Monday, December 4, 2023

The Nutcracker Legacy Lives On


Photo courtesy of Toledo Ballet

The classic Christmas fairy tale The Nutcracker is a Toledo tradition. While many dance companies around the nation have cancelled performances this year, the Toledo Ballet and The Ballet Theatre of Toledo are committed to deliver this enchanting performance.  As the pandemic persists, however, this year’s Nutcracker will look a little different. 

The Toledo Ballet 

This year’s production by the Toledo Ballet is filled with honor and gratitude for the beloved legacy of Marie Bollinger Vogt. In 1941, Toledo’s first performance of the Nutcracker was presented, under the direction of Vogt, a Renaissance woman, Toledo icon, and founder of the Toledo Ballet, who passed away in June, 2020. “The show this year is more about Marie than anything else,” says Lisa Mayer-Lang, artistic director of The Toledo Ballet.

vogtFounder Marie Bollinger Vogt who died in June. Photo courtesy of Toledo Ballet.

Toledo Ballet has the longest consecutive running production of The Nutcracker in the nation, with its 80th Anniversary performance this year.  However, following the COVID safety guidelines of the CDC and the state of Ohio, things will be a little different this year — both for the audience and for the eager performers.  Each performer will be in only one role and one act. Everyone will keep their masks on, aside from leads who may take off their mask during a solo. Performers will arrive at the theatre with their hair and makeup already done. Lastly, to make room for more performers backstage, there will not be a live orchestra. Instead, the Toledo Ballet will use a live recording from last year’s performance. 

The audience will be required to wear masks and to be socially distanced. For those unable to attend the live performance, a live stream will be available at

“Everyone is just thrilled that we are going forward with the show,” says Mayer-Lang. “Seeing their happiness gets me through the extra rehearsals and sleepless nights. It is more positive than I’ve ever seen. This performance is comforting and a gift to Toledo and the dancers.”

Four shows are scheduled for the weekend of December 11 to December 13 at the Stranahan Theatre. Call 419-246-8000 or go to to purchase tickets online. 

The Ballet Theatre of Toledo

Ballet Theatre of Toledo, Nutcracker. Waltz of the Flowers.

Photo courtesy of Ballet Theatre of Toledo

As soon as the Governor’s order shut down Ohio due to COVID back in March, Artistic Director and Choreographer Nigel Burgouine began to create a condensed version of The Nutcracker, titled Clara’s Dream. This year, two acts will be condensed into one, to provide a 40 to 45 minute filmed production. The film of the performance will be shown at the Field of Dreams Drive-In in Liberty Center, Ohio, which has a capacity of 250 cars.  Grandparents will be able to watch their grandchildren perform from their car without health concerns. 

On November 14, Ballet Theatre of Toledo performers will arrive at the Valentine Theatre with make-up on and ready to perform, where they will be filmed with cameras purchased for the Valentine by the Toledo Community Foundation. The performance will be filmed with as few stops as possible. The footage will then be edited by Burgoine himself, and the resulting film will be played on November 28 at the drive-in theater.

”In life, you get hiccups, but you must keep going,” explains Burgoine, who offers a big thank you to the Valentine Theatre, Field of Dreams, and Donna Bogan of Hartman & Associates for making the performance possible this year.

“I’ve told my students that thousands of children all over the world will not be able to appear in the Nutcracker this year, and thousands will not be able to see the performances,” says Burgouine. “Our kids are very lucky and very excited to perform the roles they’ve been understudying.”

For more information, contact 419-861-0895 or visit

Recent Articles