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THE NUTCRACKER - A Holiday Tradition at the Orpheum!

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 12/1/23 | 12/1/23

Hunter – Catskill Mountain Foundation presents the eighth annual production of The Nutcracker on December 2-3 and 9-10 at the Orpheum Performing Arts Center in Tannersville, NY. Led by former Metropolitan Opera ballerina Victoria Rinaldi, the Orpheum Dance Program continues to delight audiences with its lively and professionally choreographed production. This year, Joffrey Ballet School New York and the internationally acclaimed Aquila Theatre collaborate with the Orpheum Dance Program to perform principal roles and dream sequences.

The world’s favorite ballet, The Nutcracker, has become a holiday favorite in the Catskills and the Hudson Valley. Featuring ballet stars of the future, this spectacular production has become one of the finest professional Nutcrackers in upstate New York. Local children from Hunter, Tannersville and neighboring communities play the roles of party children, mice, soldiers, angels, Clara, and other roles. Adults play the party parents and Mother Ginger. The diverse cast of approximately 70 children consists of dancers taking regular classes in the Orpheum Dance Program Community Class as well as dancers who auditioned for the first time this past September. Children and adults rehearse new choreography every weekend throughout October and November, readying themselves for the performances in December.

Joffrey Ballet School New York dancers in the performances include 19 women and 3 men each weekend. The Mountain Top was introduced to Joffrey Ballet School New York, led by Era Jouravlev, last summer in the Orpheum Dance Program’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The new collaboration is a good fit for these organizations and provides a stepping stone in the careers of the pre-professional dancers, who will perform the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy, Cavalier, Snow Queen and Snow King, among others.

Herr Drosselmeyer will be played by Aquila Theatre’s Conner Keef, who performed the role of Bottom in the Orpheum Dance Program’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream this past July.

The Nutcracker is the story of a young girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and his fierce battle against a Mouse King - good triumphs over evil through the goodness of the heart of a young child. According to folklore, nutcrackers represent power and strength and bring good luck to your family and protect your home. The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffman’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”.

At the opening performance of The Nutcracker, there will be a children’s costume matinee on Saturday, December 2 at 2 pm. Children can dress as their favorite Nutcracker character for a chance to meet performers backstage and take a bow at the end of the show! There will also be a reception featuring cookies, chocolates and ice cream punch immediately following the performance.

The six performances of The Nutcracker will be at 2:00PM and 7:30PM on Saturdays and at 2:00PM on Saturdays and Sundays, December 2-3 and 9-10 at the Orpheum Performing Arts Center, 6050 Main Street, Tannersville, NY. Purchase tickets online at or by contacting the box office via email at or by phone at 518 263 2063. For information about upcoming programs at Catskill Mountain Foundation, please visit

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