Community saves ‘The Nutcracker’ when theater shuts down

December 18, 2019 GMT

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — When a north Florida theater abruptly shut down six weeks before opening night of “The Nutcracker,” a group of parents banded together, formed a nonprofit group and saved the show.

The holiday tradition will continue, beginning Friday night, thanks the the efforts of the parents, community members and other local dance schools.

On Nov. 4, the principals behind the Marion Ballet Theater, which put on the event, shut it down and called back all costumes and sets.

“The students had been practicing since August,” Janet Buehre told the Ocala Star-Banner. Her daughter is one of the performers. “Everyone has asked us how it was possible. Never underestimate the power of people and community support.”

For example, Stan and Martha Hanson donated $25,000 to help pay for costume rental and set building, she said. Professional lighting and sound companies also donated their time and two dance studios offered a place to rehearse.

And Melanie Spratt, who has a background in theater, restructured the previous company’s choreography.

“The biggest concern was asking a group of kids, the youngest of which is 4, to learn an entire new balled in less than six weeks,” she said. “It’s been remarkable.”