Graham_Cracker_2022_PosterPrint (1).jpg

The Graham Cracker

A Nutcracker Parody

December 2 & 3, 2022 @ 7pm

December 4, 2022 @ 2pm

Artistic Director

Amberly M. Simpson

Associate and Technical Director

Joseph R. Brandt

Co-Director

Heather Moran

The Graham Cracker: A Nutcracker Parody is Ambo Dance Theatre's original, spectacle-filled spin on the beloved Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker. The piece takes audiences on a psychedelic sugar rush perfect for the whole family, reimagining Nutcracker heroine Clara as a young girl who feels slighted when she doesn’t get to partake in s’mores at a holiday bonfire. Her journey through battles, snowstorms, and the Land of Sweets helps bring a comical story behind the origin of the s'more!

The Cast

Clara

Rylan Cole

Graham Cracker

JD Frost

 

Chocolate

Rylan Truman

 

Marshmallow

MAC

 

Drosselmeyer

Candace Kresse

 

Sugarplum Fairy

Uhstel H. Valentine

 

Bonfire Goers

Melissa Bowen, Nakoma Ehrhart, Lydia Fletcher, Madalyn Durst, Izzy Parks, Sofia Ritchie, Scout Tarquinio

 

Chocolate Clan Warriors

Madalyn Durst, Carly Hay, Aila Kolehmainen, Helena Smith-Pohl, Avery Stevens 

 

Marshmallow Clan Warriors

Alyssa Ernst, Mia Henry, Carolina Kepler, Eszter Krizsan, Je'Marion Miller

 

Powdered Sugar Snowflakes

Madalyn Durst, Alyssa Ernst, Carly Hay, Mia Henry, Carolina Kepler, Aila Kolehmainen, Eszter Krizsan, Izzy Parks, Sofia Ritchie, Helena Smith-Pohl, Avery Stevens, Scout Tarquinio

 

Sugarplum's Sprinkles

Melissa Bowen, Nakoma Ehrhart, Lydia Fletcher, Candace Kresse

Nerds

Madalyn Durst, Alyssa Ernst, Carly Hay, Mia Henry, Joey Johnson, Carolina Kepler, Aila Kolehmainen, Eszter Krizsan, Helena Smith-Pohl, Avery Stevens

 

Taffy

Madalyn Durst, Izzy Parks, Sofia Ritchie, Scout Tarquinio

Jelly Belly

Jennifer Shelton

 

Pop Rocks

Madalyn Durst, Lydia Fletcher, Mia Henry, Aila Kolehmainen, Candace Kresse, Eszter Krizsan, Sofia Ritchie

 

Peeps

Melissa Bowen, Nakoma Ehrhart, Lydia Fletcher, Candace Kresse

 

Cheese

Madalyn Durst, Izzy Parks, Sofia Ritchie, Scout Tarquinio

The Story

Preshow Music

Music:

"Marie and Fritz Awake/Guests Arrive/Unveiling of the Christmas Tree"

"Father-Daughter Dance/Grandparent's Arrival"

"Herr Drosselmeier's Gifts: Hobby Horse, The Nutcracker"

"Grandfather's Dance"
"Guest's Depart"

Voiceovers:

Joseph R. Brandt

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/12

Act I: The Bonfire

We begin at a wintery bonfire gathering of family and friends. General merriment is upon the partygoers when Drosselmeyer arrives, bringing a new sugary treat: chocolate, and marshmallows, and graham crackers, oh my! They intend to introduce everyone to the glory of the s’more! As marshmallows and chocolate are passed around, the evening turns into a wild psychedelic bash for all but young Clara, who, to her disappointment, has only been given graham crackers lest the sugar be too much for her sweet and innocent demeanor to handle. All of this changes, however, when Clara seizes her opportunity to sneak one of the delightful s’mores…

Overture

Music: “Overture”

Choreography: Amberly M. Simpson in collaboration with the Junior Company Dancers

The Bonfire

Music: “March”
Choreography: Amberly M. Simpson

Drosselmeyer and S'Mores

Music:  “Gifts/Herr Drosselmeyer’s Arrival with His Nephew/Toy Dolls/Toy Soldiers”
Choreography and Staging: Amberly M. Simpson and Heather Moran

Clara's Rebellion/Shifting Realities

Music: “Marie's Dream”
Choreography and Staging: Amberly M. Simpson and Heather Moran

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/16

Act II: The Battle and the Land of Snow

The Battle

Music: "The Battle"

Choreography and Staging: Heather Moran in collaboration with the Junior Company Dancers and Trainees

The Lovers

Music: “Nutcracker and Marie Depart for the Pine Forest”
Choreography: Amberly M. Simpson

Waltz of the Powdered Sugar Snowflakes

"Music: “Waltz of the Snowflakes”
Choreography: Sheila Zeng
Staging: Amberly M. Simpson

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/23

Act III: The Land of Sweets

In the Land of Sweets, Marshmallow and Chocolate express their desire to marry to the Sugarplum Fairy, inciting a giant celebration. Blessings from Sugarplum’s Court of Candies abound! The celebration culminates in the formal union of Marshmallow and Chocolate; the lovers are finally safe in each other's arms! But Chocolate and Marshmallow haven't lost their star-crossed status just yet. With their attention fixated on each other, and Clara and the Graham Cracker celebrating their great victory, hostile members of the Chocolate and Marshmallow clans are spotted sneaking around, preparing to stage an ambush! Graham Cracker defends Clara and the newlyweds, but falls in battle. Marshmallow and Chocolate are torn apart, cueing a mournful dance as her sugar hallucinations wear off and Clara returns to reality. 

The Sugarplum Fairy

Music: “Sugarplum Fairy”
Solo Choreography: Amberly M. Simpson

Ensemble Choreography: Professional Company and Apprentice Ensemble Dancers

Nerds

Music: “Hot Chocolate”
Choreography: Amberly M. Simpson and Heather Moran in collaboration with the Junior Company Dancers and Trainees

Taffy

Music: “Tea”
Choreography: Youth Apprentice and Community Ensemble Dancers

Jelly Belly

Music: “Coffee”
Choreography: Jennifer Shelton

Pop Rocks

Music: “Candy Cane”
Choreography: Joseph R. Brandt

Solo Choreography: Joseph R. Brandt and JD Frost

Peeps

Music: “Marzipan”
Choreography: Professional Company and Apprentice Ensemble Dancers

Cheese

Music: “Mother Ginger and her Polichinelles” 
Choreography: Youth Apprentice and Community Ensemble Dancers


The Wedding/First Dance

Music: “Waltz of the Flowers”
Choreography: Amberly M. Simpson

The Sugarplum Fairy's Blessing

Music: “Waltz of the Flowers” Remix by Brian Burrows
Solo Choreography: Uhstel H. Valentine

Graham Cracker and Clara's Duet Choreography: Joseph R. Brandt and Heather Moran
Ensemble Choreography: Amberly M. Simpson

Lover's Bliss/The Ambush/Clara's Lament

Music: “Sugarplum Fairy and Cavalier Pas de Deux”
Lover's Bliss Choreography: Jesse Barfield

Graham Cracker and Clara's Duet Choreography: Joseph R. Brandt, Heather Moran, and JD Frost
The Ambush Staging: Joseph R. Brandt, Heather Moran, and Amberly M. Simpson in collaboration with the dancers

Clara's Lament Choreography: Heather Moran

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/10

Act IV: Return to the Bonfre

Back at the bonfire, Clara tries to share her story and experience with the other guests, but they simply do not understand. How like adults! Ultimately, Clara must contend with this bittersweet memory on her own, and she is left with new appreciation for the graham crackers she had previously snubbed.

Return to the Bonfire/Clara's Lament Reprise

Music: “Finale”
Choreography: Amberly M. Simpson

Bows

Music: “The Sugarplum Fairy and Cavalier Coda”

FIN
Thank you for getting silly with us this holiday season!

IMG_8340.JPG

The Creative Team

Director/Lead Choreographer

Amberly M. Simpson

 

Featured Choreographers

Jesse Barfield

Joseph R. Brandt

Heather Moran

Jennifer Shelton

Sheila Zeng

 

***all choreography is created and developed in collaboration with the dancers!***

 

Projection/Scenic Design

Joseph R. Brandt

Amberly M. Simpson

 

Projection Source Artistry

Vectorpouch

Upklyak

Mural Superstore 

Rajneesh Mohan

AA-VFX

Janice Perry

Mikhail Nilov

Artem Beliaikin

 

Music

“The Nutcracker” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's, recorded 

by the New York City Ballet Orchestra

“Waltz of the Flowers” Remix by Brian Burrows

 

Lighting Design

Lindsay Krupski

 

Sound and Projection Operator

Joseph R. Brandt

 

Costume Design

Typh Hainer-Merwarth

Props and Set Design

Melissa Bowen

Joseph R. Brandt

 

Special Thanks

Rachel Bucio Grote

Louisville Contemporary Dance School

Melissa Case, Amos Hopkins, and the Lincoln Performing Arts School

Joey Johnson

Mia Henry

Allison Henry

Sheila Ernst

Nikki Durst

Carly and Kari Hay

Avery and Angela Stevens
Leigha Miller and Ronnie Ashley

Sandra Mulders

Mary Kay Brandt

Sheila Zeng

ZYIA Activewear

Bourbon Tango

Blue Dog Bakery

3rd Turn Oldham Gardens

Andrew Dailinger Photography

Greater Art Solutions Photography

Barre3

Carmichael's Bookstore

Hive & Barrel Meadery

Fante’s Coffee

Joseph's Salon

Middletown Family Chiropractor

TITLE Boxing Club Louisville - Hurstborne

Louisville Tea Company

Mindful Spiritual Reiki

Woven Nest Counseling

Pho Phi

Roosters

George Orthodontics

Taco City

On Pointe Dancewear

Massage by Laurie

Scale Reproductions Hobby Shop

Joe's Palm Room

And everyone who donated cotton balls!!!

Upcoming at Ambo!

In January of 2023 we are formally merging with the Louisville Contemporary Dance School and expanding our training to include a Children’s Program. This is a major step in our long-term goal to build a clear pipeline into the professional world of dance that is inclusive of all backgrounds and life circumstances!

Learn all the details in the video above!