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17th ‘Nutcracker’ ballet opens Dec. 5 

Nutcracker ballet TempletonTickets for annual performance are still available

The Christmas staple — “The Nutcracker” ballet — will open its 17th annual season at Templeton High School Performing Arts Center on Friday, Dec. 5. The night before, a student night performance will take place on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. The cost is $10 for students and $25 per adult with a donation of non-perishable food for the local food bank. On opening night, tickets are $20 for everyone.

Nutcracker ballet Templeton

Tori Akers in the 2013 “Nutcracker.”

This year’s ballet will be performed on Friday, Dec. 5 and 12 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6 and 13 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for those and older and $23 for children 12 and younger. A Family Friday Night package is being offered to get tickets at the discounted group rate. There are a total of 322 assigned seats available for each performance.

“We have sold out [in the past], so we encourage them to buy in advance,” Armstrong said. “It is important that people reserve their seats early.”

The coveted lead role of the Sugar Plum Fairy is held this year by Templeton High School senior Tori Akers, 17, of King City. Guest artist Michael Levine, who dances for the San Francisco Opera, will play the role of the Cavalier.

“I’m really excited for it,” Akers said. “There’s a lot of responsibility and a lot of pressure it seems like, but it’s all worth it.”

This year’s cast of “The Nutcracker” has more than 85 dancers from the age of 5 up through their 70s. While some of the dances stay the same from year to year, some, including the Sugar Plum Fairy’s, change from year to year based on the choreographer and the strengths of the dancer.

The principal roles this year include:

  • Tori Akers as Sugar Plum Fairy
  • Michael Levine as Cavalier
  • Saint Rose Catholic School student Gabriella Travisan as Clara
  • Trinity Lutheran School student Koby Wescom as Fritz
  • Virginia Petersen School teacher Caleb Cole as Uncle Drosselmeyer
  • Robin Harrington as Rat Queen
  • Ryan’s American Dance owner Ryan Beck as Nutcracker Prince
  • Georgia Owens as Snow Queen and Arabian Queen
  • Taylor Hargrave as Spanish Queen
  • Lauren Wood as Dragon Queen
  • former Marine Kent Mace as Mother Ginger

“It’s definitely a family tradition,” Armstrong said. “It’s a heart-warming story. We try to keep it traditional, [though] we twist it a little. We use all the traditional music.”

Tickets are available by going to www.northcountyperformingarts.org or www.brownpapertickets.com. Advance tickets are only available online. If a performance has not sold out, tickets may be purchased at the door. For more information or with questions, email info@northcountyperformingarts.org or call 610-7570. The cost is $25 for adults and $23 for children younger than 12 and seniors older than 60. Group discounts are available for 20 or more.

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