UPDATED (see below). Blending Mansfield’s history with a beloved holiday tradition, Neos Dance Theatre is again bringing A 1940s Nutcracker to the Renaissance Theatre for performances December 8 at 8:00 PM and December 9 at 2:00 PM.
“The Nutcracker” is one of the most widely celebrated ballets in the world, and we’re proud to give Mansfield a uniquely crafted version of its own,” says Neos co-founder Bobby Wesner.
Hand-drawn and meticulously animated visual effects, created by Andy Gardner and Kathy Hilton, set the stage for A 1940s Nutcracker. The story line incorporates local characters such as Bogie and Bacall — danced by Bobby Wesner and his wife, Brooke — and their famous marriage at Malabar Farms.
A 1940s Nutcracker also features Neos dancers Matthew Roberts and Kassandra Lee as Johnny and Marie, Anna Trumbo as Mae West and partnered by Kaleb Reilly, Juliana Freude as a member of the Woman’s Club, Katherine Tackett as an O’Neil’s department store employee, plus many more.
Joining the Neos dancers are students from the Findlay Academy of Ballet, under the direction of Judy Shoaff-Reading. “I rarely see students dance with such full and vibrant technique and passion”, says Wesner, “usually it’s one or the other. The Findlay Academy of Dance is such a gem!”
Tickets begin at $15 and can be purchased from the Renaissance Theatre at mansfieldtickets.com or 419-522-2726. A limited number of VIP tickets for $50 are available for the Saturday evening performance, and include preferred seating and a pre-performance reception with drinks and appetizers. Veterans with valid IDs are eligible for two free tickets for either performance when reserved in advance at the Renaissance box office.
Additional support for A 1940s Nutcracker is from the Woman’s Foundation at the Richland County Foundation, which enables Neos to provide tickets to underserved women and children throughout Richland County so that they can attend a performance to which they may not otherwise have access. Neos is also partnering with the Socks for Seniors program led by the Area Agency on Aging. Audience members are encouraged to bring new socks to support seniors throughout the region this holiday season.
Neos Dance Theatre’s 2018-19 Mansfield season is sponsored by Mind Body Align and Richland Source, with additional support from Cleveland Financial and generous individuals.
UPDATE: The 2:00 matinee performance on Sunday will feature “Storytime and Photo with a Ballerina.”
Source: Renaissance Performing Arts Association; Photo: Neos Dance Theatre