GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – This year’s edition of “Green Bay Nutcracker Ballet” finds a few significant changes on artistic director Timothy Josephs’ palette. The production by Northeastern Wisconsin Dance Organization continues as a massive undertaking, with 87 dancers dancing a few hundred roles in the costuming/dance showpiece inspired by the indelible music of Peter Illych Tchaikovsky. Three more performances continue through Sunday, Dec. 14, at the Meyer Theatre in downtown Green Bay. Info:

Key credits

Source – Version presented Dec. 17, 1892, Maryinski Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia, with music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikvosky; artistic director and choreographer – Timothy Josephs; ballet mistresses – Diane Danhieux and Kristen Throne; costume coordinator –Kyle Pingel, costume designers – Lori Maher, Kyle Pingel and Tutus Devine; scenic and lighting designer – Jeffrey Paul Entwistle; technical director – Tim Funk; stage manager – Wendy Huber; prop designers – Jeffrey Paul Entwistle, Timothy Josephs; sound – Jeff Cheesebro.

Participation/support: First Street Academy of Dance, 5678 Dance, Barb’s Centre for Dance, City of De Pere Park and Recreation, Danaille’s Dance Academy, Fancy Dancer, Green Bay community, Green Bay Park and Recreation, Green Bay School of Dance, Kali’s School of Dance, Milwaukee School of Ballet, Valley Academy for the Arts, Vibe Dance Center.



Act I

1st Tableau

Dr. Stahlbaum: Tom Abbott

Mrs. Stahlbaum: Paula Abbott

Clara: Mari White

Fritz: Austin Dolphin

Mothers: Karen Cowen, Julie Meyer, Ali Michaud, Emily Paulsen, Teal Peters

Fathers: Curt Christnot, Jeff Davis, Lisa Kubald, Kyle Pingel, Dean Rodeheaver, Kenneth Zaremski

Party Boys: Elliot Chronert, Jack Cole, Lilly Meyer, Whitney Michaud, Gretchen Paulsen

Party Girls: Andrea Ball, Ava Brandt, Delaney Collins, Eva Chronert, April Krumpos, Adriannah Popkey, Kaia Rodeheaver, Abigail Vlies

Little Party Girls: Grace Cole, Amelie Dickey, Katie Meyer, Elaina Welsing, Madeline Wied

Little Party Boys: Grace Collar, Helen Flanagan, Fiona Josephs, Francesca Wied

Maids: Barb Gallagher, Pamela Josifek

Grandmother: Tammy Verbrick

Grandfather: Diane Danhieux

Uncle Drosselmeyer: Scott Ronsmans

Christmas Tree Angel: Anna Marie Johnson

Dancing Dolls: McKenzie Alosi, Skye Vandeleest

Soldier Doll: Yevgeny Shlapko

2nd Tableau

Nutcracker Prince: Yevgeny Shlapko

Night Scene Little Dolls: Emily Bonkowski, Grace Cole, Helen Flanagan, Clare Fricke, Fiona Josephs, Grace Madden, Claire Silta, Elaina Welsing, Francesca Weid

Soldiers: Elliot Chronert, Jack Cole, Austin Dolphin, Maddie Eckberg, April Krumpos, Adriannah Popkey, Kaia Rodeheaver, Madeline Vlies, Katie Eggers, Whitney Michaud

Mouse Queen: Hannah Biller

Mice: Maddy Burgess, Adison Karbon, Lilly Meyer, Ella Mingori, Gretchen Paulsen, Angelia Osorio, Ava Van Straten, SoHee Wreen, Olivia Davis, Grace Collar

Little Mice: Eddie Flanagan, Hayden Josephs, Katie Rider, Josh Rider, Annalyse Throne, Emma Wiinimaki

Elder Clara: McKenzie Van Oss

Snow Queen: Kristen Throne

Dancing Snow Flakes: McKenzie Alosi, Andrea Ball, Hannah Biller, Sydney Bozec, Ava Brandt, Eva Chronert, Delaney Collins, Chloe Eggers, Maria Gulan, Sophie Harpt, Anna Marie Johnson, Skye Vandeleest, Abigail Vlies

Act II

Christmas Tree Angels: Anna Marie Johnson, Pamela Josifek, Alicia Michaud, Abigail Vlies

Angels: Katie Eggers, Adison Karbon, Whitney Michaud, Madeline Vlies, Lily Brouchoud, Ashley Burgess, Grace Collar, Amelie Dickey, Maddie Eckberg, Zoe Eckberg, Ava Lagerkvist, Maren Lee, Mylah Manning, Katie Meyer, Gretchen Paulsen, Katie Rider, Sonia Schiegg, Jocelyn Silta, Ava Slawinski, Mylie Slawinski, Ava Smith, Annalyse Throne, Madeleine Wied, Emma Wiinamaki

Procession: Chocolate: Andrea Ball, Helen Flanagan, Claire Silta; Coffee: McKenzie Alosi, Fiona Josephs, SoHee Wreen; Tea Sweets: Austin Dolphin, Francesca Wied, Olivia Davis; Trepak: Kaia Rodenheaver, Emily Bonkowski, Angelia Osorio; Marzipan: Ava Brandt, Grace Madden, Clare Fricke; Flowers: Maria Gulan, Grace Cole, Elaina Welsing; Mother Ginger: Ava Van Straten, Maddy Burgess, Lily Brouchoud, Jocelyn Silta

Chocolate: Andrea Ball, Angie Flanagan, Kristen Throne

Coffee: McKenzie Alosi, Hannah Biller

Tea Sweets: Austin Dolphin, Mari White, April Krumpos, Adriannah Popkey

Trepak: Delaney Collins, Chloe Eggers, Lisa Kubald, Kaia Rodeheaver, Abigail Vlies, Madeline Vlies

Marzipan: Ava Brandt, Sydney Bozec, Skye Vandeleest

Mother Ginger: Curt Christnot

Mother Ginger’s Children and Cookies: Lily Brouchoud, Jocelyn Silta, Maddy Burgess, Grace Cole, Maddie Eckberg, Katie Eggers, Helen Flanagan, Fiona Josephs, Grace Madden, Lilly Meyer, Ella Mingori, Claire Silta, Ava Van Straten, SoHee Wreen

Waltz of the Flowers: McKenzie Alosi, Andrea Ball, Hannah Biller, Sydney Bozec, Ava Brandt, Eva Chronert, Delaney Collins, Chloe Eggers, Maria Gulan, Anna Marie Johnson, Skye Vandeleest, Abigail Vlies

Cavalier: Dameon Nagel

Sugar Plum Fairy: Randi Osetek


New and/or different are such things as scenes that feature the younger/youngest dancers, a new magical Uncle Drosselmeyer (local performer Scott Ronsmans, fitting in nicely) and attention paid to Elder Clara (McKenzie Van Oss, former company member and now in training with Carolina Ballet, generating many appealing lines).

Prime basics remain. Everything flows on the music Tchaikovsky – that amazing amalgam of elegance, imagination and excitement. There’s fun with kiddie angels and Mother Ginger’s flock of kids. There’s yearning in Clara. There’s action in a battle between soldiers and mice. Everything is scenic, with key moments in the lithe Sugar Plum Fairy (Randi Osetek of Carolina Ballet), the dynamic Nutcracker Prince (Yevgeny Shlapko of Carolina Ballet) and seas of local dancers in “Waltz of the Flowers” and “Snow” (akin to wind-blown snow dashing in front of us in a headlong Wisconsin snowstorm).

Energy and eagerness abound in the local dancers. Occasional glances into the crowd by the youngest dancers show how much fun they’re having. Advanced dancers flash their skills all over, but notably in the feature displays of Chocolate and Coffee and Marzipan and more in Act II. There’s a certain joy in this year’s Young Clara (Mari White) and extra mischief in her jealous brother, Fritz (Austin Dolphin).

The pros add elements of discipline, precision and finesse. Randi Osetek is picturesque. Yevgeny Shlapko wows when he first comes on in the exacting snap-to of the Soldier Doll, and later he is dynamic of body and expression whether in solo or in support of McKenzie Van Oss as the sweet Clara.

Imagine artistic director Timothy Josephs’ brain as he rests his head on his pillow at night: Not only does he have a Sugar Plum Fairy dancing through his head, he’s got mice and snowflakes and dolls and angels – and so many parents’/grandparents’ pride and joy – all romping in an extravagant fantasyland as some crazy Russian’s melodies play over and over and over. “Green Bay Nutcracker Ballet” is quite the project, again.

THE VENUE: Stop and look around the place. It’s an eye full. It’s one of the state’s colorful historic theaters. In its current form, the Robert T. Meyer Theatre opened Feb. 27, 2002. It seats approximately 1,000. The building dates back much farther. It opened Feb. 14, 1930, as one of the palatial Fox movie houses. The place is picturesque. The theater’s interior aura was its saving grace toward the end of the 20th century, when the building was faced an uncertain fate. The architectural/decorative style is defined as Spanish Atmospheric. The auditorium is designed in the manner of a Moorish courtyard of old. The eclectic mix of architectural styles and colors carries throughout the lobbies.

THE PEOPLE: Robert Meyer was president and chief executive officer of Tape Inc. of Green Bay. The theater took his name at the behest of his wife, Betty (Janet Elizabeth) Rose Meyer, whose financial contribution at a crucial time helped revitalize the building. The Rose family has a history of deep commitment to and involvement in the well being of Green Bay. Robert Meyer died in 1984, Betty Rose Meyer in 2008.

Because I review a broad range of performances, professional and amateur, and because of the tremendous range of production budgets, I have decided to forego putting star ratings on performances. You may email me at Watch for my on-air segments on WFRV between 6 and 8 a.m. Sundays.