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They have room to breathe on the Long Center stage and it showed Saturday night with bright, animated performances. Rebecca Johnson and Edward McPherson gave an as the pair of Arabian dancers. As the Sugar Plum Fairy, Aare Krumpe and Allisyn Paino’s Snow Queen was utter elegance.

Then again maybe it’s Tony Tucci’s refreshed lighting scheme that gives this ‘Nutcracker’ a pretty new shimmery look. Tucci washes the magical Land of Snow with soft violet shades and adds some fun special effects when Clara’s house morphs into a dreamlike world. And to the Land of the Sweets, Tucci adds nice touches of subtle motion and shifting mood.

Thanks to the Long Center’s superb sight lines, the pretty freshness of this ‘Nutcracker’ projects even up in the balcony where the budget-minded can find seats for $12 to $45. (The show runs about 2 hours and ten minutes including intermissions.)

And after a year’s hiatus, the guest Mother Ginger role is back. Who doesn’t enjoy watching a local personality goof it up while dressed in a giant red hoop skirt?

And who wouldn’t enjoy letting this ‘Nutcracker’ transport them away?

Click here for more information on The Nutcracker.

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