Review: Christmas shoes at AD Players at The George

Nutcracker

If Cecil B. DeMille and Flo Ziegfeld produced a holiday show, it would look suspiciously like Stanton Welch Nutcracker Houston Ballet. It’s sumptuous and lush, DeMille style, with solid ensembles and fancy costumes, and for Siegfeld, it’s legs for days and more dance than usual in this seasonal cash cow. Few may be hidden under cloaks of tulle covered with flower petals, as in Waltz of the Flowers, but there is the long, sky-chiseled Sugar Plum Fairy line that displays grace beneath the sport, and the soloist of the four snowflakes leaps on stage in Its slanting jets spin as if they were dancing on ice.

From theater surrounded by holiday arbours, to plump cherubs, what’s not to love about Tim Goodchild’s subtle décor. Even the golden gates of the Kingdom of Sweets are made as finely as the entrance to Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace. The Snow Queen glistens in sharp icicles like outside of Narnia, while the attacking Rat Soldiers look like samurai.

The embodiments of the Land of the Sweets’ animal ambassadors in chapter two are radiantly perceived: the African lion in the kaftan the prince holds a coffee; A panda in Chinese pajamas holds tea; the comedic frog who preached the hungry and antithetical Louis XIV; English Bulldog with a Churchill cigar that brings salty caramel; The Russian wolf in Cossack splendor brings candy canes; Spanish snoring bull carrying chocolate gifts. There are wonders all around: swaying penguin guards, macaroon-hooded courtiers, and pirate accomplices of the mysterious and dangerous Dr. Drosselmeyer, who beams his magic on the show.

But the real wonders explode in dance. Except for a specific effect, Welch avoids stagnation. Ballet is designed for movement, and theater is alive with it. The characters don’t walk as much as they slide or tread lightly. Why walk when you can stand; Don’t run, chassis. Welch’s choreography gives the characters their personality. And those patterns. No contemporary choreographer knows his way around a stage like Welch. Marvel at the 3D effects he creates in Waltz of the Snowflakes; It’s like looking at a blizzard, all spinning in ever-widening circles with delicate, crisp pointe work. Snowflakes spit out handfuls of snow as they enter, which is a wonderful effect.

Due to epidemic restrictions, ballet for children under the age of twelve was interrupted, which was one of the pleasures of this version. Welch uses Nutcracker As a training ground for even the youngest students, giving almost every member of the school a chance to be on stage and experience a live performance in front of the audience. It is invaluable training. But this time, there are no children, so most scenes have been reduced to essentials: the shepherd fends for herself, and there are no little lambs to shelter from the crafty foxes; No witch snakes with hand puppet snakes to increase the curvy Arabian; There are no little rats charging the lanes to get into battle; Do not throw thousands.

But the stage is full of quality. The Houston Ballet is one of the largest ballet companies in the world. Welch rotates the molds inward Nutcracker For the same reason, youngsters use: more appearances and more time on the stage. With a performance of 40 or so, time off is needed. The cast you’ve seen will be different than the actors you see, but it’s going to be totally awesome. Clara’s Christmas tree still grows like a sequoia, snow is falling in the theater, wonderful music by Tchaikovsky is forever enchanting, while the beauty and wonder of ballet will make you young again.

The Nutcracker runs until December 24 at 7:30 PM from Thursday to Saturday and also from Monday to Wednesday from December 20 to 22; 6:30 p.m. on Sundays and 2 p.m. on Saturdays; With 2 p.m. shows also scheduled for December 20-24 at Wortham Center, 501 Texas. Members of the public must wear masks at all times unless they are eating or drinking. For more information, call 713-227-2787 or visit houstonballet.org. $27 – $200.

Click to enlarge Teresa Zimmerman shines as a dying mother.  He is seen here with Jackson Dean Vincent as her son.  - Photo by Joey Watkins

Teresa Zimmerman shines as a dying mother. He is seen here with Jackson Dean Vincent as her son.

Photography by Joe Watkins

christmas shoes

Bring plenty of your napkins, as you’ll be a real miser as you won’t be impressed with the AD Players world premiere adaptation. christmas shoes.

As you know, shoes It began as a country song for the Christian group NewSong in 2000. Not in the mood for Christmas, the narrator is waiting impatiently in line at a store, interrupted by a young boy eager to buy a pair of shoes for his mother. She is sick, and the boy wants her to look beautiful when she meets Jesus. Desperate to buy it, he doesn’t have all the money. When a man offers to pay for the shoe, the epiphany is the true meaning of the Christmas spirit. The record has zoomed to the top of the charts in both country and adult pop, and has a gold rating. If you’re not in the holiday mood, you may find this song annoying and slow. Clowns called it “the worst Christmas song ever,” but since this is a time of goodwill towards men, we’ll cut the song a bit off.

One songwriter knew writer Donna Vanlier, who turned the song into a novel in 2002, extending the intertwined plot lines. Hallmark bought the rights and also produced a TV movie in 2002, starring Rob Lowe. The film was a huge success, and two more films followed. Now, based on the book, there’s this play by Jessica Lind Peterson, commissioned by AD Players. He keeps his cross plot points and adds a few of his own.

It takes a few sights for the mechanism to budge, but once it rolls, its mobility is somewhat unstoppable. There are extensive skit routines, usually relating to Secretary Vern (Kat Cordes), the exhausted and emotional assistant to ghost writer Jenny (Michelle Elaine, recent from Lyn Nottage. sweats at the Alley), a demanding workaholic and coach, but we’ll get to know him later in the process of divorce. It’s the opening setup that continues. Attorney Robert (Thomas Pryor) needs help with his diary and turns to Jenny. You see, years ago it was the guy who bought Nathan’s little shoes. This is the story of his reclamation. Jenny loves the manuscript but knows it needs work. I urged Robert to reveal more facts, and so we go into flashback territory and Dickens.

I told three stories. Young Robert (John Johnston), with mother issues, a lawyer on the rise, married to his job, and neglectful to his wife Kate (Jane Harris). Maggie (Teresa Zimmerman) and her blue-collar husband Jack (Jeff McMuroff) have yet to tell their ten-year-old son Nathan (Jackson Dean Vincent) that his mother is dying. Meanwhile, Jenny shares custody of her daughter Annie (Willow Air) with her estranged husband David (Joseph “Joe B” Palmor). Like Robert, her work took joy from her.

Peterson intertwines with stories. Kate volunteers aged care for Maggie; Robert gets into a rude fight with Jack in his auto body shop and with young Nathan on the street. Meanwhile, Jenny is adjusting to her life without David, as Robert’s book urges her. There are encounters and complications, but we focus on Nathan. Vincent is a live wire, totally believable in his scenes approaching sadness and then acceptance, that’s when the snooze starts to hit the stage. Johnston has his own touching moment when Robert fixes up Kate. Come to think of it, all of them have moments of magic and grace. Zimmerman is the adorable Maggie, all a warm motherly concern for her son’s fate when she’s not there; Makmur fiercely protects his wife and son; Harris is prickly and astoundingly natural as a careless wife; Pryor is calm and grateful after the mistakes of his youthful ways; And little Mrs. Aire is as rude as a slogan-ridden teenage girl and knows things better than adults. In smaller roles, Palmor has easy charisma, Wesley Whitson (the indelible Hugo in Mildred’s Umbrella’s feathers and teeth) makes the most of his career as an older Nathan and a hateful shop clerk.

Directed by Philip Hayes, the production was visually striking with its two-tiered Asiani ensemble, skylight gables, the soft amber glow of Marc A. Lewis for Nathan’s home and the bright glow of Jenny’s office. There is a lot of God’s word in this play, so atheists may turn toward migraines. But her universal message of being kind, listening to others, and loving them as long as we can, will never hurt. With the cheeks drenched, your core will get the required workout

Christmas Boots runs through December 26 at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and some Sundays; and 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays at the George Theatre, 5420 Westheimer. Masks are required and temperature checked at the door. For more information, call 713-526-2721 or visit adplayers.org. $25 – $75.

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