Nutcracker Highlights Front Range History

Colorado Ballet Society and the Colorado Youth Ballet, will present A ColoradoNutcracker at the Pikes Peak Center in three performances on Wednesday, December 20, at 7pm; and Thursday, December 21, at 4pm and 7pm.

“This updated version of The Nutcracker highlights the fascinating local history surrounding the founding families of Colorado Springs,” says Ballet Society and Youth Ballet founder and director, Patricia Hoffman. “The opening scene shows the officers of the Salvation Army escorting local orphans to Glen Eyrie for the traditional Palmer Christmas celebration. And, Nikola Tesla is seen making his final party preparations at the historic Antlers Hotel, before heading out to the castle with some electrifying surprises for the General’s guests.”

Other historical characters featured in the Party Scene include, newlyweds, Julie and Spencer Penrose; Josephine and Charles Tutt; and Elizabeth and Henry McAllister.

"This is Ballet Society’s twentieth anniversary season,” shares production manager, Hillary Moseley. “Besides the historical concept, we’re excited about the newbackdrops which will take you back in time to 1907 Colorado Springs where The Antlers Hotel is the ‘Little London’ of Colorado; the party scene takes place in the Great Hall of Glen Eyrie Castle; and the winter scene happens in spectacular snowy Garden of the Gods."

New backdrops setting the stage depict 1907 Colorado Springs with a scrim of the historic The Antlers Hotel; backdrop and legs created from images of the Great Hall and other locations in Glen Eyrie castle; a smaller drop features actual Tesla formulas; and a winter scene of the gateway of Garden of the Gods framing Pikes Peak. All scrim and backdrop images were created by Katherine Marie Photography, who also oversaw the artistic aspects of the project via online communications with the artist in India.

“This is a magical venture befitting the Nutcracker lore,” shares Katherine Gaulke, owner/operator of Katherine Marie Photography. “The castle is a local treasure and we appreciate the hospitality of the Glen Eyrie staff who assisted with our Colorado Nutcracker.”

American Photo Treks, provided the iconic image of Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods for the winter scene.

FOX21 News Director, Joe Cole, will be featured as Colorado Springs founder, General William Palmer who also narrates the story as it could have happened that night.

“It’s a great honor to portray such a well-known figure here in Colorado Springs,” says Cole. “I find it remarkable that most people know about his role in the development of Colorado Springs, but have no idea that he was also a highly decorated War Hero. I have been narrating for this production for seven years now and I love seeing the kids’ excitement every year. Backstage is always buzzing before the show as the dancers are all ripe with excitement and anticipation. Then when the curtain goes up, they are focused and nail their performances. It’s truly fun to watch and be a part of.”

“Providing the music for our Nutcracker this year are the dedicated musicians of the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony, and the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale,” says Hoffman. “We are excited that this beloved ballet features, not just the unique heritage of the Front Range region, it also showcases local talent. We feel that this production celebrates both our roots and our future as a community with over 230 local youth performing in each show.”

Figure 1: Clara (Elizabeth Worf) in the Great Hall of Glen Eyrie Castle Photo by: Katherine Marie Photography

Figure 2: Party Scene backdrop image of the Great Hall in Glen Eyrie Photo by: Katherine Marie Photography and hand painted in India

Figure 3: General Palmer (Joe Cole of FOX21 News) and daughters Elsie, Dorothy, and Marjorie (Ashley Hanson, Kate Raber, and Gabriella Vidano)in the Great Hall of Glen Eyrie Castle depicting 1907 Photo by: Katherine Marie Photography