MARQUETTE - Kaufman Auditorium was alight with a Christmas classic Friday evening with the opening night of Second Skin Dance Shop and the auditorium's rendition of "The Nutcracker."
With more than 100 people involved in the performance, all the classic characters were represented, from Clara, played by Molly Lawton, to the Nutcracker, played by Michael Skrobeck, and everything in between.
"We have a mix of dancers," Director Camilla Mingay said. "Some are at a beginner level and the majority, however, have lots of dance experience. We have anywhere from the age of 2 years old to 75 years old."
Mingay said the production stays true to the traditional version of "The Nutcracker," with many of the dance numbers conducted in a classical ballet style.
However, Mingay threw in a few twists to the original performance, adding some gymnastics to one of the dance numbers.
The production centers around Clara, a young girl who receives a beautiful nutcracker as a gift at a Christmas party. During the party, the nutcracker is broken and Clara, heartbroken, ends up falling asleep with the broken gift in her arms. Her dreams are filled with all manner of things, from a battle with mice to a land of dancing sweets.
The play has become a Christmas tradition and has been performed countless times since its beginnings in 1892.
In truly keeping with tradition, the role of Mother Ginger in this year's performance was offered to Marquette Mayor Johnny DePetro.
"In the bigger cities, the character of Mother Ginger is always played by a male celebrity, or the mayor, so even though we're in tiny little Marquette, we thought we'd do the same thing," Mingay said.
In previous years, the role was played by former Northern Michigan University President Les Wong.
With such a large production that includes people from dance studios across Marquette County comes an equally large amount of work. Dances must be choreographed and rehearsed, costumes must be made and music and lighting must be perfected.
"It's a lot of work, but we have great choreographers ... that really helps bring the show together and put everything on," Mingay said.
The performance will run once more at 1 p.m. today.
Tickets are $12 for the general public, $10 for seniors and $8 for students, including Northern Michigan University students. Tickets can be purchased at all NMU EZ Ticket outlets and cost $3 extra at the door.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.