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‘The show must go on’

‘The show must go on’

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“The Show Must Go On” has been a running theme for the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company’s 2020 production of “The Nutcracker.”

Postponed from December due to high COVID-19 numbers in Lancaster County, the holiday classic will take Lied Center stage Saturday and Sunday, March 6-7.

“The Board of Directors and I took a hard look at canceling the show, but we could not bring our hearts to do that,” said Artistic Director Shari True. “So many dancers already spent hours rehearsing, and children had worked hard to receive the parts they did – parts they may never get an opportunity to do again. We just could not give up. Instead, we decided to push back the show, say a prayer and forge forward.”

Working alongside the Lied Center staff, the LMBC board and Shari True were able to reschedule.

As a result, mice will be scampering, angels will be floating and snow will be soaring across the stage to the music of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” score. Clara will take the audience on a magical journey of her love for a nutcracker doll to unfold the endearing story. Maggie Oulianova, 17, of Lincoln, and Abigail Hovendick, 18, of Milford, will dance the role of Clara in the production.

Professional dancers from across the country will join the 167 local cast members for “The Nutcracker.” Notable companies such as Pittsburgh Ballet, Boulder Ballet, Alabama Ballet and American Midwest Ballet will dance in the 2021 show.

Journy Wilkes-Davis, from Alabama Ballet, will return to dance for LMBC as Snow King and Arabian.

"I'm so excited to return as a guest artist for the Lincoln Midwest Ballet,” Wilkes-Davis said. “In 2015, I enjoyed performing Cavalier, alongside so many talented artists at the beautiful Lied Center."

Yoshiaki Nakano, a native of Osaka, Japan, and his wife, Jessica McCann, will perform Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier. They both dance with Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, and their professional careers have taken them around the world.

Wyatt Payne, in his fourth season with American Midwest Ballet, will perform the roles of Marzipan and Harlequin, and Hunter Solomon, with Boulder Ballet, is joining the cast as the Nutcracker Prince.

In a year where dancers everywhere have been unable to perform due to the pandemic, the LMBC Board of Directors are more committed than ever to finding a way to safely perform “The Nutcracker.”

“Most of our cast members have not had the opportunity to perform before a live audience since our 2019 production,” said Marcia Kirk, LMBC president. “Our fall audition was received with great optimism, so this belated holiday favorite is our way of giving our cast members a long-awaited chance to take the stage.”

The Lied Center will be social distancing audience members and requiring them to wear masks. Tickets are limited to 658 per performance. Show times are Saturday, March 6, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 7, at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Tickets are sold at the Lied Center box office, 402-472-4747, and online at www.liedcenter.org/event/nutcracker-ballet-0.

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