Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Review: ‘Green Bay Nutcracker’ graceful, colorful

Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Review: ‘Green Bay Nutcracker’ graceful, colorful

Carolina Ballet dancers are featured in key roles.

PHOTO: Scene from past production of “Green Bay Nutcracker Ballet.” Northeastern Wisconsin Dance Organization photo

GREEN BAY, Wis., (WFRV) – Eye candy fills the “Green Bay Nutcracker Ballet” that moves into its final performance this afternoon, Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Meyer Theatre in downtown Green Bay. Info: meyertheatre.com.

Northeastern Wisconsin Dance Organization and artistic director Timothy Josephs fill scene after scene with flowing movement and bright visuals in color and costuming.

As dancers change from year to year, Josephs’ palette adjusts for his local dancers. The icing on the cake for “Green Bay Nutcracker Ballet” is the appearance of Carolina Ballet dancers in showcase roles.

NEWDO alum Randi Osetek (teamed with Dameon Nagel) continues as a role model in the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy – ballerina sleek and smooth, graceful, artistic, elegant yet daring (and trusting of Nagel’s catches) and overall the image of a seasoned dancer.

Yevgeny Shlapko is a bonus. As the Soldier Doll, he’s a honed figure of smart, soldierly precision. As the Nutcracker Prince, Shlapko adds layers of regal and romantic charm. In both characters, he participates in scenes with the local company and heightens the energy level. The Nutcracker Prince also escorts the story’s dreaming girl, Clara, and enhances her dances.

Ruth Brandt is this production’s Clara, and she’s got look, style and finesse. In movement and demeanor, Ruth Brandt speaks warmly as she defines Clara.

Key credits

Timothy Josephs, artistic director and choreographer; Diane Danhieux and Kristen Throne; ballet mistresses; Kyle Pingel, costume coordinator, Lori Maher, Kyle Pingel and Tutus Devine, costume designers; Jeffrey Paul Entwistle, scenic and lighting designer

Program

Act I

1st Tableau

Dr. Stahlbaum: Tom Abbott

Mrs. Stahlbaum: Paula Abbott

Clara: Ruth Brandt

Fritz: Austin Dolphin

Mothers: Heidi Biller, Laura Bronk, Karen Cowen, Julie Meyer, Ali Michaud, Emily Paulsen, Teal Peters

Fathers: Brad Biller, Curt Christnot, Kyle Pingel, Dean Rodeheaver, Scott Thompson, Eric Ulve

Party Boys: Elizabeth Ely, Whitney Michaud, Kaia Rodeheaver, Stephanie Wilke

Party Girls: Hannah Biller, Grace Burroughs, Delaney Collins, Claire Edgar

Little Party Girls: Helen Flanagan, Whitney Michaud, Elas Mingori, Gretchen Paulsen, Lily Polzin

Little Party Boys: Olivia Davis, Francesca Wied, Grace Madden, Lily Polzin, So-Hee Wreen

Maids: Barb Gallagher, Pamela Josifek

Grandmother: Tammy Verbrick

Grandfather: Diane Danhieux

Uncle Drosselmeyer: Nicolas Humphrey

Christmas Tree Angel: Anna Marie Johnson

Dancing Dolls: Ava Brandt, Morgan Yates

Soldier Doll: Yevgeny Shlapko

2nd Tableau

Nutcracker Prince: Yevgeny Shlapko

Soldiers: Delaney Collins, Austin Dolphin, Chloe Eggers, Elizabeth Ely, Sophia Gerbec, Lauren Kautzer, Sophie Ulve, Abigail Vlies, Stephanie Wilke

Mouse Queen: McKenzie Alosi

Mice: Maddy Burgess, Maddie Eckberg, Katie Eggers, April Krumpos, Gretchen Paulsen, Adriannah Popkey, Kaia Rodenheaver, Ava Van Straten, Madeline Vlies, Mari White

Little Mice: Ethan Arts, Helen Flanagan, Fiona Josephs, Hayden Josephs, Liam Meyer

Snow Queen: Morgan Yates

Dancing Snow Flakes: McKenzie Alosi, Hannah Biller, Ava Brandt, Grace Burroughs, Mary Elizabeth Coleman, Claire Edgar, Chloe Eggers, Sophie Harpt, Anna Marie Johnson, Julie Meyer, Emma Steffel, Kristen Throne, Abigail Vlies, Skye Vandeleest

Act II

Christmas Tree Angels: Anna Marie Johnson, Pamela Josifek, Alicia Michaud, Abigail Vlies

Angels: Cloe Eggers, Lauren Kautzer, Sophie Ulve, Madeline Vlies, Brylee Birkholz, Emily Bonkowski, Olivia Davis, Sophie Davis, Maddie Eckberg, Zoe Eckberg, Katie Eggers, Fiona Josephs, Gabrielle Madden, Grace Madden, Katie Meyer, Whitney Michaud, Ella Mingori, Lauren Polfuss, Daelyn Sanders, Claire Silta, Jocelyn Silta, Hannah Sternig, McKenna Stueck, Arianna Thompson, Annalyse Throne, Francesca Wied, Madeleine Wied, Emma Wiinamaki

Chocolate: Mary Elizabeth Coleman, Angie Flanagan, Kristen Throne

Coffee: Grace Philipp, Morgan Yates

Tea Sweets: Austin Dolphin, Mari White, April Krumpos, Adriannah Popkey

Trepak: Dominque Carvalho, Delaney Collins, Claire Edgar, Chloe Eggers, Emma Steffel, Abigail Vlies

Marzipan: Ava Brandt, McKenzie Alosi, Grace Burroughs

Mother Ginger: Curt Christnot

Mother Ginger’s Children and Cookies: Maddy Burgess, Katie Eggers, Elizabeth Ely, Sophia Gerbec, April Krumpos, Lilly Meyer, Gretchen Paulsen, Adriannah Popkey, Kaia Rodeheaver, Sophie Luve, Ava Van Straten, Madeleine Vlies, Mari White, Stephanie Wilke, Helen Flanagan, Fiona Josephs.

Waltz of the Flowers: Morgan Yates, McKenzie Alosi, Hanna Biller, Ava Brandt, Grace Burroughs, Mary Elizabeth Coleman, Claire Edgar, Chloe Eggers, Anna Marie Johnson, Emma Steffel, Skye Vandeleest

Cavalier: Dameon Nagel

Sugar Plum Fairy: Randi Osetek

Favorite parts of the “Nutcracker” for the audience are delivered with oomph by Josephs and dancers. “Dancing Snow Flakes” is a snowy, blustery showcase. “Waltz of the Flowers” has a smooth dynamic. In Act II’s fantasyland sections, featured dancers collect cheers for lively presentations of “Chocolate,” “Coffee,” “Tea Sweets,” “Trepak” and “Marzipan.”

It’s a good show (4 stars out of 5) that does justice to the enduring, captivating music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, whose imagination was enormous.

The production features 87 dancers from studios (5668 Dance, All That Dance, Barb’s Centre for Dance, Fancy Dancer, Green Bay School of Dance, Generation Dance and Valley Academy for the Arts) along with from St. Norbert College, Green Bay Park and Rec and the Green Bay community.

THE VENUE: The Robert T. Meyer Theatre opened Feb. 27, 2002. It seats approximately 1,000. The building opened Feb. 14, 1930, as one of the palatial Fox movie houses. The theater’s interior aura was its saving grace toward the end of the 20th century, when the building was faced an uncertain fate. The architectural/decorative style is defined as Spanish Atmospheric. The auditorium is designed in the manner of a Moorish courtyard of old. The eclectic mix of architectural styles and colors carries throughout the lobbies. One of the Meyer Theatre’s remaining architectural cousins around the country is the Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts in Sheboygan.

THE PEOPLE: Robert Meyer was president and chief executive officer of Tape Inc. of Green Bay. The theater took his name at the behest of his wife, Betty (Janet Elizabeth) Rose Meyer, whose financial contribution at a crucial time helped revitalize the building. The Rose family has a history of deep commitment to and involvement in the well being of Green Bay. Robert Meyer died in 1984, Betty Rose Meyer in 2008.

You may email me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air features on WFRV at 6:45 p.m. Thursdays and every other Sunday between 6 and 8 a.m. (usually around 7:45 a.m.)

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