12/06/04 — Goldsboro Ballet's 'Nutcracker' keeps getting better

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Goldsboro Ballet's 'Nutcracker' keeps getting better

By Winkie Lee
Published in News on December 6, 2004 2:08 PM

During a party at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Silberhaus (played by Lorenz Falls and Sunnie Harris), there was festive music as people visited, exchanged gifts, enjoyed refreshments and danced. Suddenly, the music stopped, there was a knock at the door -- and the music began again.

The knock belonged to Uncle Drosselmeier (Gene McLendon), whose gift to the Silberhaus' daughter, Clara, would lead to a magical journey of dance, adventure and romance.

The momentarily stopping of the music gave the impression that something was about to happen and was one of the nice details the Goldsboro Ballet used in this year's production of "The Nutcracker."

There were many others.

Among them was the presentation of the Nutcracker to Clara. Drosselmeier handed her the toy wrapped in blue net and red ribbon, then handed her brother, Fritz (Faith Mendoza), a small object which Drosselmeier later took to wind up Clara's doll. The object wasn't a gift for Fritz! It was just a key for Clara's gift!

Being slighted angered Fritz, who got into a tug of war with Clara and broke the Nutcracker.

Every year, audiences have watched Fritz grab and break Clara's toy. This year, though one wouldn't condone what he did, one could understand why he was upset.

Other touches included the battle between the Mouse King (Elizabeth Falls), the Nutcracker (Carrie McCall) and their armies. The battle was handled in a humorous fashion. For example, when the Mouse King successfully grabbed the Nutcracker's sword and restrained him with it, the Mouse King was so happy that he skipped across the stage. Not exactly warrior behavior!

Even if the audience didn't know in advance that the Nutcracker and his soldiers are the ones who win, they could figure it out rather quickly due to another bit of humor. The soldiers came armed with rifles while the mice were armed with chunks of cheese!

This is the 23rd year that the Goldsboro Ballet has performed "The Nutcracker," and it just keeps getting better.

There is so much that can be praised: the outstanding dancing, the colorful and attractive costumes, the acting, the fine direction.

Three of the ballet's members are high school seniors, which means this is their last performance in the Goldsboro Ballet's "Nutcracker." Sunnie Harris, Carrie McCall and Katie Nenichka can each be commended for their performances Sunday and know that their absence next year will be noticed.

Jessica Sauls did well as Clara on Sunday afternoon, particularly in the scene in which she and her Prince (Chance Carter) arrived in the Land of Sweets and acted out what had happened to them earlier. Chance also did well in his portrayal.

Playing Clara on Saturday night was Madison Bryan. Paula Sauls, who was at the Saturday performance, said Madison used great facial expressions and beautiful foot work.

Ron Smith, a dancer from Greenville, gave an outstanding performance as the Cavalier, and Gene McLendon, known for his acting and directing with Center Stage Theatre, gave fun performances as Drosselmeier and Mother Ginger.

Peggy Wingate directed "The Nutcracker," and she and her daughter, Mary Wingate Franklin, did the choreography.

Over the years, "The Nutcracker" has become one of the highlights of the Christmas season in Goldsboro. Sunday afternoon's performance was a good reminder of why that is.