The Nutcracker dazzles children’s eyes, but it also confirms their deep suspicion that toys come to life, even when no one is looking or poking them repeatedly with cattle prods. Feel the season’s electricity with this GrouponLive deal: for $20, you get two general-admission tickets to The Nutcracker, presented by the Arts Association in Newton County, at Porter Hall in Newton High School (a $40 value). Doors open one hour prior to showtime. Choose from the following showtimes:
- Saturday, December 8, at 2 p.m.
- Saturday, December 8, at 7 p.m.
- Sunday, December 9, at 3 p.m.
Based on a novel by the 19th-century romantic fabulist E.T.A. Hoffmann,The Nutcracker weaves a magical tale of holiday adventure. Clara, the story's heroine, receives a nutcracker from her godfather, a wizardly toymaker named Drosselmeyer. Sneaking downstairs to see the toy after everyone else has gone to bed, Clara suddenly finds herself caught in the middle of a pitched battle between the toys and an army of mice. After saving the nutcracker with a well-thrown shoe to the Mouse King's head, Clara and her now-living prince venture into the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets to celebrate amid the dances of nimble snowflakes, the regal Sugar Plum Fairy, and seasonally confused vampires.
Tchaikovsky’s score features some of the most recognizable tunes in classical music, repurposed beyond the ballet world in works including Disney's Fantasia, which naturally chose to illustrate the music’s delicate beauty with dancing mushrooms and leaping radishes. Notable sections include the Waltz of the Snowflakes, which floats weightlessly above the angelic voices of a youth choir, and the second act's medley of exotic national dances, including a Spanish bolero and Russian Trepak. The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy's music-box-like theme springs from a celesta, a new instrument Tchaikovsky came across in Paris and hurriedly inserted into the score before his musical rivals could make use of its haunting, bell-like sound.
Arts Association in Newton County
After the Arts Association in Newton County found early success with its concert series in the late 1980s, the performing arts company started its first children's education program in 1991 to incorporate the entire community in their productions. Now, children who are part of the organization's Oxford Singing Children and Oxford Youth Singers choirs and Musical Theater Camp appear in youngster-filled versions of classics such as Les Misérables and The Nutcracker. The company still nourishes ears with headphones made of bagels and live concert performances, including their long-running Concert on the Square and Summer Concert series.