At 8 a.m. this morning, I submitted my article about the Davis Children's Nutcracker and the families whose parents performed in it 20 years ago who have children performing in it this year. It was a fun article to write, since our kids were in the very first Davis Children's Nutcracker in 1977. The show that year had 70 kids performing and now has a limit of 250 kids, who are chosen by lottery, since many more than 250 apply.
In the photo at the left, Derrick Wydick was in the second Nutcracker in 1978, when he played Clara's brother, Fritz. The following year he was the prince. He has been working with the show, on the tech crew, every year except two years when he didn't live in Davis. Now his 6 year old daughter Kathryn is a snowflake.
Greg Wershing built that big grandfather clock in about 1980, when he, our kids, Derrick, Phil and some others built all of the big set pieces for the show. Now Greg's son Brycen (on the left) is playing Herr Drosselmeyer and Logan is working on the tech crew, keeping a 3-generation Wershing tradition alive.
The Davis Children's Nutcracker bears very little resemblance to any ballet version you have ever seen. For one thing, because the cast is so large they have added all sorts of groups of dancers never envisioned by Tschaikovsky. This year's program includes Hawaiian dancers, Dancing cats, "Sweets" (e.g., Hershey's kisses), Bugs, Beetles, Insects, gnomes, swing dancers, bears, and bakers, in addition to those in the traditional Nutracker.
It's definitely unique, but a beloved Davis tradition and it was nice to find a different hook to write about this year.
In the past two weeks, we've attended five Christmas shows, four of which I reviewed. We started with Sister's Christmas Catechism, a cabaret show for adults during which, "Sister" quizzes folks about Catholic doctrine, with the second act consisting almost entirely of putting on a Christmas tableau, using people in the audience who volunteer (or are volunteered by their friends) and dressed up in clothes, supposedly donated for the poor.
The fun of that show for us was that one of the volunteers was the son of my former boss (who died last year), a well-known police detective here in town.
The next night we went to a more traditional Nutcracker put on by a local ballet teacher I had interviewed for an article on her show. She had been Jeri's ballet teacher and showed me bits of video about her show. I was curious to see how the classes had evolved since Jeri danced with her. But I was also glad that I wasn't reviewing it.
The night after that we saw Woodland Opera House's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, about a church young people's performance of the Nativity which is taken over by the town "bad" kids, with predictible results.
Next we saw Santaland Diaries at Capital Stage in Sacramento. I love Capital Stage. They perform on a paddlewheel boat in the Sacramento River.
Santaland Diaries was the show that made writer Davis Sedaris famous. It is the story of his experiences working as an elf in Macy*s Santaland. You learn about the "Oh my god" spot (where parents look ahead to the line for Santa and exclaim "Oh my god!" in horror). And you find out about vomit corner and the spot where parents have their kids pee in the fake snow.
A very funny behind the scenes look at what really happens over a holiday season in Santaland!
And then Saturday night it was opening night for Cinderella at Sacramento Theatre Company. While not exactly a "Christmas show," it is the Christmas offering every year for this theatre company and is a very funny show geared to kids, but with enough adult humor to make it fun for parents as well.But with all those shows reviewed and my Nutcracker article submitted, there is no theatre now until the touring Broadway production of Xanadu on December 30 and I plan to enjoy my vacation to the fullest!