Graham Lustig’s Nutcracker Review


Rose Figueroa, Staff Writer

During this passing break I had the opportunity to attend the amazing Graham Lustig’s Nutcracker performed by the Oakland Ballet Company. With a total of 3 shows at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, CA this show has proven to be one of the best by far. I attended the 2 and a half hour showing on December 23 at 5:00 p.m. It contained a hour first scene and then a brief 30 minute intermission followed up by a second scene that was also a hour.


This by far was one of my favorite parts of the entire show. The Paramount Theater is an exquisite and beautiful building from both the inside and out. With intricate interior designs and amazing decorations done inside this theater is definitely a huge part of the beauty that goes into this show. Balloons could be seen creating a nutcracker, a large Christmas tree was displayed, snowflakes were hung, and more.


                            Some of the beautiful interior designs and the outside of the theatre.

The performance:

Visuals:I was particularily captured by the beautiful and creative costumes. I was most drawn by the the Nutcracker, the heritage dancers, and the mice. With the nutcracker in an original nutcracker costume that perfectly matched the doll I felt so breathtaken. To enhance the performance even more there were just plain beautiful costumes for the heritage dancers that perfectly captured the beautiful culture. This was my overall favorite part of the play it felt like every culture came to life right in front of me. Lastly, I was overtaken by how they did a great job with dressing up something as difficult as a mouse. I also was very fond of the backgrounds and props. Each background had a lot of detail and perfectly fit the acts occuring. The timing that all of these different props and backgrounds also surprised me as they were done within the blink of an eye. My favorite prop through out the play was most definitly the hot air balloon. You could tell the amount of time that it took to construct this beautful prop that held the weight of 2 people.

Music: With a live symphonic band and an acapella group providing all the music in the play this was just the cherry on top.  Every act had beautiful music that perfectly helped capture the moment.

Plot: I was very pleased to find that this play captured the typical Nutcracker story line in a beautiful way.  They found a way to tell the story using dance only in an understandable way.


I was disappointed as far as the concession stand went for this event. All they served was beverages and most were alcoholic drinks leaving me with very little options. I expected at least something such as popcorn or candy in the concession stand, but found quite the opposite. There was also a limited number of bathrooms open and it was quite confusing to find.


As a dancer myself and the sister of a ballerina I found it particularly important for the sake of this review to critique the dancing. I was not very shocked for the Oakland Ballet Company is a well known and prestigious place for performing artists. The technique was just an undeniable beauty. Furthermore, the choreography was pure genius. I was specifically intrigued by how well the Mouse Battle was portrayed. The characters captured both a large fighting scene while still maintaining the elegance of ballet. They also had a beautiful cultural choreography as each different dance for the different cultures had something that correlated to it.


Overall, I had a lot of fun at this event and would recommend it to anyone specifically people who have an appreciation for the arts. The event had a couple set backs, but nothing that pertained to the show itself. I would also recommend the Oakland Ballet Company to anyone interested in taking their ballet skills to the next level.