracker is like coming home every year,” said Richelieu. “It is Christmas!”

Free Sugarplum Tea with Santa will be offered after Saturday and Sunday matinees, where audience members can greet the costumed dancers for photographs and autographs while savoring tea sandwiches and punch. At Saturday evening performances, guests can enjoy free hot chocolate and photos with Clara. Tickets cost $18 for students Saturday evenings, $20 for groups of 15 or more, $25 for children 12 and under, military and senior citizens, and $28 general.

For tickets or more information, call 456-8100 or go to hbtnut.org.