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Handel and Tchaikovsky Duels: Nutcrackers and Messiahs Worth the Miles

| November 25, 2011

The Chocolate Nutcracker in rehearsals.

‘tis the Season to Go NUTS!

There are lots of ways to tell (and dance) the Nutcracker story – all around Central Florida.  Here’s my guide to “going NUTS” this season …

The Nutty Nutcracker Christmas


The Orlando Repertory Theatre turns the Nutcracker into a musical in this ‘kids-fun’ production for the family. Rockin’ songs by family music artist Ralph Covert (of Ralph’s World), set the tone as Fritz, a videogame obsessed boy, and a heroic Nutcracker chase down the dastardly Mouse King to save Christmas! On Thanksgiving weekend (Nov 26 and 27) purchase one adult ticket and get 2 tickets FREE (mention the ‘Turkey Ticket Offer’). Show-times are Saturdays at 12 noon and 4 pm and Sundays at 2 pm & 5:30 pm through December 18.  Call 407.896.7365 or visit

The “Chocolate” Nutcracker

Celebrating diversity while encouraging the talent of young people, Universal Child Care Performing Arts will present the Chocolate Nutcracker with over 300 young people on-stage and in the orchestra. This adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s classic will be performed on December 2 at 10 am (children’s version) and December 3 at 7 pm at the Bob Carr Peforming Arts Center in Orlando. This modern-day version is set in Harlem and incorporates dance styles including jazz, tap, hip-hop, and ballet.  Call 407 403 5519 or visit

The Central Florida Ballet’s always entertaining Nutcracker has been named “one of five outstanding productions in the entire nation” by CNN and “the pyrotechnic Nutcracker” by USA Today. CFB’s production will feature guest artists of Ballet Sibiu (of Romania) on Saturday, December 10 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 11 at 2 pm at the Linda Chapin Theatre in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Call 407.849.9948 or visit

The professional Orlando Ballet presents the area’s most ‘classic’ production and invites the award-winning students from the Orlando Ballet School to join them in the children’s roles. Artistic Director Robert Hill stays true to the ‘classic’ while breathing new life into the production with his own choreography. December 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30 pm, Dec. 18 at 2 pm and a children’s “shortened” version on Dec 17 at 11 am and 3 pm and Dec 18 at 11 am at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center. Call 407.426.1739 or visit

The Galmont Ballet presents Frank Galvez’s American Nutcracker, set in the United States in the 19th Century. With a Victorian Christmas tree decorated in red, white and blue, ‘party boys’ dressed as cowboys, and impressive special effects, this American Nutcracker continues the celebration of family, tradition, and love of the original. December 17 and 18 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm at the Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse in Cocoa. 321-636-5050 or

A FREE Nutcracker is offered in Orlando at the Disney Amphitheater by Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando. The Russian Ballet of Orlando presents a gift to the community with a FREE “Nutcracker Under the Stars” (outdoors) on December 17 at 7:30 pm. The performance is choreographed by Vadim Fedotov and features both professional dancers and Academy students.  407.797.1281 or

And If You Want Your Seasonal Music Without the Nuts


The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra will present their annual Holiday Concert – Home for the Holidays with conductor Albert Schram, the Holiday Singers and the Florida Opera Theatre Youth Singers on Saturday, November 26 at 2 pm and 8 pm. The program features instrumentals such as Chanukah Overture, A Brassy Holiday and Bassoon It Will Be Christmas, and vocal selections including, You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch! and Let There Be Peace on Earth, featuring the Children’s Choir. In the spirit of the Season, audience members are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to help re-stock the pantries at Second Harvest Food Bank. The Concert will take place at the Bob Carr PAC in Orlando. Call 407-770-0071 or visit


The Messiah Choral Society, now in their 39th season, will present a FREE performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Bob Carr as a gift to Florida. Considered the most magnificent masterwork of all time, Messiah features the Hallelujah Chorus (for which the audience stands and sings along) along with a host of glorious orchestrations, many of which contain familiar melodies. The free performance will be conducted by Dr. John Sinclair on Sunday, November 27 at 3 pm. Doors will open at 2:15. No tickets or reservations are needed.  Visit

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