Santa Claus, the Grinch among characters included in modern version | NevadaAppeal.com

Santa Claus, the Grinch among characters included in modern version

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Shelly Hardy, 15, rehearses Pas de Deus in "The Nutcracker" ballet that will be held at Piper's Opera House in Virginia City on Saturday.

For more than 35 years, the coming of the holiday season has meant a return of “The Nutcracker” performance for Carolyn Oliver.

Since 1968, Oliver has been involved with a winter performance of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” ballet, but recently she has added her own twist to the classic ballet.

“We wanted to do something different, people get tired of the same old thing,” Oliver said. “So we wrote the story and had the Grinch replace the mouse king and Santa replace the Nutcracker and the story just keeps evolving.”

For the fifth year, Oliver’s Nevada Ballet Society will perform “The Nutcracker Story” at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City. The performance features 90 dancers ranging in age from 4 to 57 from Dayton, Carson City, Virginia City and Douglas County. It is set to the music of the classic ballet with an updated story.

In the new version, the Sugar Plum Fairy summons the Christmas angels to cast a spell over the sleeping grinchlets, relatives of the Grinch. Santa arrives with gifts for the grinchlets, including a special nutcracker doll for Marie Silverhaus.

The Grinch steals the doll, only to have it stolen from him by Silly Willy, the smallest grinchlet. Pandemonium ensues as Santa, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Grinch and many helpers try to find the missing nutcracker doll.

Recommended Stories For You

Terry Smith of Dayton reprises his role as the Grinch, one of the best parts of the show, according to Oliver.

“He’s actually a pretty good dancer for not having a lot of training. I played the Grinch the first year and it’s hard to dance. It’s very hot and the costume is very cumbersome. (Smith) is definitely an asset to us,” said Oliver.

Oliver, who makes changes to the story every year as well as designing and creating the costumes for the show and serving as the director and choreographer, said the project takes several months to get ready to perform.

“We start after Labor Day and we never have enough time, but it always seems to come together,” she said.

Tickets for the show are $8 for children, $15 for adults and $30 for a family pack including up to two adults and four children. To assure a spot at the performances, patrons are encouraged to call the opera house at 847-0433 for reservations.

The show coincides with the annual Christmas on the Comstock celebration taking place in Virginia City, which includes carolers, gingerbread houses and a parade.

— Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

If you go

What: “The Nutcracker Story”

When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City

Cost: Tickets are $8 for children, $15 for adults and $30 for a family pack including up to two adults and four children.

To assure a spot at the performances, patrons are encouraged to call the opera house at 847-0433 for reservations.