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Holiday classic at Emma Kelly theater
Production will include over 100 local performers
Bryan Realiza stretches Saturday as he prepares to rehearse “The Nutcracker” which will be performed Thursday through Sunday at the Emma Kelly Theater in downtown Statesboro. - photo by HOLLI DEAL BRAGG/staff


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From Staff Reports

    The stage at Emma Kelley Theater Saturday was filled with dolls, mice, handsome men and beautiful ladies as the cast of a classic Christmas ballet held a technical dress rehearsal.
    The Averitt Center for the Arts will present a local production of the holiday favorite “The Nutcracker” beginning Thursday and running through Sunday, Nov. 19.
    “This is currently the largest community (theatrical) event of the year,” said Tim Chapman, the executive director of the Averitt Center for the Arts. “There are over 100 people in the cast alone.”
    The cast of 135  ranges in age from 3 and 4 year olds (112 in all) to 23 adults. Shay Morgan will  direct the local production for the third consecutive year. Featured in this year’s production will be Stacey Slichter and Norbert Nierwicz, two professional ballet dancers.
    “This is the biggest production of our year,” Chapman said. “We have special effects and special lights for the show. We also are featuring two very talented professional dancers this year.”
    Slichter, a Florida native, has been a company dancer for the Atlanta Ballet for the past six years, along with a resume that also includes performing with the Sarasota Opera as well as the North Atlanta Dance Theatre. Nirewicz, coming to the United States from Poland, was a finalist in Poland’s national Ballet Competition in 1993. He received a silver medal in the same competition two years later in 1995.
    “This is one of the best local productions of the Nutcracker for a town of Statesboro’s size.” Chapman said.
    “Each year, we have added more scenery, more costumes and back drops,” Morgan said. “This is a huge             production.”
    Performer Hadley Campbell said everyone is having a wonderful time getting ready for the ballet.
    “I love the stage,” he said. “I’m a ham anyway. When (Morgan) asked, I couldn’t say no. I like the energy the kids bring to it.”
    The Nutcracker will perform at 7 p.m. starting Thursday and continuing through Saturday, and conclude with a Sunday afternoon performance at 2 p.m. There is also a special school matinee performance at 10 a.m. on Friday.
    Tickets for The Nutcracker are on sale at Sea Island Bank or the Averitt Center for the Arts. Adult tickets are $15 and youth ages 13 and under are $12. For more information, contact the Averitt Center at (912) 212-ARTS (2787) or by visiting their Web site at http://www.averittcenterforthe The Averitt Center is located on Main Street across from the Court House and Sea Island Bank.
    There are several other holiday events at the Averitt Center. Another production of Langston Hughes’ “Black Nativity” will run from Dec. 1 through 3, directed by Mical Whitaker.
    William James Middle School will have a holiday choral recital Dec. 5, and the Southern Dance Academy will hold a holiday recital Dec. 9.
    Three Celtic tenors will perform a holiday show Dec. 10, and Emma’s Holiday Follies, a vaudeville-type show full of dance, music and theater, will run Dec. 15 through 17. The Helen Redding School of Dance will hold a holiday recital Dec. 19.
    For ticket information, call the Averitt Center box office.
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