This holiday season, plan on taking your family to see the Nutcracker Suite - Kansas style. While Tchaikovsky’s ballet is performed throughout the state, the Lawrence Arts Center weaves pieces of our own history into the familiar story. The result is a unique rendition of the holiday classic you will not want to miss. 

Step into the opening scene – a Christmas party in 1861 Kansas shortly after statehood, where characters like the fiery James Lane and Kansas’ first Governor Charles Robinson mingle with women fighting for suffrage, temperance and abolition. Little Clara misses her father who is off serving in the Civil War. As the evening progresses, she is lured into the magic of the holiday and dreams of Kansas soldiers, snakes and grasshoppers along with her Nutcracker hero.

The show is part drama and part ballet. Tchaikovsky’s familiar music has been arranged for a 13-piece orchestra featuring a mandolin quartet. This transforms the Russian feel of the original work into something closer to home.

The Lawrence Arts Center has offered a Kansas version of the Nutcracker for several years, but this year’s edition has been rewritten to honor the Kansas Sesquicentennial. Kansas City actor Robert Gibby Brand will lead this cast of nearly 150 with his portrayal of the godfather Drosselmeier.

Get your tickets early.

Event: The Kansas Nutcracker: 2011 Sesquicentennial Edition

Dates: Friday and Saturday, December 9 and 10, 7 p.m.

Friday and Saturday, December 16 and 17, 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 11 and 18, 2:00 p.mLocation: Lawrence Arts CenterTicket Costs: $18 adults $12 students/seniors, group rates available.

Becky Blake is the Director of Tourism Division of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism, and has been involved in the Kansas tourism industry for the past 30 years. The TravelKS Blog provides a brief update from Becky each week, featuring communities, events and attractions throughout the state.