COMING UP: All aboard for Riverside’s ‘Nutcracker’ shows

Already becoming an eagerly anticipated holiday tradition: In its seventh season, Vero’s professional ballet company, Ballet Vero Beach, brings to the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center its own wonderful version of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” this Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 30-31 – “Nutcracker on the Indian River.”

Of the numerous productions of this holiday classic, this one is truly unique: faithful to Tchaikovsky’s thrilling score and the whimsy and magic of the beloved original story, but charming in its own right, setting the stage, says the show promo, “on Christmas Eve 1919, the year Vero Beach was chartered.”

It follows the ballet’s young heroine, Marie, as she travels with her family from New York City’s Grand Central Station to Florida “in a spectacular adventure that prominently features the Indian River Lagoon.” This marks the third season “Nutcracker on the Indian River” has delighted Vero audiences, and it promises to be the best ever, with more professional dancers, new scenery, and the adorable host of local children, transformed magically into pelicans, turtles, dolphins and other creatures of the lagoon, that has delighted us in the previous productions.

Again this year Ballet Vero Beach has partnered with the Indian River Land Trust “to move the production beyond the stage,” creating a “walk through environment” amidst the mangroves, from the lobby along the hallways, with exhibits that focus on the health and preservation of the lagoon, a truly priceless treasure.

Also new this year is “Nutcracker for All,” a one-hour abbreviated accessible version of the full production which debuts Sunday, Dec. 29, and, explains the promo, “is geared towards the differently abled individuals of our community and their families and features modified audio/visual effects, reserved seating and a general admission ‘movers’ section, break areas inside the theater, and subsidized tickets prices, funded by Quail Valley Charities.”

You will want to share “Nutcracker on the Indian River” with friends and family for the first time, or again and again. Curtain: “Nutcracker for All,” Sunday: 2 p.m.; full-length performances: Monday, 8 p.m.; Tuesday, 2 p.m. Tickets: Sunday – $10; Monday and Tuesday, $10 to $75. 772-564-5537 or 772-905-2651.

Here’s your hat, 2019. What’s your hurry? Join the fun-loving bunch who are going to “Kiss 2019 Goodbye” at Riverside Theatre this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27-28, with the final Howl at the Moon Experience live request show of the year and, outside under the oaks, free live music and the always terrific full bar and grill at Live in the Loop.

Inside at the Howl, setting their dueling 88s on fire while challenging you to suggest a (legit) number they can’t play (and lots of luck with that), will be Katie Pinder Brown and Ken Gustafson, along with a “Special Guest Drummer.” Meanwhile, at Friday’s Live in the Loop, the dance party band Ladies of Soul will bring their kickin’ brand of Motown and R&B.

On Saturday it’ll be Second Wind, taking the stage with a mix of rock and pop faves. Time: Howl, 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Loop: 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets: Howl (pick your seats) side, $12; table seating, $16 to $22. Loop: free. 772-231-6990.

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