Based on the E.T.A. Hoffman’s story “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” the new musical ‘The Nutcracker’ has dominated the children family theatre. Although the projection on stage is different from the actual story, the plot is still very similar. The main characters of the Nutcracker prince and the seven headed King Mouse are also kept as they were in the original writing. The adaptation of the story into a ballet was Marius Petipa’s idea, but the revision is done by the infamous French author, Alexander Dumas.
The Nutcracker and the King of Mice ballet is a perfect marriage of fantasy and reality, with magic sprinkled over it. The incredible story of a young girl dreaming about the nutcracker prince battling a mouse with seven heads is sure to amaze the audiences. The way The Nutcracker tickets are selling and families are rushing to watch this sensation in theatre is a proof of that.
The Reality or Dream
It all starts at a Christmas party at the Stahlbaum House. The house is grand and magnificent and has inside it the most beautiful tree. The gathering is festive with music and dancing, and the two children of the family Clara and Fritz are playing with their friends when the godfather Drosselmeyer arrives. Drosselmeyer is an adept toy maker and is renowned for his surprising abilities.
Drosselmeyer gives wonderful gifts to all the kids but Clara gets a Nutcracker which becomes the highlight of the entire party. As the night falls and the party comes to an end, Clara takes her beloved nutcracker to the tree to keep him safe from her brother and sleeps there with him in her arms.
As the midnight bells strike, Clara finds herself amidst weird happenings. The toys lying around start to come to life while mice start to gather around her in the form of an army lead by a King Mouse. Nutcracker also comes to life and then starts the interesting events that take the story forward where the Nutcracker is the charming prince and Clara is taken to different amazing lands.
The Original Experience
The Nutcracker was written as a two-act ballet and the first ever choreography for the play was done by Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa, with a score put in by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The lines and dialogues were adapted from E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. On 18th December 1892, the first performance of the play was held at Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. The beauty even back then was that the show was premiered on a double bill with Tchaikovsky’s opera, titled Iolanta.
In the opening performances, the play gained most popularity for the twenty minutes suite from the ballet. However down the line to the 1960s, The Nutcracker still remained popular, and by this time the entire performance had garnered fan following along with the ballet portion. Even today the play is performed by a large number of Ballet groups, especially during the Christmas season. In the U.S., the statistics for some Ballet companies attribute as much as forty percent of their annual revenues to The Nutcracker ticket sales.
The score added by Tchaikovsky in the play is still considered to be one of his most celebrated compositions. The Nutcracker is indeed a delight to watch for the entire family. The adventurous storyline is enjoyed by both the kids and the adults. Even after more than a century since its inception, the play shows no signs of slowing down in terms of popularity.