The Nutcracker

December 14, 2008

Is there something wrong with me that “Spring Awakening,” a musical that won countless Tony Awards, left me cold, and a local production of “The Nutcracker” had me crying pretty much continuously throughout the show?

Partly, it’s Tchaikovsky, of course.  And partly it’s watching my beautiful niece Clara on stage.  It’s also the memory of going to The Nutcracker with my mom when I was a little girl, and watching that Christmas tree grow and grow and grow – all the way up to heaven, it seemed.  And partly it’s all the sweet little girls doing their very, very best to remember their dance steps, and the lovely older girls doing their very, very best to stay on pointe, not to mention the darling mouse costumes, and the darling reindeer costumes (yes, there are reindeer in this version, as well as snow bunnies, snow foxes, and snow ‘flurries’).  But I finally figured out why I couldn’t stop blubbering when I overheard a kid behind us whispering to his mother. 

Clara (not my niece) was dancing with her new Nutcracker, cradling him in her arms, and the boy asked, “Why is she dancing with her doll like that?”

“Because she loves him,” his mom answered.

“But it’s just a toy,” the kid protested.  “That’s kind of weird.”

And I looked over at my Clara’s face (who didn’t dance until the second act), and she was completely rapt in the moment, clutching the seat in front of her, little pink mouth hanging open, eyes shining .  Clara got it.  The Nutcracker isn’t just a girl dancing with a toy.  It isn’t just ballet shoes and pretty costumes.  No.  The Nutcracker is all the wonder of a young girl’s childhood, wrapped up in a bow and presented on stage for your eternal enjoyment.

It’s magic.




5 Responses to “The Nutcracker”

  1. […] 14, 2008 During all the hub-bub after the show, Moo and her big cousin…let’s call him Irwin… had a little heart-to-heart outside […]

  2. Katie Burke Says:

    It’s true. I went with my mom every year, too. And every year, I left wanting to be a ballerina.

  3. Cat Says:

    I was in the Nutcracker every year, starting at about three making my amazing debut by running out of Mother Gigone’s skirts. During the span of my short ballet career, I did almost every role – my favorite being the Doll. I still get weepy eyed when I see it. Even after probably thousands of hours of rehearsing and performing it – I still think it is magical. I’m glad I’m not the only one. Clara looks precious.

  4. […] little people, Donald Duck, and a small stuffed goldfish.  The starring role, of course, goes to cousin Clara, and Moo always spends many tortured minutes deciding WHO will get to be Clara this time.  Then […]

  5. Sonia Says:

    Awww, makes me sad I missed the local Phoenix production this year. Always makes me cry with joy. Love it!

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