What a nice surprise to win the tickets to the Nutty Nutcracker courtesy of The Backstage Beat and the Atlanta Ballet!  It’s been many years since I attended The Nutcracker and although this was the “nutty” version, I was hoping to get a glimpse of the artistic stage and athletic performance of the “formal” version as well.  It was raining heavily upon arrival, but our host, Sigele Winbush, Public Relations Associate, met us with a bright sunny smile.   We quickly stepped around to the side entrance, were briefly snagged at the security desk, then stepped into the wonderful world of backstage at the fabulous Fox Theatre.

Temporary dressing rooms popped up at every available corner holding racks of costumes, animal heads, tutus, tiaras, and props of every kind.  Walking on the massive stage I was awestruck.  Just knowing I was walking on the same stage of 81 years of landmark Atlanta history.  The same spot where rock stars, movie stars, Broadway stars, and dancers of all kinds had walked before.  Looking up were antique pulleys with ropes holding massive curtains and backdrops high over my head.  There were even decorative horses suspended as if in flight.

Another few steps and another smiling face.  Pedro Gamino meets us to enhance our tour.  Pedro is in his debut season with the Atlanta Ballet, but is no beginner.  Dancing since he was 13 with the San Francisco Academy of Ballet, his talent has taken him to many places including New York.   Pedro has a sparkle in his eye here in Atlanta and seems to be enjoying the relatively “small town” atmosphere.  We immediately connect on an “old friends” level as he continues to point out the prop designs and time invested in creating these beautiful imaginary scenes.  Pedro is a true asset to his company and art.

Hearing the “Mighty Moe” organ playing for the arriving audience, we are quickly shown the side door.  The marquee lights are in full blaze as we round the corner and hurry inside to properly take our fourth row seats.  Looking around, we marvel at the beauty of the Fox Theatre and it’s romantic star lit sky ceiling.  All at once the lights dim and we are off to several hours of laughing at spoofs on current events, people, and songs, culminating in the ultimate battle of the season between Santa and Jesus.  Of course, we all knew who would win.

The Nutty Nutcracker is a one time only performance held each year during The Nutcracker season.  It is “un-choreographed” by the dancers themselves and a portion of the proceeds benefit the Dancer Resource Fund for the Atlanta Ballet.  Be sure and catch Atlanta Ballet’s The Nutcracker through December 26.  The Backstage Beat has their finger on the heartbeat of Atlanta.  Bookmark their page and friend them on Facebook to follow what’s hot in Atlanta and what Ange Alex and team has cooked up.