Producing the 11th Annual Nutcracker Spectacular

By: Kyle Hoover

This past December, the Westlake Technical Entertainment Crew and Lexus of Austin joined together once again to put on the 11th Annual Nutcracker Spectacular at the Westlake Community Performing Arts Center. The Nutcracker features dancers from Alisa's Dance Academy and musicians from Westlake's Symphonic Orchestra and is complemented by visual effects and scenery created by Westlake TEC members.

The Nutcracker Spectacular differs from the traditional ballet in that it features slightly different scenes, several pieces of new scenery such as our gingerbread house, shorter acts, and a rock concert with Christmas classics at the end of Act II. But these differences make our version of the Nutcracker unique and give the entire cast and crew room to create our own special touches.

All throughout the fall, the TEC officers work hard to handle many aspects of the show, such as finding sponsors and planning out schedules and crew lists. Almost every day from the beginning of November through December, each technical theatre class works hard to refurbish scenery, such as the candy wagons and large gumdrops, and make sure the stage is ready for opening night. That's what makes Nutcracker so fun for the whole crew — it's entirely our own show.

Alongside TEC, Westlake's Symphonic Orchestra spends almost the entire fall semester learning and drilling the ENTIRE ballet, which encompasses almost 20 pieces of music. Nutcracker's music is extremely difficult, and it really shows how amazing Westlake musicians are. I am a member of the Westlake Symphonic Orchestra and getting the opportunity to play such beautiful music in a large scale production is truly amazing.

As you can probably tell, Nutcracker is a demanding show, and it requires a high level of professionalism and concentration to pull it off perfectly night after night. This year, the Television Broadcast Crew, which is composed of a group of Westlake TEC members, was still filming and broadcasting the Westlake Chaparral Football games during show week. Normally Video Crew ends in mid November, but it didn't this year due to advancing all the way to the state championship. This presented a major conflict with Nutcracker, and the entire organization had to come together to pull off both a professional football broadcast and a perfect Nutcracker show simultaneously. Past TEC alumni came in to fill spots on the Broadcast Crew due to the fact that many members stayed for Nutcracker. When combining the alumni and video crew members who produced the broadcast, the crew was only 1/2 to 2/3 of its normal size. Still, both events went off without a hitch, a feat which really shows the community how professional and dedicated the TEC organization is.

Nutcracker Spectacular truly is a special show, and a huge community tradition. With five shows, over 5,000 patrons, and countless hours of rehearsals and builds, Nutcracker Spectacular once again wowed audiences and showed off the best Westlake TEC has to offer. 


More amazing Nutcracker photos here