A local telling of the iconic Nutcracker


Bryce Millikin

Dancers Ethan Michael Lee, Theresa Holland, Mary Elizabeth Fenn and Anna Trumbo in “A 1940’s Nutcracker”.

Sarah Y., Editor-in-Chief

On December 9th and 10th, Neos Dance Theatre along with Mansfield Symphony Orchestra put on the production of A 1940’s Nutcracker at Mansfield’s Renaissance Theatre.

This ballet embodied the classic Nutcracker ballet, but with a twist. The ballet is set in Mansfield, Ohio, in the mid-40’s having different settings around the Mansfield area. The story is centered around a young girl named Marie who stays with her family while her father is off to fight in World War II. Everyone is celebrating Christmas Eve while Marie is off with her neighborhood crush, Johnny.

To everyone’s surprise, Marie’s father returns home for Christmas from the war. Upon his arrival, he gives all his children a gift; to Marie, he gives a beautiful nutcracker. That night, Marie dreams of a world of sugar plum fairies, a snow queen, an evil mouse king and her nutcracker.

“I want[ed] [the production] to be very visual and magical,” said Neo’s artistic director and co-founder, Robert Wesner. “Neos is really proud of this one.”

The production has a mystical, magical, and airy feel to it; it feels like you are in reality for the first part of the ballet, then in a fairy-tale world outside of reality for the latter half. Along with that, the dancers were graceful, elegant and poised. I felt like I was among royalty in this delicate and lovely performance of a timeless tale.

Wesner drew inspiration for this ballet from two classic films Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life. “They’re endearing and nostalgic and those are qualities I wanted for our production of this timeless classic,” said Wesner.   

The Nutcracker is a tale that has been done over and over again each with differing variations. This production took the classic tale of the Nutcracker to a place it has not been before. A historical and mystical place that many people can understand and relate to.