The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 30, 2013

Johnstown Concert Ballet to present ‘The Nutcracker’

JOHNSTOWN — Once again, the Sugar Plum Fairy will dance, and the Nutcracker Prince will return.

“The Nutcracker” will be presented by Johnstown Concert Ballet at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, Richland Township.

The company’s artistic director, Carla Prucnal, strives to keep the annual production fresh by adding new dances or amending scenes.

This year, a portion of the party scene at the beginning of the production has been amended.

“Drosselmeyer brings out some dolls to perform, and others do dances representing the holidays,” Prucnal said.

“It’s a beautiful piece. We have to make our costumes from scratch because we can’t get the quality we need. Our costumes last for years.”

With three performances of the popular ballet, three girls will dance the coveted lead role.

Clara will be danced by Madelynn Weir, who attends Westmont Middle School, for the Friday performance, Morgan Lybarger, Richland Middle School, for the Saturday matinee and Isabella Panebianco, Westmont Middle School, for the Saturday evening performance.

The company has been staging “The Nutcracker” since 1978 and has never had any girl dance the role of Clara more than once.

“The Claras were chosen the last weekend of September, and we’ve been rehearsing in October and November almost daily,” Prucnal said.

“On Sundays, they dance with the principals from Point Park. This production is a lot of work, and all the girls work hard.”

The comic role of Clara’s brother, Fritz, will be played by Trygve Nordlund, who will dance for all three performances.

Professional dancers from Point Park University in Pittsburgh will perform some of the principal roles.

They are Jay Kirk as Herr Drosselmeyer, James Gowan as the Prince, Sasha Alvarez as the Sugar Plum Fairy and John O’Neill and Jacob Frazier in the Arabian Dance.

The annual production also is helped by dancers’ parents and people in the community who love dance and the arts.

“We’re always looking for volunteers,” Prucnal said.

Other main character roles will be performed by those who aren’t company members.

They are Kayla Esch as the mother; Dr. Alan Teich as the father; Karen Soliday as the grandmother; J.D. Griffith as the grandfather; and John Barnes as Father Christmas.

The male guests will be portrayed by Jim Baumgardner, Greg Krinock, Mark Kresak, Fisk Lee, Brandon Neal, David Stewart, Adam Weir, Jason Whorl, Sen. John Wozniak and Ray Zwick.

The female guests will be portrayed by Mary Ann Ackman, Paige Hockycko and Eileen Pears.

Tickets are available at the Pasquerilla box office.

Senior company members are Madalyn Barnes, Sydney Baumgardner, Lily Bradley, Alexandra D’Arrigo, Lindsay Geiser, Meghana Gella, Taylor George, Ashley Jeschonek, Nicole Khouzami, Tristin Kresak, Angelina Ozeck, Theresa Ozeck, Inez Panebianco, Samantha Stevanus, Abigail Rose, Ashley Shriver, Laurel Steinly, Christy Stewart, Emily Stewart, Jenna Tokarsky, Cassidy Weir, Ruby Whorl and Susan Williams.

Junior company members are Lauren Anderson, Alexandra Barnhart, Abigail D’Arrigo, Penelope Lee, India Menkaure, Taylor Mock, Bailey Popovich, Shannon Tokarsky, Teresa Parrish, Kamy Villacis, Hannah Timcik, Kathy Goas, Ashley Hamula, Arianna Kline, Eryn McKendree, Leah Mikeasky, Christiana Parrish, Nathalie Frem, Haely Goller, Grace Messina, Preslee Metil, Alivia Nikonow, Vivian Popp, Lily Runkle, Josie Sefcik, Eva Weir, Audrey Gokey, Skylah Harrington, Lindsey Hodge, Alexandra Mock, Ivy Peterman, Natalie Riggs, Fiona Stuart, Klara Adams, Piper Bruce, Haidee Errett, Shyanne Hillegas, Helena Oherrick, Clara Zandelin, Iryss Chippie, Kathleen Hodge, Evelyn Moore, Fiona Reininger and Isabella Williams.


What: “The Nutcracker,” presented by Johnstown Concert Ballet.

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, Richland Township.

Tickets: $12.

Information: 269-7200 or 800-846-2747.

Ruth Rice covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at


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