McHenry residents invited to Nutcracker Ballet

December 20, 2013 by  

The Woodstock Opera House’s resident dance company, the Judith Svalander Dance Theatre will be presenting Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Ballet”—the beloved magical tale of Clara and her beloved nutcracker, her Prince battling the Rat King—all with visions of dancing snowflakes and the sugar plum fairy.

A native of Woodstock and McHenry, Ms. Svalander began her professional training in Chicago and went on to dance at the Lyric Opera House in her late teens where she trained in Europe before opening her school in Crystal Lake in1972. Since then her annual presentation of “The Nutcracker” has grown from a succession of highlights to a whole production with a cast of over 175 performers.

The majestic Woodstock Opera House was constructed in 1889 to house many of Woodstock’s city government offices and an auditorium, which during the late 1890’s presented dramatic and vaudeville entertainment. A short-lived summer stock theater produced actors such as Orson Wells. Eventually, Woodstock Players was formed which provided acting experience for promising performers such as Tom Bosley, Betsy Palmer, Paul Newman, Shelley Berman and Geraldine Page. The building itself is reason enough to have postcard printing done from pictures taken during performances such as “The Nutcracker Ballet.”

This year’s Nutcracker Ballet began its run on December 14, and will play through to December 22. Times vary according to the dates. Thursdays at 7:00 PM, Fridays 8:00 PM, Saturdays 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM, Sundays 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM. The Woodstock Opera House is located at 121 E. Van Buren Street, Woodstock.