RU’s Nutcracker is a study in pure collaboration


There is magic in “Nutcracker” ballet that goes beyond the mesmerizing Tchaikovsky holiday story. In Radford University’s biennial production, unbeknownst to the audience, the enchantment they experience is a collaborative effort.

“The ‘Nutcracker’ production is truly the College’s pinnacle performance event as it seamlessly integrates the expertise and support of the academic departments, the community outreach program, Radford University Ballet Youth (RUBY), internationally renowned guest artists, and professional musicians throughout our region,” says Margaret Devaney, dean of the CVPA.

The “Nutcracker” has been an RU tradition since 1982. Since 2006, this year marks Associate Professor Inessa Plekhanova’s fifth year of original choreography and direction, bringing together dancers, actors, artists and the local community.

This year’s guest artists are Humberto Teixeiro in the title role; Mari Sugawa as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Mikhail Ronnikov as the Cavalier. RU student Christa Rockney is Clara. Associate Professor of Theatre, Wesley Young, reprises his role as Herr Drosselmeyer.

Other cast members include Aja Gore, Alexa Dunks, Alexa Mollica, Alexis Miller, Alisha Dwivedi, Allison Richter, Amy Livesay, Anne Wright, Arianne Thompson, Ashton Overbay, Brenna Featherston, Brigitte Manga, Brittany Fritchman, Caitlin Horan, Caleb Waybright, Camara Byrd, Celinna Haber, Chelsea McGinnis, Courtney McClendon, Denise Urban, Forrest Goodwin, Ginny Reaves, Grace Smiley, Haley Race, Joyce Hardin, Katie Brown, Kelly Noah, Krista Zimmerman, Kristen Jameson, Kristina Daniel, Kyle North, Machijah Persaud, Matthew Robinson, Michelle Tormey, Nicole Diambra, Niki Karageorges, Rachel Gattoni, Ricky Parks, Sara Cooper, Shandi Honaker, Sydney Crawson, Tory Lipnicky, Tory Unterberger, Zachary Bacon, and Zoey Stull.

Members of RUBY who are performing are Addy Phillips, Aliya Gasimova, Andrei Plekhanov, Annelyse Farmer, Ava Miller, Brogan Pitts, Caroline Pappas , Catherine Shewchuk, Charlotte Hill, Gia Pugliese, Gwyn Knutson, Hannah Farmer, Hollace Oakes, India Black, Isabela Golden, Isabella Eller, Katherine Woinski, Kaylea Eller, Keira Woods, Kennedy Fender, Kersha Lucas, Lauren Robertson, Layla Dalton, Leah Woods, Lillee Hurst, Lindy Mesmer, Lyla Thurman, Mackenzie Allison, Madelyn Owen, Maggie Bolling, Mattox Adams, Mia Galbraith, Roxy Lafon, Sarah Otey, and tzintzun barajas-bella.

Ruthie Brown, now 11, recalls being part of RUBY and the cast when she was preschool age, “I remember being up on the big stage in the lights. I was a little nervous about having all of those people watching us, but it was my first experience onstage. It gave me confidence for the other times when I performed in community theatre or spoke in front of my class at school.”

Collaborators also include other departments of the CVPA. Graphic design students design posters and programs; and Theatre provides additional cast members and production assistance.

Devaney also notes “The RU College of Visual and Performing Arts distinguishes itself by being one of the few arts colleges across the country to stage a full-length ‘Nutcracker’ production. The rehearsal process and performances offer our students a wonderful experiential opportunity which requires a tremendous amount of talent, discipline, commitment and collaborative spirit.”

The ‘Nutcracker’ will be onstage at Bondurant Auditorium in Preston Hall starting at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14-15. There will be two matinees that start at 2 p.m. Nov. 15-16. For ticket information, visit

Tickets holders are invited to a special “Children’s Tea with Clara and Friends” immediately following Sunday’s matinee performance. This is included in the ticket price and is sponsored by Johann Norstedt. For reservations, please call 540-831-5407.


Nov 6, 2014