Each year The Nutcracker ushers in the holiday spirit for many. People of all ages flock to the show around the globe, ready to watch ballet dancers grace the stage in time to live orchestra music. In Longmont, the show was canceled last year and almost again this year, but a pre-holiday miracle saved it at the last minute.
Those who work behind the scenes for any performing arts show will tell you, it takes months of work to prepare for even a few performances. The Nutcracker is no different. From auditions to scenery to classes to rehearsals, The Nutcracker for the Longmont performance begins preparations in the late summer to early fall months.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the show was canceled last year, causing months of hard work to screech to a sudden halt.
This year, things were looking great until COVID reared its ugly head again. The Boulder Ballet works with the Boulder Philharmonic and the Longmont Symphony Orchestra to perform the show for each community. The Boulder performance was expected to be held at a Boulder theatre. The theatre excused itself from hosting the performance with concerns of hosting an event that could spread the virus.
Putting together a show as detail-oriented as The Nutcracker, every little piece is important to make sure the show goes on, said Catherine Beeson, executive director of the Longmont Symphony Orchestra. When the theatre pulled out it hurt the chances of the entire group causing an “arts supply chain” disruption, as Beeson refers to it.
The “art supply chain” disruption, in this case, also impacted the funding for the entire show. With less than four weeks to make a decision on whether or not the show would go on or be canceled, the Boulder Ballet and The Longmont Symphony Orchestra turned to their supporters.
Much to Beeson’s surprise, donations rolled in during the short window, allowing both organizations to commit to the holiday show.
“I don't think it's a stretch to say that we are bringing Christmas back to Boulder County with this production,” Beeson said.
The Nutcracker will begin tonight at 7 p.m. with two shows on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. at Longmont’s Vance Brand Theatre inside Skyline High School. The Sunday 1 p.m. showing is labeled The Gentle Nutcracker and is sensory-friendly for neurodiverse patrons who enjoy a more relaxing performance.
Tickets are still on sale and can be purchased online or by calling 303-772-5796.
COVID precautions will be taken during each performance. Masks must be worn during the performance and vaccinations will be required for those who are age-qualified, Beeson said.
Both organizations understand that masks are uncomfortable to wear for a long period of time and have adapted the show to 80 minutes without an intermission.“We are confident we have created an environment that is safer than domestic air travel, dinner at a restaurant, or even shopping at the grocery,” Beeson said.