Tuesday, July 23, 2024

After 77 years, “The Nutcracker” is New

A few months ago, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and Toledo Ballet announced plans to merge the area’s oldest performing arts institutions. The resulting Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) presents this year’s production of The Nutcracker, the 78th annual local performance of Tchaikovsky’s beloved masterpiece, and the first as a newly combined organization.

Working together

Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony, explains, “It was Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker that originally brought together Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony. This year, more than others, there’s something symbolic about joining forces with our new siblings at Toledo Ballet. We all want to present one of the best Nutcrackers in our joined history,” Vassar continues. “There’s just such a sense of excitement in the air!”

Zak Vassar
Zak Vassar

Lisa Mayer-Lang, Toledo Ballet Artistic Director, adds, “This year’s Nutcracker is more exciting than ever because of the merging of Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony Orchestra. This historic merger has both organizations, as well as the Toledo community, buzzing with excitement!” Mary-Lang adds. “Our dancers are thrilled to be dancing again to the live music performed by the Symphony, now with a heightened sense of unity.”

Star-studded second act

In Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, the well-known appearance of Mother Ginger in Act Two brings a light-hearted distraction. Best recognized by her enormous hoop skirt from which her Gingersnap children spill forth at the beginning of their dance, Mother Ginger’s antics, and the role of Mother Ginger is a long-standing coveted comic role for Toledo leaders.

Toledo Ballet is proud to announce that this year, Chris Caputo (Caputo & Associates), Jay Berschback (WTVG13 Weatherman), Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, and Zak Vassar (President & CEO, Toledo Symphony Orchestra) will play Mother Ginger during this season’s Nutcracker performances.

Chris Caputo
Chris Caputo

“For years my family and I have enjoyed watching my niece and sister-in-law perform in The Nutcracker,” says Chris Caputo. “I would often joke with them, ‘I could play Mother Ginger,’ which is now a reality after my dad secured the role for me as an auction prize in Toledo Ballet’s Tutu Golf Classic!”

Caputo, a Financial Registered Representative at Caputo & Associates, will play the role of Mother Ginger in a school day production of The Nutcracker on Friday, December 7 at 11AM.

Jay Berschback, who will play the role of Mother Ginger on Saturday, December 8 at 2PM, shared his excitement about filling the role: “I’m very honored…to play Mother Ginger in the Toledo Ballet’s Nutcracker this year. I’m looking forward to taking the stage and being a part of this extremely popular Toledo holiday tradition. While I do wear some makeup on television, getting into Mother Ginger makeup will be quite an experience!”

Jay Berschback
Jay Berschback

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz will play the role of Mother Ginger on Saturday, December 8 at 7 PM. “[Kapszukiewicz] has shown himself to be an advocate for classical music, particularly the music of Beethoven, and I appreciate the attention he has given to the arts during his first year in office. I applaud the Mayor’s willingness to have some fun on stage in support of the Toledo Ballet,” says Zak Vassar, President and CEO of TSO.

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz

Vassar himself will play the role of Mother Ginger on Sunday, December 9 at 2PM.

Prices vary, starting at $27.
2pm & 7pm, Saturday, December 8 | 2pm, Sunday, December 9
Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd.,
419-246-8000 | toledosymphony.com

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