A CLASSIC TWIST: Imagine “The Nutcracker” set in Colonial Andover.
That’s just what Judith Wombwell did for a production of the classic holiday ballet, presented by the theater and dance department at Phillips Academy in Andover from Friday through next Sunday.
The mice and soldiers become revolutionary war figures, and the party guests celebrate in the Abbot barn, designed and constructed by faculty member Bruce Bacon.
Clara’s journey through the Christmas tree into the Land of Sweets remains true to the original ballet, with its timeless story of a child’s fantasy.
“The Nutcracker” was last performed at Phillips in 2008. This year’s production includes several guest artists and new costumes.
The key role of Clara is shared by seniors Madeline Silva, captain of the Andover Dance Group, and Rochelle Wilbun. The Snow King and Queen are danced by Graham Johns and Marion Kudla, respectively.
The “Grand Pas de Deux’’ is performed by two guest artists, Boston Ballet soloists Dalay Parrondo and Brad Schlagheck, in the featured roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.
Prior to joining the Boston Ballet in 2004, Parrondo was a soloist in the National Ballet of Cuba. Schlagheck has been with the Boston Ballet since 2006, starting as a member of the corps de ballet.
In addition to the principal dancers, this year’s production features more than 50 cast members, including Phillips students, faculty members, and children from surrounding communities.
The list of area dancers in the production includes Andover residents Adam Brody, Rebecca Cheng, Sarah Cronin, Emily Field, Claire Glover, Katherine Graber, Catherine Haut, Sophia Landay, Olivia Legaspi, and Erica Nork; Michaela Barczak of Haverhill; North Andover resident Elizabeth McGonagle; North Reading resident Abriana Mayer; and Reading residents Emily Ewing and Ada Li.
New costuming includes a fanciful Mother Ginger, modeled after Marie Antoinette, designed and constructed by faculty member Billy Murray.
Played by faculty member Kevin Graber, Mother Ginger makes a larger-than-life appearance accompanied by six tiny bonbons, performed by local children.
“The Nutcracker” will be performed in the Tang Theatre on the Phillips Academy campus at 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. next Sunday. Admission is $20, or $10 for members of the Phillips Academy community.
For reservations, call 978-749-4433.
REMEMBERING SULLY: “Sully: The Words, Wit and Wisdom of Paul Sullivan,” has been published by the Middlesex Community College Foundation.
The book celebrates the life of the WBZ-AM radio talk show host, political editor, and columnist for the Lowell Sun, and Middlesex faculty member. Sullivan died of cancer in 2007 at age 50.
The commemorative book features a selection of Sullivan’s columns, as well as photos and remembrances from family, friends, and co-workers.
Proceeds from book sales support the Paul H. Sullivan Scholarship at Middlesex Community College.
The book is available at the college’s bookstores in Lowell and Bedford, as well as online.
IN LOCAL GALLERIES: “Of Mice and Mischief,” an
exhibition of whimsical new paintings by Stuart Dunkel , opens at the Walsingham Gallery in Newburyport on Saturday and continues through Dec. 14. A reception from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday will feature a demonstration by Dunkel, who will be signing copies of his book, “An Artist’s Life,’’ as well as a raffle of one of his original oil paintings. . . New paintings by Dale Partiss Greene of Ipswich and Maureen Petrie of Topsfield are on display at the Hall-Haskell House in Ipswich from Dec. 4 to 7. The show includes plein air and studio works of landscapes, seascapes, and still lifes . . . “The More I Look, The More I See!”, an exhibition of photographs by Suzanne DeGeorge , is at the Provident Bank’s Lobby for the Arts in Newburyport through January. A reception with the artist is 5:30-7 p.m. Dec. 6. DeGeorge is inspired by the quiet simplicity of New England, with its rolling hills, ocean, mountains, and changing seasons.