Premiered in 1994, TRB’s flagship production A Southwest Nutcracker transports Tchiakovsky’s traditional Nutcracker in its entirety to 1880s Tucson, giving the characters and events a Sonoran Desert twist that has become a beloved Tucson holiday tradition.
Our party takes place in the hacienda of young Maria Martinez. Her favorite uncle, Tio Diego, brings his dancing dolls, a Gambler, Hurdy-Gurdy Gal, and Gunslinger, to entertain the guests. He presents Maria with a Nutcracker designed in the form of a U.S. Cavalry General. That evening, Maria is menaced by King Coyote and his pack of coyotes banditos. She is saved by her Nutcracker General, now life-sized and leading a troop of U.S. cavalry soldiers. After the battle, her Nutcracker General is transformed into a handsome soldier, and they escape over Mount Lemmon through swirling snowflakes. They arrive at a beautiful Desert Dream where they are welcomed by Native American Princesses, Prairie Children, and the lovely Prickly Pear Fairy and her Caballero. The Caballero and Prickly Pear Fairy order a fiesta in honor of Maria and her Nutcracker, and all of the citizens of the Desert Dream perform for the couple: Chili Peppers, the Copper Queen and her Copper Corps, Rattlesnakes, Tumbleweeds, Ocotillo, Mama Pinata and her Dulces, the Desert Flowers, and of course the Caballero and Prickly Pear Fairy themselves. As the festival ends, Tio Diego escorts the sleepy Maria home, where she awakens with the memories of her wonderful dream.
The costumes for A Southwest Nutcracker have been professionally designed to reflect both the Southwestern aesthetic and the spirit of the traditional Nutcracker, and the sets represent the beauty of Tucson, with traditional hacienda architecture, furniture, and props appropriate to the period, a magical growing Christmas tree, and backdrops displaying snow on Mount Lemmon and a Desert Dream with desert cliffs, cacti and flowers, bathed in the glorious skies of our Sonoran Desert.
Since 2003, Tucson Regional Ballet has enjoyed a collaboration with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra for live accompaniment, which completes the full artistry of the production and truly creates a professional experience for both the dancers and audience.