FORT WALTON BEACH — Continuing its incredible golden anniversary season, the Northwest Florida Ballet (NFB) presents the 40th annual production of the classic holiday fairytale "The Nutcracker" at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22 and 23 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 24. Performances will be held at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center and will feature live music by the Northwest Florida Ballet (NFB) Symphony Orchestra.
NFB's production of "The Nutcracker" includes a cast of over 140 performers, including over 100 local children and international guest artists. This season the role of Clara will be performed by Scarlett Bennett, who will dance with Noah Cook performing as the high-spirited Fritz. Bennett and Cook attend the NFB Académie and are in the seventh and sixth grades, respectively. NFB's Artistic Director/CEO Todd Eric Allen will dance the role of Drosselmeyer, and NFB Assistant Director Shari Allen will be the vivacious Mouse Queen.
Celebrated NFB alum and current American Ballet Theater (ABT) dancer Courtney Shealy will dance the role of Sugar Plum Fairy, and Cameron McCune, also of ABT, will be her Prince Cavalier. International guest artist Meisy Garcia Laffitte will dance the role of the Dew Drop Fairy and the Snow Queen alongside NFB alum and principal guest artist Jonathan Carter who will perform as the Snow King.
NFB dancers Luciana Ato and Jolin Crabtree will perform the roles of the Snow Princesses. Ato will also perform in the Arabian pas de trois with NFB alums Carter and Thomas Tona. NFB dancer Wyatt Mier will perform in a trio of roles, including the high-flying lead Russian dancer, a Harlequin Doll and the esteemed Nutcracker Prince. Angel Mier will dance the role of Columbine Doll.
The NFB Symphony Orchestra, led by David Ott, is comprised of some of the finest musicians from the Southeast and abroad. In his fourth year as the NFB music director, Ott has been cited among America's most-performed composers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
In addition to its three public performances, NFB will also present two performances for area school children and special needs groups at 10 a.m. Nov. 22 and 23. An Académie Alumni party will be held immediately following the Nov. 23 performance. Alumni of the NFB Académie should contact the NFB office at 850-664-7787 for tickets to the production and to register for the party.
Box office priced tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at NFBallet.org or through the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Box Office.