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Out of Its Shell

If you like the idea and the music of The Nutcracker but find the ballet tediously overwrought, Spark Theater is throwing a show for you: The world-premiere play Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, written by Spark artistic director Michael Emmitt, opens there today at 2 p.m. Emmitt says he was looking for some original holiday programming for families, but admits, “I’m tired of The Christmas Carol in every iteration.” With that in mind, an interest in the backstory of The Nutcracker led him to research it further. “I started checking out the life of Tchaikovsky, and his life reads better than any soap opera! His story is just as dramatic as The Nutcracker’s, so I thought it would be fun to tie them together.” The denouement? All of your favorite characters from the ballet — the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mouse King and the Nutcracker himself — interact with the story of their fiery Russian creator. But the presentation, Emmitt notes, will be more open and less fancied-up.

“People will hear a lot more than they see,” he says. “We’re just a little forty-seat studio, and we could not compete with a grandiose production. This play is not as much about the look; more than anything, they’re going to hear it. We could have made it into a six-hour epic, but nobody wants that in a Christmas play. We had to condense it to get the highlights and tell a great story and not be obnoxious.”

Not likely. See Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker at Saturday and Sunday matinees through December 23 at Spark, 985 Santa Fe Drive; admission to the show, which is recommended for children age seven and up, is $12. For additional details and tickets, visit or call 303-346-7396.
Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Dec. 1. Continues through Dec. 23, 2012


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