The Nutcracker holiday tradition returns to Memorial Auditorium for 59th year

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A 59-year holiday tradition will be back on the stage for all of Texoma to come out and enjoy.

The Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre is bringing back the Nutcracker to start the holiday season.

Behind the curtain at Memorial Auditorium, performers are all working hard to put together the magic that is the annual Nutcracker production, and this year’s Rat King said it’s truly a one-of-a-kind performance

“I’m glad I said yes, it has not been easy being up on that stage with a 25 or 30 pound costume in a full mask under the lights and in front of a full crowd it will not necessarily be easy,” President and CEO of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce Henry Florsheim said.

Florsheim is the Rat King in this year’s production, a role he said has made him appreciate the art form of ballet even more.

“I know they work hard but I’ve never been back there when rehearsal was going on. And so I’ll go be part of a full scene rehearsal and my part is only five minutes or so and afterward, I’m like whooped and they are dancing hours at a time,” Florsheim said.

The production, led by Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Mishic Liberatore, is something she said feels good to be creating for all to enjoy.

“I think the really unique thing about our nutcracker is that we’ve had a 59-year history of doing the Nutcracker in the Wichita Falls community and that people have come for generations after generation to see this performance,” Liberatore said.

People like Melissa Hansard, who has attended the Nutcracker for as long as she can remember and has a role in this year’s production.

“Just being on this side of it, I love everything that has to do with the arts, I’m involved with the Wichita Theatre so just doing this part of the arts has been amazing,” Hansard said.

“I do love every year the kids and the excitement because for some child on that stage it is their first Nutcracker and they just bring this excitement and this magic and then seeing the kids in the audience just sitting there in the seat and they just can’t keep still because they’re so excited to see the performance,” Liberatore said.

A magical holiday tradition that is the gift that keeps on giving.

The Nutcracker opens this Friday at Memorial Auditorium. For ticket details, show dates and times, and more information click here.

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