Review: After 7 Years, ‘The Brown-Forman Nutcracker’ Still Has It

By Kathi E.B. Ellis for 89.3 WFPL

This Thursday saw the opening performance of the Louisville Ballet’s second, and final, weekend of their annual production of “The Brown-Forman Nutcracker.” Now seven years into this iteration of the holiday favorite, kudos must go to the storage and maintenance staff whose work has ensured that sets and costumes have not lost their luster.

And, of course, the illusionary work still impresses as well.

The first act of any “Nutcracker” has to engage the proliferation of children that flock to the performances, and this production certainly does so. Each year, it seems that there is more attention paid to the on-stage children’s characters when they’re not actually dancing (or making mischief – Fritz (Ben Workman.) There is more playing with the gifts, interacting with each other and, as a result, more parental interaction, giving the adult party-goers more to do as a consequence.

This year the specialty gifts from Herr Drosselmeyer (Mark Krieger) were especially impressive. Erica De La O and new company member John Brewer were utterly believable as the mechanical, angular, Sugar Plum Doll and her Cavalier, as was Rob Morrow’s The Nutcracker. The sharpness of all their actions was a charming movement tromp de l’oeill.

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November 11-14 2021
The Brown Theatre
Choreography by Robert Curran
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchakiovsky

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The Brown-Forman Nutcracker

December 11-23, 2021
Whitney Hall, Kentucky Center
Choreography by Val Caniparoli
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

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January 12-22, 2022
Louisville Ballet Studios

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Spotlight Series: Impressionism to Jazz

March 3-5, 2022
The Brown Theatre
A mixed repertory evening featuring:


Choreography by George Balanchine

Music: "Pelléas et Mélisande" + "Shylock" by Gabriel Fauré

In G Major

Choreography by Jerome Robbins
Music: "Piano Concerto in G Major" by Maurice Ravel

World Premiere Work

Music by Louisville-based Jazz Composer and Musician, Dick Sisto

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Sleeping Beauty

March 31 - April 2, 2022
The Brown Theatre
Choreography by Adam Hougland
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchakiovsky

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