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'Prairie Nutcracker' offers up a touch of Hays

12/2/2013

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

A touch of Hays will be in the limelight the weekend of Dec. 13 as "Prairie Nutcracker" takes the stage at Hutchinson's Historic Fox Theatre, 18 E. First Ave., for its 10th season.

The musical, a retelling of "The Nutcracker," takes place in Kansas during 1869.

Tchaikovsky's score is adapted for the American version of the classic performance by Rick Kuethe. The ballet is the magical tale of a young girl's adventure after her frontier soldier toy and prairie doll come to life.

Beyond the play's appearance in Fort Hays State University's 2011 Encore Series, Hays has ties to the performance.

Bob Wilhelm, former director at Historic Fort Hays, authenticated the performance's story and costumes. Sherrie Smith, who has volunteered at the fort in the past, offered historical consultation and loaned pieces to the troupe from her Sherrie Smith Collection.

There will be an information performance designed for third- to fifth-graders 10 a.m. Dec. 13 at the theater. Students attending the program can dance on stage, practice theater etiquette, watch certain scenes, meet the performers and engage in other activities.

The Dec. 13 and Dec. 14 shows begin at 7:30 p.m., and the Dec. 15 matinee starts at 3 p.m.

Prairie Nutcracker Foundation Inc. produces the performance every two years.

The Greater Hutchinson Convention and Visitors Bureau offers out of town visitors ticket packages that include lodging, dining and gas assistance. Call LeeAnn Cox at (620) 662-3391 or check www.visithutch.com for more information.