If you go
What: "The Nutcracker Story"
When: 7 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Capitol Center Theater
Cost: $15 for adults, $11 for children 12 and under
In their second year of producing their version of E.T.A. Hoffman's story, Kelly and Dennis Strom believe they have a new "Nutcracker" tradition established.
"We're hoping to say it's a perennial favorite," Dennis said of the play he wrote, "The Nutcracker Story."
He and Kelly are staging it starting today at the Capitol Center Theater. Dennis wrote the play and built the sets. Kelly directs the cast of about 30, some of them returning actors from last year.
"Some of them pretty much held us at bay, saying, 'You'd better let us have our part back,'" Kelly said, laughing.
A few tweaks have been made to the script, mostly to accommodate some actors playing multiple parts. Dennis also reworked the set, which last year wasn't designed for audience members who might sit in the theater's balcony. Already, a sold-out school performance spilled into those upper seats, so he's glad he did the redesign.
The premise of the show, which does include music of Tchaikovsky when appropriate, is a more complete telling of Hoffman's short story. The popular ballet version covers just one part of the story about a girl named Marie whose favorite Christmas present from her godfather Drosselmeier is a nutcracker that comes to life and takes Marie away to a magical kingdom.
The Stroms say staging a play this close to Christmas is a challenge.
"The hard part, honest to goodness, is this time of year getting people who are willing to give up their Christmas holiday time," Kelly said.
Dennis added that while opening the weekend before Christmas can be a little rough on the cast, it actually is appealing for the audience — because at this point many holiday obligations are finished.
As for the Stroms, the work goes on. As soon as this show is finished, they will begin work on a winter production of the drama, "A Streetcar Named Desire."
"We're hoping that show will take the Limelight Theatre out of the realm of just being a children's theater," Dennis said.
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4830.