The Nutcracker

Directed by Coleen Kehl & Mary-Carel Verden

Stoughton’s Nutcracker Ballet Celebrates 24th Anniversary

The Nutcracker Ballet is a perennial holiday favorite and, for many, a cherished family tradition. Every year people battle their way through downtown traffic to search for parking, so they can attend a performance at anywhere up to $50.00 a seat. I’ll let you in on a little secret. You don’t have to go through all that. Stoughton has a very pleasant surprise—another beautiful Nutcracker.

Now in its 24th year, the Stoughton Nutcracker is a linchpin of Stoughton’s Victorian Holiday Weekend, a yearly celebration the first weekend in December. StageWorks Projects, Inc., who produces the yearly show, is known for the quality and design of their productions. “All our productions are a labor of love,” said StageWorks board president Dave Gasner, “The Nutcracker is one we hold especially dear. It’s a magical, classic story and an opportunity for dancers to connect with children during an enchanted time of year.” StageWorks Projects Artistic Director Coleen Kehl agrees, “All dancers love to do this show. Everyone involved looks forward to the expressions on the faces of children in the audience as the story unfolds.”

StageWorks prides itself on providing an opportunity for gifted area dancers to perform roles that they would not have a chance to do in other companies that bring in established professionals to fill the main roles. Dancers are drawn from all over Dane County and beyond and include many in pre-professional programs. “The dancers we use bring a delightful freshness to the roles they dance,” explained Kehl, “Their professionalism and talent makes them a joy to watch.”

The design of the show is a refreshing change. The production showcases lavish costumes of velvet and other luxurious fabrics in rich, exciting jewel tones. Notable is the StageWorks version of Mother Ginger and her Bon Bons. “Our Mother Ginger and her Bon Bons, renamed Mother Lena and her Krumkake (Norwegian cookies), are a fun tribute to Stoughton’s strong Norwegian heritage,” stated Kehl. “We have between $50,000 and $75,000 invested in our costumes, including tutus from Grishko, who provides tutus for the famed Bolshoi Ballet.” The staging of the ballet keeps the running time to about 1½ hours, short enough for even small children.

The ballet is now staged every other year in rotation with a new, original ballet version of A Christmas Carol. Kehl explained, “After having done The Nutcracker for 20 years we were looking for a new challenge but didn’t want to abandon a ballet that our audiences love so much. Alternating the two ballets was the perfect solution.”

The best surprise about this production of the Nutcracker is the price. Seeing a quality production of the Nutcracker doesn’t have to bust the family budget and you don’t have to cope with traffic, crowds, parking, and overblown ticket prices. Stoughton’s Nutcracker is the great little secret everyone should know about.

Produced by Stage Works Projects, Inc. at Stoughton High School Auditorium, 600 Lincoln Ave, Stoughton, WI 53589

Performances: December 2, 2017

Performance Times:
Saturday, December 2 at 1:30 PM and 7:30 PM

Ticket Prices: Tickets are only $15 for both children and adults and are usually available up to the day of performance.
Tickets are available by calling Stoughton Center for the Performing Arts at 608-873-0717, at, or at the door.

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