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"The Nutcracker" is worth seeing

I have to admit that I haven't seen "The Nutcracker" live in years.

I went to see it tonight in the Bill Heard Theatre in RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. The Columbus Ballet did a great job with the holiday classic.

The reason I went was because my good friends Oz and V.J. Roberts have a daughter, Jessica Nicole, dancing in it for the first time. She played one of the soldiers.

It turned out my colleague Mark Rice's daughter, Lydia, was also in the ballet as one of the angels. I saw Mark and his wife, Ronnet, and son Dylan after the show.

Two of the best parts are the children's choir, led by Elizabeth Parker, in the snow scene and the Columbus State University Philharmonic, led by Paul Hostetter, throughout the whole ballet. The orchestra is fantastic.

And the exquisite Anna Rodriguez is so good as the Sugar Plum Fairy. She did the role last year and has been teaching at the Columbus Ballet. I don't think she was scheduled to dance at all, but at the last minute, took on the role. She didn't lose a step.

I saw her after the show in the lobby and told her how good she was. She, as usual, modestly said it was all due to the professional dancer, Noel Dupuis (who dances the role of the Cavalier). I don't think so. It was all Anna.

The scene stealers, as always, are the little bitty ones playing the Butterflies and the Gingerbread Cookies. They are so cute.

You have one more chance to see "The Nutcracker" this year.

There's the 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday.

Tickets are $21-$28. As we were in line to buy tickets, I heard a woman, who was at the window before us, say what a bargain the tickets are.

Call 706-256-3612.

Kudos to Columbus Ballet's artistic director Maria Hirsch for a great job.

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