By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado Ballet is bringing back its holiday favorite “The Nutcracker” — but this production is going to look a little different.

Colorado Ballet Nutcracker

(credit: Colorado Ballet)

The Nutcracker premiered 129-years-ago, and has been a holiday classic ever since. The story begins with Clara befriending the Nutcracker, who then comes to life on Christmas Eve night to battle against the evil, Mouse King. A win against the mice transforms the Nutcracker into a handsome Prince, and he and Clara travel to the Land of Sweets. It’s a beautiful fantasy, that has become a tradition for many families.

“I would say it’s the story number one. But it’s also Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score. Everybody recognizes the music, and through the holiday season, that’s all you hear,” said Gil Boggs, Artistic Director at Colorado Ballet, of the reason this ballet is so beloved.

Costume Designer Holly Hynes explains the detail on the Snowflakes costume. (credit CBS)

The tradition of “The Nutcracker” at Colorado Ballet had gotten a little worn out, so the company launched a capital campaign in 2019 to fund new sets and costumes.

“People were very generous,” Boggs told CBS4. “We spent the last year building new sets and costumes for the production. Our old sets and costumes were built in 1986, and needless to say had seen better days.”

(credit CBS)

Boggs hired Tom Boyd to design the sets, and Holly Hynes to come up with 74 new costumes designs for 171 costumes.

“What was really the most magical part of this project was that we pulled this off during the pandemic,” Hynes explained.

“The scene makers, the costumes makers, they didn’t have any work, so we were able to offer them work,” Boggs added.

(credit CBS)

The work was spread across 16 shops across the country, 13 of which might have closed because of the pandemic.  Among the many builders, Handsome Little Devils in Lakewood.  The art & entertainment company designs and builds sets and prop pieces. For “The Nutcracker,” they built the sleigh, the palanquin, and worked on some of the puppetry for Mother Ginger.  The pandemic also gave the crafts people time, a full two-years, to get the job done right.

“We really could fine tune it and do lots of different detail, just really get our creative juices going,” Hynes said.

(credit CBS)

From the Dew Drop tutu, to the Marzipan look, including the Snowflakes dresses, Hynes reimagined them all.

“I certainly took the traditional elements of that style and that period of dress, but I popped it up a bit,” Hynes told CBS4.

A popped up production of “The Nutcracker” is exactly what Denver audiences need, and Colorado Ballet is happy to provide it.

Colorado Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” runs Nov. 27, 2021 to Dec. 24, 2021 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

LINK: For Tickets & Information for Colorado Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

Libby Smith