‘Nutcracker Key West’ offers twist on a holiday classic

Show runs through Dec. 11 at Tennessee Williams Theatre

In this Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, visitors gather to have their photos taken at the Southernmost Point in the Continental U.S.A. marker in Key West, Fla. Tropical storm-force winds and storm surge pummeled the Florida Keys landmark as the center of Hurricane Ian passed about 100 miles west of Key West Tuesday, Sept. 27. City of Key West Community Services workers just needed a few days to clean seaweed and other debris from the area. (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP) (Andy Newman, Florida Keys News Bureau)

KEY WEST, Fla. – It’s a holiday classic with a Key West twist.

“Nutcracker Key West," which depicts the city's seafaring history and coral reef environment, opened Wednesday night with a cast of 18 professional dancers and 80 local children and adults.

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The production offers a subtropical version of the tale of young Clara’s visit to the Sugarplum Fairy as dancers portraying snowy egrets, “jewels” from a 17th-century Spanish galleon shipwrecked off Key West, the Sea Star Mermaid and a nutcracker whose conch shell headdress is symbolic of the Keys.

Scenes include a choreographed dream battle between the Rooster King and the nutcracker-come-to-life, a sequence featuring children costumed as a flock of fluffy chickens and a fantasy where graceful egrets lead Clara and the nutcracker to a vessel that takes them to the Keys’ coral reef.

“‘Nutcracker Key West’ captures hundreds of years of creativity from the island culture, from the reef to garden parties to the Navy being here,” said the production’s artistic director Matthew Rawls. “It encapsulates all of that, and presents back to Key West a reflection of itself.”

Evening and matinee performances of “Nutcracker Key West” continue through Dec. 11 at the Tennessee Williams Theatre.

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