Almost 125 years ago, on Dec. 18, 1892, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker had its world premiere in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The ballet was choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov.
The original production was not successful, but since then, The Nutcracker has become a beloved holiday tradition around the world.
For the past five Christmas seasons, Ballet Brazos has brought this delightful story to this area, and now it is time for the sixth annual version, but don't wait to get your tickets.
Ballet Brazos will present two performances on Saturday, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Rudder Auditorium on the campus of Texas A&M University. Last year, the 2 p.m. performance sold out and there were only a few seats left for the 7 p.m. performance. A lot of people enjoy this holiday treat and this year's performances no doubt will be just as packed.
Tickets range from $8 to $30 and are available at the MSC Box Office on the first floor of Rudder Tower, online at boxoffice.tamu.edu or by calling 979-845-1234. The box office will be open Saturday in case any tickets remain.
Indiana Woodward stars as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Andrew Veyette returns as her cavalier. Both are with the New York City Ballet. Woodward won first place in the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive in New York City and was invited to perform at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy gala in Moscow.
Veyette joined the New York City Ballet as an apprentice in 2000, becoming a member of the corps de ballet later that year. He was promoted to soloist in 2006 and, a year later, was named principal dancer.
Seth York of Houston will be the Prince, with Isabel Medrano of College Station as Clara. This Is Water Theatre's Andrew Roblyer will portray Uncle Drosselmeyer.
Dancers from throughout the area have been rehearsing since September and are ready to go. There will be some new costumes and sets this year.
If you have a daughter or granddaughter, The Nutcracker is a perfect early Christmas gift. And it will be a real treat for you, too.
It's beginning to look a lot like Tuna
With only five days left to the prepiere of A Tuna Christmas at Navasota Theatre Alliance, fewer than 15 percent of tickets remain. That's a great "problem" for a theater company to have, but it is bad for patrons who might not be able to get a seat.
If you want to see this hilarious production, go to navasotatheatre.org now or you just might miss it -- and that you don't want to do.
After being away too long, the talented actor-playwright Mark Taylor returns to the theater world by directing A Tuna Christmas. Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Sundays.
Tickets are $7 to $14, but again, only a few remain.
A Tuna Christmas is perhaps the best of the four plays set in the fictional Tuna, Texas, described as the "third-smallest" town in the state. The plays were written by actors Jaston Williams and Joe Sears -- who played all the roles for some 30 years -- and Ed Howard.
The Navasota production expands the cast slightly, with four actors taking on all the roles, male and female: Scott McDuffie, J. Paul Teel, Dave Brown and Kevin Parker.
Tuna favorites Thurston Wheelis, Bertha Bumiller, Aunt Pearl Burras. Arles Struvie, Petey Fisk, Didi Snavely, Vera Carp and Sharlene Bumiller return as Tuna prepares for the Christmas Yard Display Contest and an ill-fated production of A Christmas Carol.
The crew members are John Baldwin, assistant director; Kevin Parker, stage manager and costume assistant; Taylor Mack, intern and dresser; Dave Brown, set construction; Joyce Yorek, costume manager; and Janice Kerlee, Taylor Mack, Judith LaFontaine, Sheryl Brown and Kevin Parker as the costume team.
A Tuna Christmas is generously sponsored by Trinty Heads Inc. of Navasota.
It has been a year and a week since Randy Wilson died. The longtime Bryan resident had been artistic director at The Theatre Company in Bryan for 26 years and his efforts had turned it into a powerhouse community theater.
The Theatre Company has done well in the past year under the direction of new artistic director Adrienne Dobson, a dedicated board of directors and a passionate group or actors and crew members, but Randy still is missed.
On Dec. 10, area residents will have two chances to view a documentary short of Wilson's life, BCS to Broadway and Back, the Randy Wilson Story. The short is part of a planned full-length documentary by Theatre Company veterans Cynthia Bradford and James Cho.
The two had conducted several interviews with Wilson, looking back on his life growing up in Bryan, graduating from Baylor University to starring on Broadway. He had a fascinating life and I was proud to be a small part of it.
There are more interviews to be done and the Dec. 10 shows will serve as a fundraiser to finish the project.
The film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. at The Theatre Company, behind JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Bryan's Tejas Center. Suggested donation is $15, but please be generous in helping finish this documentary about a local legend. Reserve tickets at theatrecompany.com/tickets.
Surely no one needs a calendar to know it is the Christmas season. The weather is -- somewhat -- cooler, stores are full of holiday items, and kids are beside themselves with excitement.
Even the most mellow of adults sometimes can have a metldown with all the hustle and bustle.
Starting this week, the members and friends of the Brazos Valley chapter of the American Guild of Organists is offering a brief respite, one that highlights the true meaning of the season. For three Thursdays -- Dec. 7, 14 and 21 -- they will offer short recitals of music for the Advent and Christmas seasons. The concerts will be performed on pipe organ and various instruments with voices as well.
The concerts bergin at 12:30 p.m. all three days at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 603 Church Ave, in College Station.
There is no charge for admission, but a free-will offering will be taken.
Speaking of organ music
St. Thomas Episcopal Church has been busy for the past several months installing a new organ designed by organ builders Pieter and Michael Visser. All the work is completed and the magnificent new organ will be dedicated at 3 p.m. Dec. 10.
St. Thomas Episcopal Church is located at 906 George Bush Drive in College Station.
The organ, new to St. Thomas Episcopal, is a three manual, 21 rank tracker action organ, described as Visser-Rowland Organs: Opus 46. It originally was installed in 1984 at St. John's Lutheran Church on Cypress. When that church built a larger sanctuary, it put in a larger organ. Pieter Visser had installed St. Thomas' organ in 1994 when the congregation built its new church.
Pieter Visser is from the Netherlands, where his grandfather played organ in a village church. He and his family emigrated to Houston in the 1950s and Visser became a master organ builder, well known on both sides of the Atlantic. He continues to do the tuning and voicing of the pipes so the organ fits accoustically in the room. His son, Michael, now is company president.
The Dec. 10 concert will feature music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude, Louis-Nicolas Clerambault, Pablo Bruna, Jehan Alain, Pavel Tchesnokov and others, performed by the Vissers, the St. Thomas choir, church organist Bonnie Harris-Reynolds and trumpeter Mark Oakland.
The concert is free and will be followed by a reception. For more information, call 979-696-1726 or 979-696-0452.
Time to Act
Even though StageCenter in Downtown Bryan just opened The Game's Afoot, or Holmes for the Holidays, it is looking forward to its next production, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Auditions for Tennessee's Williams' masterpiece will be at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the theater, located at 201 W. 26th Street, above Mr. G's Pizza.
Director Leah Fletcher is seeking up to eight men, five females, two boys and two girls.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof will run Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays Feb. 8 through Feb. 24.
For more information, go to www.stagecenter.net.
Meanwhile, Navasota Theatre Alliance already is preparing for its next show, Too Soon for Daisies by William Dinner and William Morum. Director Chaz Pitman will hold auditions on Dec. 18 and 19 at 6:45 p.m. The theater is located at 104 W. Washington St. in downtown Navasota.
Pitman is looking for three women in their late 50s or 60s, a woman in her 20s, two men in their 50s to 60s and one 40-something, although that is not set in stone. Also, he is looking for a man or a woman, any age, to play a police officer. He also is seeking crew members.
For more information, go to navasotatheatre.org.
• Today -- The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden and The Long Christmas Dinner, two plays by Thornton Wilder, Blinn College Bryan Campus Theatre Arts Program, $5 to $10. (blinn.edu/vpa)
• Today -- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Unity Theatre, 300 Church St. in Brenham, 4 p.m., $10 to $15. (unitybrenham.org)
• Today -- Blinn College Band concert, Blinn College Brenham, Dr. W.W. O'Donnell Performing Arts Center, 5 p.m., free. (blinn.edu)
• Today-Dec. 9 -- Chaos at the North Pole, Brazos Valley TROUPE, 29th Street Studio, 3702 E. 29th St. in Bryan's Town & Country Center. (bvtroupe.com)
• Today-Dec. 17 -- She Loves Me, The Theatre Company, behind JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Bryan's Tejas Center, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., $7 to $20. (www.theatrecompany.com)
• Dec. 5 -- Blinn College Jazz Ensemble concert, Blinn College Brenham, Dr. W.W. O'Donnell Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m., free. (blinn.edu)
• Dec. 7-Dec. 16 -- The Game's Afoot, or Holmes for the Holidays, StageCenter, 201 W. 26th Street, above Mr. G's Pizza in Downtown Bryan, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., $10 to $15. (www.StageCenter.net)
• Dec. 9 -- Christmas on the Brazos, Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site off Texas 105 between Navasota and Brenham, all day, culminating in Candlelight Christmas event at Barrington Living History Farm. (wheretexasbecametexas.org, 936-878-2214)
• Dec. 10 -- Holiday Pops, Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and guests, Christ United Methodist Church, 4201 Texas 6 S. in College Station, $10 to $25. (boxoffice.tamu.edu)
• Dec. 11 -- A White Christmas, Brazos Valley Chorale,Christ the Good Shepherd Chapel, St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School, 600 S. Coulter Drive, Bryan, 7 p.m., $5 to $15. (bvchorale.org)
• Dec. 11 -- Entries for the 20th Annual Brazos Valley Youth Concerto Competition are due at the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra offices at 750 William D. Fitch Parkway, Suite 430-B in College Station. Mail entries to P.O. Box 3524, Bryan, TX 77805.
• Dec. 15 and 16 -- Elf jr., Brenham Children's Chorus, Dr. W.W. O'Donnell Performing Arts Center on the Blinn College Brenham campus. (brenhamchildrenschorus.com)
• Every Sunday -- Open mics and poetry slams sponsored by Mic Check Poetry, 8:30 p.m. Revolution Café in Downtown Bryan, (miccheckpoetry.com)
Items for Arts Watch should be emailed to email@example.com. Deadline is noon Tuesday before the weekend you want it to run.