The return of the Nutcracker to the Mann is a huge success | News, Sports, Jobs

Mia Viera, the Sugar Plum fairy, poses at the North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts before performing her version of “The Nutcracker” Friday at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Center in Fort Myers.

After a one-year absence, the North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts returned to the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall on Friday for a near-sold-out performance of its annual production of “Nutcracker.”

After having to perform ballet virtually from people’s homes last year due to the pandemic, it was great for kids to feel the thrill of performing in front of a large audience, first with a performance at the school in front of their peers, then on Fridays in front of friends and family.

The Nutcracker tells the story of a girl who befriends a Nutcracker who comes to life on Christmas Eve and leads a battle against the evil Mouse King.

This year’s Nutcracker is Caisson Dobson, a seventh grader who went through the audition process to play the male lead in his third performance. He did not participate in last year’s virtual ballet, but continues the family tradition this time around.

“It’s funny because my brother was the Nutcracker a few years ago, so I’m following his footsteps, which is really cool” said Dobson. “He’s really excited to see me play tonight.

The girls’ lead role Clara will be played by seventh grader Allison Skocik, who said she loves playing the lead role and watching all the performers do their jobs, which she and the Nutcracker do for a big time. part of the second act.

“It’s exciting to be the leader and to see everyone perform and see them doing different dances with different props” said Skocik, who is on his second Nutcracker. “I was excited because I’m in seventh grade and didn’t expect to be chosen.”

Skocik was a sugar flute last year and said it was a different experience to do the show virtually.

“Doing it online was a little harder to learn the material and it wasn’t as exciting because you don’t have the audience in front of you” Skocik said. “Now you can see yourself playing under the lights and it’s fun. “

Eighth-grader Mia Viera will play the Sugar Plum fairy in her third and final performance.

“This role is very important to me because I won’t be able to do it after this year.” said Viera. “Doing it this year after last year is 100 times more special. I am grateful that I was able to do it this year.

Nicole Hoeberling, one of the directors on the show, said they were thrilled and grateful to perform live.

“The magic is back. It was exciting to learn something new and to be challenged in a different way. But we are delighted to be back on stage ”, Hoeberling said. “Nothing compares to a live performance. “

Principal Andrea Gunns, who will play the traditional role of Frau Drosselmeyer, said she enjoys being in the play, which she has been for years even as deputy principal.

“I was in The Nutcracker twice as a kid in Pennsylvania. I love to see the kids and how they come into the theater and look at all the beauty and perform like the people of Broadway. Gunns said.

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