“Every year, we have three [holiday] events in the month of December and they really go into different directions,” said Terri Cox, program director for The Grand Theatre, 7 N. Wall St. in Cartersville. “The first one is ‘The Nutcracker,’ which is a traditional holiday performance. And then we have our orchestra performance with the Atlanta Pops, which is the only big orchestral performance in our community all year long. Then it goes more into the religious meaning of Christmas with ‘The Nativity’ ballet.
“We do feel that the lineup we have appeals to a wide variety of patrons. The ballets, of course, really appeal to the children as well as the adults and the orchestra concert is more of an elegant, more formal event that appeals a little bit more to adults, although we do have a children’s element in there this year. So I think we’ll have more children coming out for that this year.”
The magical tale of Clara’s adventures will be revisited as the Cartersville City Ballet — under the direction of Terri Kayser — presents a traditional version of “The Nutcracker.” Performed locally since the late 1980s, the ballet will be held Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 7 at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 8 at 3 p.m.
“The story is about a young girl who receives a really special gift from her uncle who is rather mysterious and obviously the gift is the nutcracker ... [which later] grows to life size,” Kayser said. “He battles in our version a Mouse Queen and all her little mice.
“Once that battle is fought and he is the winner, then he takes her on a journey through the Land of the Snowflakes and continues onto the Land of the Sweets, where there’s a huge celebration held in their honor. ... The viewers, it’s up to them to determine is this a dream or is it truly a magical journey that she goes on?”
While the ballet will showcase the talents of a plethora of dancers, some of its lead roles will be Clara — Hannah Morrison and Katie Tolbert; Dew Drop Fairy — Christen Knight and Ashley Edwards; Sugar Plum Fairy — Holly Nunn and Ashlyn Bresnahan; Herr Drosselmeyer — Dr. Allen Weirick; Nutcracker Prince — David Pye and Noah Oakley; and Mouse Queen — Cathryn Farmer and Katie Guyton.
“There’s many different versions of ‘The Nutcracker’ in present day,” Kayser said. “Some stick to a traditional version, which I consider ours more of a traditional version, and then there are some done in a very contemporary manner. I’ve seen some done where the whole opening is set like an orphanage. ... So you have many versions of ‘The Nutcracker’ floating around that don’t necessarily follow the format of the traditional ... 1800s story.
“... I think a lot of individuals look at this as sort of part of their holiday tradition. ... It’s definitely a story of goodwill. Everything that happens within it is positive. You leave feeling good. Everybody’s happy in the story. There’s a holiday party and then gifts are given to the children and then there’s this wonderful adventure that Clara goes on. So it’s definitely a story that leaves you feeling good — warms your heart. And I feel like ... oftentimes many our holiday traditions and the stories that we are drawn to leave you with a warm heart.”
Tickets for “The Nutcracker” are $18 for adults and $14 for students. For more information or to obtain tickets for any of The Grand Theatre’s shows, individuals need to view www.thegrandtheatre.org, call 770-386-7343 or visit The Grand Theatre Ticket Office Monday through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. and 12:30 to 5 p.m.
Atlanta Pops Orchestra
For its 10th annual “Holiday Concert,” the Atlanta Pops will perform classic holiday melodies as well as highlight the musical talents of some local residents Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. A holiday staple, the show is the second offering in The Century Bank Entertainment Series at The Grand Theatre.
“This will be our 10th anniversary of performances with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra and we’re very proud of that connection that we have with them,” Cox said. “We are very excited at having the Cartersville Elementary [choir] as our guest singers this year. ... They’ll be performing two pieces. One is a beautiful Hanukkah piece and the other one is actually composed by a local resident, Richard McKee.
“I think it’s unusual for an orchestra to be willing to cooperate like that with a local group. So far, we’ve had an adult ensemble sing. We’ve had several different soloists sing throughout the years and this is the first time we’ve had a children’s choir sing with the Atlanta Pops. Of course, we’re very excited about being able to present this piece by Richard McKee. The title is ‘Fum, Fum, Fum,’ which is a traditional folk song. ... He has written it for the children’s choir and also the orchestration for the performers in the orchestra.”
Tickets for the “Holiday Concert” are $20 for balcony level and $25 for orchestra level.
To be presented by the Steps of Faith Dance Company, “The Nativity” will highlight the essence of Christmas this month.
“The plot is based upon a little girl named Holly who learns the true meaning of Christmas, which is about Jesus’ birth,” Steps of Faith Artistic Director Julie Reeves said. “The story of Jesus’ birth is depicted as well as Holly’s journey to learning that it’s not about the presents at Christmastime but it’s about the gift of Jesus.
“Our show is so close to Christmas Day, and I’m hoping the audience will by this point be reflecting on Christmas is an awesome time but it’s more important to reflect on what Christmas is about, which is about Jesus. ... I think sometimes we get so busy getting ready for Christmas with presents and parties and stuff like that — which is fun and great and there’s nothing wrong with it — but by the time Christmas comes, I hope our audience reflects on why we even celebrate Christmas in the first place.”
Written and choreographed by Steps of Faith staff, “The Nativity” will be performed Dec. 21 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Dec. 22 at 3 p.m. The cast will include 60 dancers from Steps of Faith and a dozen actors from Allstars Community Theatre Inc.
The lead roles will be Holly — Zara Rainey, Hannah Miller and Clara Nash; Mary — Taylor Gilliam, Camille Jones and Christine Fortin; Joseph — Cole Thuresson; Jesus — Garrett Able; Little Boy Jesus — Judah Belisle, Nathan Gabriel and Owen Calhoun; and Holy Spirit — Kolie Gilliam, Anna Martin and Holly Mitchell.
Tickets for “The Nativity” vary in cost. Orchestra level seats are $18 for adults and $14 for students, while balcony seats run $13 for adults and $10 for students.