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Nativity meets Nutcracker

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal News ServiceJill Manzano, Grace Frazee and Lucy Sandoval rehearse for "Clara's Prayer."
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A unique twist on a perennial holiday favorite is on stage at the Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall this weekend.

“Clara’s Prayer” is a Christian adaptation of “The Nutcracker” ballet, according to Cassie Brockway, owner of the Performing Arts Project of Northern Nevada, the two-year old dance school that is putting on the production.

“Basically, it’s ‘The Nutcracker’ story but what we’ve done is made Jesus the focus of the story,” said Brockway who wrote the one-hour show and is directing and producing it.

In it, Clara, played by Argia Brockway, prays that her younger brother Tommy, played by Kenny Brus, will come to know the true meaning of Christmas. Angels appear to give Tommy a glimpse of heaven and many nations come to worship at the heavenly throne of grace, according to the synopsis. In the end, Tommy receives God’s gift of salvation.

The show incorporates ballet, tap, a little jazz and even some martial arts, said Brockway. The show’s music is the same Tchaikovsky score found in other productions, but some songs, including “Joyful, Joyful” from the film “Sister Act 2,” have been added.

Dianna Andrews will be signing in American Sign Language during “Joyful, Joyful.”

The cast includes Stephanie McQuain as Emily, the younger sister of Clara and Tommy. Kristen Lambert as Mother and John McQuain as Father play the siblings’ parents.

The remaining cast of 20 dancers includes children aged three years old and older as well as adults, all students at the Minden dance studio.

The dance school offers 25 classes a week, including instruction in tap, ballet, jazz and hip hop, with what Brockway calls a Christian-based approach that means parents can feel good about the instruction their kids receive there, she said.

“We are careful with the style of dance and with our costuming,” said Brockway.

And don’t be deterred from “Clara’s Prayer” if you’ve already seen other productions of “The Nutcracker,” said Brockway.

“It’s quite different than other ‘Nutcrackers,'” she said. “It is a unique way to present the meaning of Christmas.”

If You Go

What: “Clara’s Prayer”

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall, 511 W. King St.

Cost: $19.50 general admission, $13.50 for children ages 5-12 years old. Tickets available at the door or online at http://www.breweryarts.org (click on the Community link).

Details: Call the BAC at 775-883-1976 or contact Cassie Brockway at 775-267-4446 or by email at cassiebrock@aol.com.