Houston Ballet - The Nutcracker - Stanton Welch production 2016

My family and I have been going to see the Houston Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" for probably over 20 years.  I believe all of those have been Ben Stevenson's productions.  This is the first year for a new Stanton Welch production.

My family went to see it for the Sunday matinee with great seats in the Founders' boxes.  We were entranced by the first act, and bored by the second act.  The rest of the audience seemed entranced by it all, with a mostly standing ovation at the end.

The dancers, by and large, were fabulous.  The increased use of students from the Academy did improve the production and made the production more accessible for the younger members of the audience.

Drosselmeyer's cape in the first act seemed awfully cheap, but his assistants were an interesting addition.

The battle between Rats and Soldiers seemed inconclusive to me.  Definitely not as the battle in previous years.

Climbing a tree to the Kingdom of Sweets instead of being swept off in a carriage seemed a poor change.  The gate to the Kingdom of Sweets did not open and our protagonists apparently just went around the gate to get in.  We also thought, at first, that the gates were the Pearly Gates of Heaven.

The cats that escorted our protagonists to the wings, promptly let everyone back onto the main stage, so what was their purpose?

The dance of the flowers had us distracted by the noise the costumes made throughout the dance.

The dance of the snowflakes annoyed us with the dancers throwing snow at regular intervals.  The Snow Queen had no part in any dance.  The male snowflakes seemed a bit alien in their get-ups.

I think the large crowds onstage in the second act took the focus away from the main dances.  It was tough to focus as I wanted to see if any of the other preformers were up to something interesting.

The playbill indicated that the story would be more about Clara being a driving force throughout, but I don't believe that goal was achieve.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I couldn't agree more with your comment. A very distracting Nutcracker performance.