After a rather stoic first rehearsal as Mother Gigogne in Pinkerton Ballet Theatre's production of "The Nutcracker Ballet," Mayor Bob Crowell knows what he needs to work on.
"I've got to practice my act a little bit," he said, still dressed in his blouse and apron costume with shiny red hearts on his cheeks. "I need to work on making cupcakes and smiling while I do it."
The loveable and outrageous role of Mother Gigogne is traditionally played by a male, often leaders in the community. In the past, Sen. Maurice Washington was cast.
However, this year's production over the Thanksgiving weekend features a star-studded lineup.
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong will debut the character at Friday's performance. District Attorney Neil Rombardo will take over Saturday, and Crowell will perform at Sunday's matinee performance.
The real pressure, said Furlong, is on Crowell as the final performer.
"If Neil and I do well, he has to outdo us," Furlong said.
However, the sheriff isn't too confident in his own acting skills - especially in full make-up wearing an enormous skirt.
"I've never done anything like this before," he said. "I don't know how I get myself into these things."
But he does know. Molly Walt, city supervisor and president of the Pinkerton Ballet Theatre, "twisted my arm," he said. "Plus, she beat me up."
Walt said it was with good reason.
"To have a celebrity play that part, it really adds to the performance," she said. "It adds to those who are watching."
Rombardo just hopes they're not watching with too critical of an eye.
"Being in front of a courtroom is easy for me compared to doing this," he said. "This will be interesting to say the least."
Despite his nerves, however, he said he was more than willing to agree.
"How could I not?" he asked. "It's a way to be supportive of the community, even if it is a bit out of character for me."
This year marks Pinkerton's 21st annual production of "The Nutcracker Ballet," which blends professional dancers with local students. Dancers who start dancing in the show as children often continue performing throughout the years.
"It's really a quality performance," Walt said.
Crowell has seen the production several times and didn't hesitate to get involved.
"This community is made by the youth," he said. "I've raised four children so I've had to do a lot of silly things, lots of fun things.
"This is what the whole Christmas season is about."