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Why 'The Nutcracker' Isn't The Same In Every City

Ambriehl Crutchfield
Dancers stroll down the hall as they head to the stage.

No matter where you are, 'tis the season for peppermint candy canes, Christmas trees decked with lights and The Nutcracker.

Show-goers will experience a show like no other in the Cincinnati Ballet's version.

The ballet's Director of Production Kyle Lemoi oversees everything on stage except dancing. In total, 45 people help him run the floor, costume, props, scenery, video, hair, makeup and sometimes other departments.

2019 will be his fifth show in Cincinnati.

"All Nutcrackers are different, some are very local to whatever city," he says. "Our Nutcracker for instance has the poodle section in it. That's because the choreographer had a poodle that she liked and she wanted to put him in the show."

He says an appearance by Cincinnati's famous hippopotamus Fiona and a sparkling tiara designed after a building you can spot in Cincinnati's skyline make the show unique to the Queen City.

Credit Ambriehl Crutchfield / WVXU
The costume department works quickly to prepare costumes for a Friday matinee.

Lemoi also worked on the show in Sacramento and West Chester County in New York. "Since I see it so much, in the big party scenes I tend to watch the people in the background. Because they get a task that they have to accomplish within a certain time," Lemoi says.  He says sometimes you can spot the actors making funny faces at each other.

The 46th year of Cincinnati's Nutcracker will continue until Dec. 29 at Music Hall.