Popular children’s entertainers Max & Ruby are bringing their own special rendition of the Christmas classic The Nutcracker to Red Deer on Nov. 17.
Stage director, award-winning choreographer and former ballerina Patti Caplette has taken the 100-year-old ballet and reinvented it for a new generation of families via Max & Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite.
The show, inspired by one of the greatest musical scores ever composed – Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite – will be presented twice at the Memorial Centre – 1 and 4 p.m.
It’s a snowy winter evening and bunny siblings Max & Ruby have been anxiously waiting for the most spectacular event of the year: seeing The Nutcracker ballet with Grandma. Imagine their disappointment when a snow storm keeps them at home.
A story of The Nutcracker will have to do. And so vivid is Grandma’s storytelling that the characters in the ballet come to life right before their very eyes.
Max & Ruby marvel at the sight of many enchanting guests, including a Spanish bullfighter, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince.
Whether it was the sweets or their lively imaginations, Max & Ruby head off to bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.
The production is the newest live show produced by Koba Entertainment.
Set to the timeless music of Tchaikovsky as well as delightful original songs, this 90-minute event boasts captivating original choreography by Caplette – who has professionally danced in more than 100 ballet performances of The Nutcracker with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
“It’s a process I take very seriously – to try and create the costumes, the voices, the sound effects and the musical tracks that will certainly be recognizable by audiences,” she said. “And enhance it for the theatrical experience.”
It’s certainly a collaborative venture. “I usually have a whole team of about 50 different people working on a production to bring it to life.”
Caplette, who also wrote and directed the show, first discovered her love of performing arts at her mother’s dance studio in Vancouver where by age five she was showing an early knack for choreography and playwriting.
“I come by it totally honestly – our whole house was filled with costumes and ideas and music. My mother was the inspiration for me to follow in those footsteps — I thought everybody’s mother was a dancer,” she laughs. “Dressing up in costume and performing was absolutely part of my life.”
She had tried a regular day job in an office, but in just three months she knew dancing would be her life’s work. Between 1973 and 1992 she performed in more than 400 cities in 19 countries including United States, Canada, Russia, Japan, Egypt and Mexico and starred in numerous productions by international choreographers.
Meanwhile, the show also features many talented dancers including Jera Wolfe, who made it to the Top 18 on the third season of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. The magic of The Nutcracker story is also of course an enduring classic worldwide, which makes it that much more of a delight to creative re-interpret.
“As soon as you hear that music, you think okay – it’s Christmas,” she says. “It’s magical. There are so many different styles in it as well, especially when they go to the land of the sweets. You’ve got all these flavours – it’s inspiring.”
For Caplette, sharing her skills and direction with performers is a joy.
“It keeps challenging me to push boundaries, and it keeps me young. And because these shows are targeted for a family audience, there is always humour involved.”
Originating as a book series by Rosemary Wells, Max & Ruby have sold more than three million books worldwide. The TV show, launched in 2002, is enjoyed by children around the world in countries including Canada, U.S., Finland, France and Sweden.
For ticket information, call the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre at 403-755-6626 or visit www.blackknightinn.ca.