For many in Middle Georgia, the start of the Christmas season would not be complete without a stage full of snowflakes, mice, toy soldiers and, of course, Clara.
Marianna Gebara, managing director of Nutcracker of Middle Georgia, is looking forward to starting her Christmas season the same way she has for the past 28 years, with a performance of The Nutcracker.
The Nutcracker of Middle Georgia began in 1985 and I have been involved since the beginning, Gebara said. I was the organizations first treasurer. Ive gone through a lot of roles over the years, but each year it is something that is worthwhile and something that we all enjoy. So many who continue to work on the show and produce it consider this our gift to the betterment of the community and the arts in the area.
To many, the story of young Clara Silberhaus and the toy nutcracker given to her by her godfather, Uncle Drosselmeyer, is well-known. On Christmas Eve, magic awakens the dolls and they lead Clara through a wonderland of adventure.
The magic of the show is contagious.
I dont know exactly why people enjoy the show so much, but they do, Gebara said. So many people in our audience come every year. Some reserve special seats. I think for most people, its a feel-good tradition that marks the start of the Christmas season. Its really a family event. There are multiple generations of the same family all in attendance.
For anyone who has never seen the show, Gebara is convinced that they will love it.
They can expect beautiful costumes, the best scenery in the Southeast and quality dancers ranging from age 8 to their 70s. We have a new Clara dress that is absolutely gorgeous. Plus, we have an extraordinary cast, she said.
During her 28 years, Gebara has found that with producing The Nutcracker, some years are more challenging than others.
This year is a year that illustrates the reason that the saying the show must go on exists. This has been one of the more challenging years as far as getting the show on stage. We had to change our show dates ... because of the filming of the PBS special at the Grand Opera House, A Grand Mercer Christmas. We are a week later than normal, which caused some problems with our principal dancers.
We had to find new dancers to replace the ones who could not make their schedules work. Then, we had to replace the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier after Thanksgiving. She had a foot injury and her partner could not perform without her as the Boston Ballet would not release him to perform with someone else. We have found replacements who are very good and who have been gracious enough to work their schedules to accommodate us.
We also have a cast member who has been diagnosed with blood cancer and despite the fact that he wants to do this show very badly, we still have to work on a contingency plan in case.
Still, we will have a show, Gebara promised. We will be successful. And we are excited to be able to pull this together, especially with the obstacles that weve overcome.
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Dec. 15, 2:30 p.m. Dec. 15-16
Where: The Grand Opera House, 651 Mulberry St.
Cost: $18-$25 adults, $10 students and children
Information: www.midganutcracker.com or 301-5470