Some of the most talented students in the area will be on the big stage at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers on Thursday as the North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts invites members of the community to enjoy their production of Tchaikovsky's two-act ballet, The Nutcracker.
The performance will start with a preshow at 6:30 p.m., with the actual ballet beginning at 7:30 on Thursday.
Now in the eighth year of production - and the fourth at the Mann - The Nutcracker is a multi-faceted arts educational experience for students of all ages and arts disciplines at NFMAA.
Nearly a third of the student body will take part in the annual performance, according to Dr. Doug Santini, NFMAA principal and the man who will play Uncle Drosselmeyer in the ballet.
"There are more than 350 kids in it from the school and it's professionally done," Santini said. "We are an arts academy so you expect them to be talented. But we'll have a great show and it usually sells out."
Students from across the entire student body will take part in the annual production and will be honored to have the community come out to experience a holiday classic while supporting the arts programs of NFMAA.
The preshow will showcase performances by the chorus and string section. The intermission will feature another choral group.
Dress rehearsals took place last week.
Before going to the Mann, the students will perform the ballet twice in front of the student body as well as other classes from other schools on Monday.
The students will do a run-through on Thursday afternoon before the show so they can be acclimated to the different stage, Santini said. Dinner will be provided to the participants before the show.
The Nutcracker has enjoyed enormous popularity for more than 40 years and is performed by countless ballet companies, primarily during the Christmas season.
"It's a wonderful story, especially for families and kids," Santini said. "It's a great event for the community and the quality is very high."
Tickets range in price ($10, $15, $20, $25) and are available from the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall Box Office, online at www.bbmannpah.com or by calling 481-4849.
Proceeds from this production will support ongoing and future arts education programs at the NFMAA.
The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall is at 8099 College Parkway, Fort Myers.