The Nutcracker

By Samantha Holzman

November 28, 2017

Ashland Regional Ballet’s The Nutcracker has been performed annually in this area since 1992. The Ashland Regional Ballet dancers invite you to join them December 16th & 17th at Hugo Young Theatre in Ashland, when an army of mice battle the brave Nutcracker and ballerinas dance in the snow.


I had the opportunity to talk with Ann Marie Benshoff-Todd, Assistant to the Directors for Ashland Regional Ballet.


So why should people be excited to see The Nutcracker?

She said, “Going to see The Nutcracker is family tradition that a lot of people do every year. For me, seeing The Nutcracker kicks off the holiday season. As soon as I’ve seen The Nutcracker or danced in The Nutcracker, I’m like ‘yes, it’s time for the holiday season, it’s time for Christmas’. And so many families around Ashland are always excited to go see The Nutcracker and see what’s different and what’s changed. This is our 26th year and people in the community really look forward to it. We take the characters around to the elementary schools so the kids get to see the costumes. It’s really a community kick-off to the holidays.”


What will be different this year?

“For us, one thing that is really different is that we have a narrator, who essentially tells the story of everything that’s happening. So even if you haven’t been to the show, or even if you have been, every Nutcracker has things that are different. It’s perfect for people who have never been to a ballet, are worried that they’ll be bored, everyone always has those little questions. But the narrator will walk you through the whole story. He says “our story begins” and he talks about how long The Nutcracker has been around, how many years we’ve done The Nutcracker, and talks about Clara’s story, and introduces you to all of the characters. It’s great for kids, it’s great for adults, it’s great for families.”


“We have guest artists in our performance this year to play the Sugarplum Fairy and the Cavalier. They’re professional dancers in Cleveland but actually grew up and danced in Ashland. So they’re back to do this show. That’s another thing that’s different in our show this year; adding those professional members to our cast. There are adults in our cast who don’t normally dance with us, which is why I say it’s a community event.”


What can the people of Ashland and surrounding areas be looking forward to?

“I would say people can look forward to a fun and festive evening. If you have children with you, there’s normally a cast member out front that you can take pictures with. You get to see the show and a lot of people normally go out to dinner afterwards. It’s fun for the whole family. And there’s new twists this year- there’s different characters, and things always change, even if you’ve seen it before.”


Why is the Ashland Regional Ballet important to Ashland?

“The Ashland Regional Ballet is a staple in the community. This is the 36th year of this studio and this is our 26th Nutcracker production. Every place needs things that make it special. Ashland is definitely special but that’s because of the people. The community really comes out to watch us perform at Ashland University. So I feel like, that community tie-in of us being downtown but performing at AU is important.”


“A lot of kids might not ever get the opportunity to see something like this, see the costumes or know how these things work. And in our small community, the fact that our company is so professional is amazing. I mean, we have a whole costume shop and a lighting designer from Florida. For a town like Ashland, you don’t get a small town performance.”  


Ticket are on sale now!

This is a show the entire family can enjoy, at family friendly prices! Get tickets at the Ashland University box office on weekdays from noon–6pm. Call 419-289-5125 or visit ASHLAND.EDU/TICKETS


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