"Nutcracker" commands Harbourfront stage

Journal Pioneer staff
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Spotlight Theatre Company to stage musical theatre version of popular Christmas story, Dec. 13-15.

SUMMERSIDE – Spotlight Theatre Company has chosen to stage a musical theatre version of “Nutcracker”, at Harbourfront Theatre, Dec. 13-15.

Dominique LaPierre, playing lead character Marie, struggles with Sweet Tooth Mouse for control of the toys in a scene from the musical theatre version of "Nutcracker".

More than 60 performers are involved with the production, as well as various crew members and backstage supporters, according to Spotlight owner Reasha Walsh.

“It’s a challenge trying to fit them all” into the practice space at the company’s Water Street downtown location, Walsh admitted, but the performers seemed to take it all in stride at a recent practice session.

The cast and chorus are comprised of a combination of Spotlight students and performers selected from open casting, ranging from a three-year-old novice to experienced adults.

“There is such an abundance of talent in town that we always have enough people participating. There is a community being built,” Walsh encouragingly acknowledged.

“Nutcracker” captures the magic and fantasy of a girl’s adventure into the Land of Toys and the Land of Sweets on Christmas Eve, inspired by a nutcracker in the form of a soldier prince.

The lead character, Marie, is awakened by a band of renegade mice, led by the evil Mouse King.  Marie, and her favourite toys, including the Nutcracker, battle and defeat a rodent invasion in the land of Toys, before the heroes travel to the Land of Sweets to protect a princess from the wicked Mouse Queen and her minions.

Ryan Lewis, playing the Mouse King, took a moment away from his sword-fight practice to describe his experience. An oyster fisher, it is only the second role Lewis has played after being encouraged by his older brother to engage his interest in theatre.

“There is such an abundance of talent in town that we always have enough people participating. There is a community being built” Reasha Walsh, Spotlight Theatre Company

Though he only has one scene - where he fights the Nutcracker for control, and loses thanks to quick-witted Marie – Lewis is satisfied with being a part of the performance.

“I always wanted to do plays. It’s probably always going to be a secondary hobby, but I would like to learn more about choreographing,” he expressed.

Hannah Johnstone plays a cat that escorts Marie into the fantasy. She has been performing since her years at Queen Elizabeth Elementary School in Kensington.

“I like the opportunities to be with different groups and experience different (scenes),” she assessed.

“It also helps to get more involved with the community, through promotional events,” she noted of the opportunity to widen her network of relationships.

“It would be cool to go ‘big time’, but it’s still pretty cool if I am just able to do it as a hobby,” she considered.

“Nutcracker” is scheduled for evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 13 and 14, with an afternoon performance at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 15. In lieu of an intermission during the performances, there will be a pre-show reception, at 7 p.m. before the evening events and at 1 p.m. before the Sunday afternoon event. Refreshments will be provided during the pre-show receptions.

Organizations: Queen Elizabeth Elementary School

Geographic location: Water Street, Kensington

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