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‘The Nutcracker’ will feature ‘Black Swan’ understudy with Beau theatre debut Dec. 2 and Dec. 3

Sarah Lane will star in the role of Clara.
Sarah Lane will star in the role of Clara. Mississippi Gulf Coast Ballet Theatre

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Ballet Theatre’s traditional Christmas ballet “The Nutcracker” will return this year Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 with a debut performance at the Beau Rivage Theatre.

Elaine Kulick, director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Ballet Theatre, said the new venue is one they have pursued for eight years.

“We finally got the green light for this season when Donnie and Marie (Osmond) backed out,” Kulick said.

“The Nutcracker” is a two-act ballet set to the music of Tchaikovsky. The ballet is a magical tale set on Christmas Eve. It is a spectacle of angels, snowflakes, mice and soldiers and colorful characters such as the Mouse King and Sugar Plum Fairy. Since its premiere in 1892 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the ballet has become a Christmas tradition.

The stars of this year’s production are Joseph Michael Gatti, as the Nutcracker Prince, and Sarah Lane, as Clara. This is the first time for either of the performers to play these roles in Biloxi.

Gatti is an international ballet master who recently toured Europe and South America. Lane is best known for being the understudy for Natalie Portman in the film “Black Swan.”

The stars will be joined by a cast that includes accomplished performers from Alabama, Mississippi and New Orleans.

Sayat Asatryan, a former dancer with the Moscow Ballet, will play the role of Drosselmyer.

Anna “Cat” Kendricks is local ballet enthusiast and repeat performer with Gulf Coast Ballet Theatre. In the role of Young Clara she will dance with Christian Delery, a professional dancer with Marigny Opera Ballet in New Orleans.

Other performers include Rebecca Davis, Alexa Cunningham, award-winning choreographer Casie Marsh, Audrey Pope and Mason Pennaman, and local ballroom dancers Jay Ferris and Oksana Kozhanova.

In allowance with the larger stage offered by the Beau Rivage Theatre, the production will double the usual number of performing children. About 80 students from dance schools from Mobile to New Orleans will be the snowflakes and other supporting dancers.

Kulick said the production makes for a memorable experience and gives young potential ballerinas insight into the world of ballet.

“It just makes you feel good and there’s something for everyone,” Kulick said. “It’s a great time to get into the holiday spirit. It will leave you humming and feeling good.

Show times are Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 3 at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $10.95 to $24.95 and can be reserved by calling the Beau Rivage box office or online at www.beaurivage.com.

The Nutcracker

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Ballet Theatre production

Where: Beau Rivage Theatre 875 Beach Blvd., Biloxi

When: Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Tickets: $10.95 to $24.95 and can be reserved by calling the Beau Rivage box office or online at www.beaurivage.com.

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