Many a pop culture property has been visited just once, in a single, standard form, without any spins or variations put on setting, character, or theme.
And then you have the plays of Shakespeare, works that regularly show up boasting Wild West duds, '50s jeans, or spacesuits. And then you have "The Wizard of Oz," a journey that's been re-interpreted more times than there are yellow bricks in a certain oft-traveled road.
And then you have "The Nutcracker," Tchaikovsky's ballet that out-classics other classics and out-does other stories on the re-imagined scale. A suburban household, a schoolroom, a castle? "The Nutcracker" has been to them all in recent years.
But returning to its whimsical, storybook roots is one of the pleasures of the season, and a number of Southern California companies will tie on the toe shoes and alight in the Land of Sweets over the coming weeks. Those troupes include...
The Los Angeles Ballet: Once again, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara, and their co-adventurers will have an around-the-region adventure, too, as they visit Glendale's Alex Theatre, The Dolby Theatre, Royce Hall, and Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. Count on two dates at each venue, spanning Dec. 6 through 28. So, really, wherever you are in the city, you can see our acclaimed ballet take on that iconic, tree-and-flake-laden treat.
City Ballet of LA: "Set in 1942 during World War II in Hancock Park," this Nutcrackerian outing takes on a jazzy, modern mien, complete with some Duke Ellington in the musical score. It's happening the Friday and Saturday ahead of Christmas, and right in Hancock Park, too, at the Wilshire Ebell.
The Marat Daukayev Ballet Theater: The school, which celebrates on Vaganova instruction, "the classical Russian style of ballet that focuses on the upper body," will present the 1892 ballet at the Luckman Theatre at Cal State Los Angeles over four nights. See it on Dec. 6, 7, 13, or 14.
Inland Pacific Ballet: Like The Los Angeles Ballet, this Montclair-based company will twirl into a quartet of theaters during the yuletide run, from Rancho Cucamonga to Claremont to Riverside (a visit to the Arcadia Performing Arts Center kicked things off in late November).