The Tri-Cities holiday tradition is here once again. The Nutcracker is back on stage at the Richland High School Auditorium.
RICHLAND, Wash. — A holiday tradition for many in the Tri-Cities region is watching The Nutcracker, performed by the Mid-Columbia Ballet.
It’s the 47th performance, and you can count on it being nothing but spectacular this weekend.
“We’ve been practicing for over three months,” said Sana Schiffern, who plays Clara.
“It’s kind of surreal because you obviously prepare long before this,” Anna Brehm said. This is Brehm’s 9th Nutcracker.
There are more than 200 people making this all happen. The stage manager for the production said there’s 141 dancers, and more than 80 crew behind the scenes. They help with make up, stage set up, lighting, fog machines and so many more things. They’re all volunteers, more than dedicated to the arts.
“Why do I keep doing this? It is like the busiest week of my life every year. And it overtakes everything and I come back every year,” said Kerrilynn Robinson.
There’s a wide range of ages that take the stage, from seven to seventy. From being a part of the organization for a couple of years, to almost a decade, to several decades, it’s a clear testament to how much people love the program.
“You start learning it when your child first comes into the organization and then they keep doing it and many stay. We got the system down and it’s really wonderful, and so, it’s a well-oiled machine,” said Robinson.
A well-oiled machine is necessary for what ballet officials call the biggest local production in the area. The hard work is obvious to see.
“It’s become a holiday tradition for many in our area, and they come every year,” said Robinson. “We like to joke sometimes, ‘Well how much advertising do we really need to do?’ because we have this set base that comes every year.”
The Nutcracker comes to the Richland High School Auditorium just for one weekend every year.
“You squish this all into a whole weekend, and then it’s like everything you’ve been preparing for is all for this moment, so every show really counts,” said Brehm. This is her final weekend before leaving for college next year.
“I’m most looking forward to, I guess the opening night,” said Schiffern.
There is also a sensory-friendly performance for people with disabilities.
“We make it more comfortable for them to be here. The lights will not be as dark, the music won’t be as loud. The doors will be open so that they can go in if they need to move in and out of the theater. And so it’s something people feel afraid of bringing their children that may not necessarily sit quietly or understand or they make noise and this is one where they can come in and feel comfortable and enjoy,” explained Robinson.
This performance is specifically for families with children who have sensory-related disorders. It is on Saturday at 1 p.m. It is free, and pre-registration is required.
Shows begin Friday at 7 p.m.
The sensory-friendly show is on Saturday at 1 p.m., followed by performances at 4 and 7 p.m. for the general public.
General shows conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
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