Toledo Ballet unveils new ‘Nutcracker’ set mirroring Manor HouseWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toledo Ballet is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a new set for “Nutcracker,” which stands as the oldest annual production in the country.
The set was unveiled at a news conference on Oct. 15 at the Manor House, formerly the Stranahan estate and now part of Wildwood Metropark. The new set will mirror the Manor House in its design, which was the intention of Toledo Ballet Executive Director Mari Davies.
“[I] wanted a way to celebrate our own local community which has supported us over the last 75 years,” she said in a new release. “The wonderful thing about ‘Nutcracker’ is that it is a universal tale of the magic of childhood, so we decided that Clara doesn’t have to live in Germany. We are bringing her home and moving her into the Manor House.
The set was designed by Thomas Umfrid, a professor of scenic and costume design at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Umfrid also designed the Act II Land of Sweets set, which debuted in 2010. Davies said she was committed to finding a top-knotch artist in Ohio.
Davies also took advantage of Toledo Metroparks in the design process as well.
“Toledo loves its Metroparks,” she said. “When you close your eyes and picture, what is the White House of Toledo? It’s the Stranahan estate.”
The set is built to last for the next four decades. It was a difficult set to make because it consists of the exterior and interior of Clara’s house and involves the battle scene and the snow scene in the production, Davies said.
“We took our time and I think ultimately have done it right,” she said.
In total, both sets cost roughly $200,000, funded largely by William and Margaret Foster and The Anderson Fund Supporting Organization of the Toledo Community Foundation. The last $10,000 was raised by a Kickstarter campaign. As of Oct. 17, the campaign raised $10,013 with 42 backers and six days to go.
“This is the ultimate labor of love for me and for my team,” Davies said. “To be rewarded with that reaction from every person we share this vision with makes it worth every moment and every phone call and every letter that went out to realize this particular set.”
“Nutcracker,” which was first performed in 1941, will be accompanied with the Toledo Symphony. This year’s performances are 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 14 and 2 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Stranahan Theater.
For tickets, call 419-381-8851 or visit toledoballet.org.
Tags: Kickstarter, Manor House, Mari Davies, Metroparks of the Toledo Area, Nutcracker, The Anderson Fund Supporting Organization of the Toledo Community Foundation, Thomas Umfrid, Toledo Ballet, Toledo Symphony, Wildwood Metropark, William and Margaret Foster