This ‘Nutcracker’ is laced with humor


Media City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” showcased the marvelous talents

of the Burbank company’s principals as well as punched up the humor

during Sunday’s matinee performance at The Alex Theatre in Glendale.


Ellen Rosa was an exuberant Sugar Plum Fairy while Askar Alimbetov

made a gallant showing as her Prince Koklash in the Grand Pas de

Deux, which was rewarded with a standing ovation.

Jennifer Wilson’s portrayals of the Snow Queen and Dew Drop were


impeccable with her partner Askar Kettebekov, who exhibited great

precision as her Snow King and Cavalier.

Wilson’s final steps in the Snow Queen routine were hampered by

special-effect snowflakes, prompting company officials to provide the

stage with a much lighter dusting during the later show.

The most refreshing part of Media City’s interpretation of

Tchaikovsky’s tale is the depth dancers gave to the characters.

Alexandra Stern beamed as Clara, the wide-eyed girl charmed by her


Nutcracker doll and later, in her dream, by the Nutcracker Prince,

performed by Ricky Sun. In his debut with the company, Sun exhibited

great promise in his command of the dance and his self-confidence.

Artistic director Natasha Middleton injected humor into this

production. Nicholas Muller is perfect as the impish Fritz, Clara’s

brother, who repeatedly tries his parents’ patience throughout the

Christmas Eve party.

Middleton also choreo- graphed a routine for Dr. Dros- selmeyer,


and Michael Menna crafted him to comically pull a muscle, delighting

the audience.

The company’s board of directors dreamed up an ingenious

fund-raiser for both shows, selling tickets for a drawing to win

Clara’s crown. Winners were Vicki Dimond at the matinee and Amara

Baptist during the evening show.

Media City Ballet this weekend takes the production to the

Performing Arts Center at Cal State Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2

p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $18 to $32 and can be ordered online

at or CSUN’s box office at 677-3093.


The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles begins its 25th anniversary

season this weekend with the concert “Holiday In and Out” conducted

by Bruce Mayhall, artistic director, at The Alex Theatre in Glendale.

Guest artists joining the 200-member chorus are Joanna Gleason and

Vox Femina -- Los Angeles. Gleason is also staging the production

implementing a theme that is a take on the classic film “Holiday

Inn,” starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds.

The chorus will be singing a selection of Irving Berlin songs

including “Happy Holiday” and “White Christmas.”

An hourlong special family performance is at 2 p.m. Saturday and

features a visit from Santa Claus. Tickets range from $10 to $20.

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $15 to $45. For reservations, call (800) 636-7464 or


* JOYCE RUDOLPH’s column appears Wednesdays. For events happening

this weekend, read her 48 Hours column Saturdays. Reach her at