This weekend for two nights only, the Panhandle Players and Pam Nobles Dance Studio will present “Nutcracker” at the Chapman Auditorium in Apalachicola.
According to Royce Rolstad, president of the Panhandle Players, this is not the traditional show that everyone knows.
“This production is set to the music of Duke Ellington and is very upbeat and jazzy. You will not see this type production anywhere else in the region,” he said.
Around this time last year, the idea came to Rolstad and former Panhandle Players president Judy Loftus about performing “Nutcracker.” The idea was presented to the board of directors who were up for trying something new.
“The Panhandle Players have never done a ballet before,” said Rolstad. “We thought it would be a great way to expose our patrons to something new and also get our name out to people in our community who are not familiar with our organization.”
Pam Nobles loved the idea, and insisted all the proceeds go towards further improvements to the historic Art Deco Chapman Auditorium. “She was onboard immediately,” he said.
“As a dance teacher and studio director, I am always looking for performance opportunities for our students,” said Nobles. “This gives them a new and unique opportunity beyond recitals and dance competitions.”
Overseeing the entire production is Scott Benson, who choreographed it based on Ellington’s orchestral jazz piece “The Nutcracker Suite.” Benson comes with an extensive career in the dance business. He appeared in “Cats” in California and also worked on “Thriller” with Michael Jackson.
It will be a top notch production from the Pam Nobles Studio as usual, and will feature some members of the Panhandle Players. “We wanted to feature the Players as much as possible and not just have them dancing in the background,” said Benson.
“Nutcracker” is a ballet that originated in 1890 and exemplifies a blending of dance and theatre without the use of words.
“Mr. Benson’s production of “Nutcracker” is a twist on the traditional ballet since it is jazzed based,” said Nobles. “We hope our community will enjoy his new and novel way of blending the Pam Nobles dancers and the Panhandle Players.”
This show will feature Camille Trochessett and Brycin Huckeba in the lead roles of Clara and the Nutcracker.
Jeana Crozier, Ashley Floyd, Judy Loftus, Bob Inguagiato, Mishelle McPherson, Eric Olson, Royce Rolstad and David Stedman will all be making an appearance in the show.
“We have had a blast being part of this dance production,” said Rolstad. “Some of us have two left feet and it’s going to be worth the price of admission to see us dance.”
Kids 12 and under can see the production for free.
“We know money gets tight around the holidays and we wanted to give back to the community by offering free admission to kids 12 and under,” Rolstad said. “We also want to expose the youth of our community to a live production they might not normally get to see.
“It’s our hope they will become interested in theatre, dance and the arts. Sometimes one show is all it takes to get a child interested in live theatre or dance,” he said.
“Nutcracker” will be performed Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Chapman Theatre in Apalachicola. Adult tickets are $18 online and $20 at the door. Get tickets online at PanhandlePlayers.com.