When Herr Drosselmeyer takes the stage in the Downers Grove production of "The Nutcracker," he just might be met with a big, slobbery kiss. And Clara won't be offended if you say she's a real dog.
That's because in this production, Clara is a pug, the Mouse King is a black lab and the Sugar Plum Fairy is played by an adorable Sheltie. Actually, Herr Drosselmeyer is the only two-legged creature in this four-legged show.
The canine version of "The Nutcracker" is performed by the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe. The production includes 29 working dogs of all different breeds, which spend months practicing their spins and dances. "The owners are always on stage with the dogs. We do some spins and jumping through arms and backing up, all kinds of stuff," says Becky Jankowski, coordinator of the troupe. "In Act 2 we have the Arabian Dancer and the Russian-type dancer and the lady with six dogs under her skirt. It's very cute and very, very active."
Not only that, but it's one of the most affordable Nutcrackers in the area at just $5 per person. Performances are in middle school gyms with bleacher seats-kids can sit on the floor near the show and get an up-close look at the pups in action. The whole production lasts about 40 minutes-easy enough for even younger kids to watch.
Performances are at 2 and 6 p.m. Nov. 20 at Glen Crest Middle School, 725 Sheehan, Glen Ellyn, and 2 and 6 p.m. Dec. 11 at Herrick Middle School, 4435 Middaugh, Downers Grove. Tickets go on sale in early November, check the website for details.
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.