The 2007 Centennial presentation of the “Oklahoma Nutcracker,” based on the traditional “Nutcracker” ballet story and score by Tchaikovsky, is the only production of its kind in the state to offer an Oklahoma setting and characters. The Norman Ballet Company is now preparing for its sixth annual production of the classic children’s ballet.

The “Oklahoma Nutcracker” Act I party scene is set in the home of one of Oklahoma City’s founding families. Henry and Anna Overholser and their daughter Henry Ione, are major characters in the ballet, hosting the Christmas Eve party for their neighborhood guests in the drawing room of the Overholser Mansion.

Mr. Henry Overholser was a businessman who helped turn Oklahoma City into the major commercial center that eventually became the state capital of Oklahoma. The Overholser family was an important member of Oklahoma City society and helped to bring about cultural development to the Oklahoma City area for a period of over 50 years.

Steve Estes, production designer and technical director for the Norman Ballet Company’s production of “The Oklahoma Nutcracker” replicated the look of the Overholser Mansion drawing room, down to its delicate hand painted silk walls, ornate fireplace and porcelain rose candelabra for the Act I Scene 1 Party Scene.

“ The Overholser Mansion was completed in 1903 and was the perfect setting for our ballet which is set in 1907 – the Tchaikovsky score fit right into that elegant drawing room and having little Henry Ione Overholser (who was by all accounts, quite feisty and imaginative) become our “Clara” was a perfect fit.” Marjorie Kovich, Artistic Director

Norman Ballet Company costume designer, Sue Petzel, spent time at the Overholser Mansion going through clothing that belonged to the Overholser family and sketched ideas for the ballet costumes. She also did research in fashion books from the year 1907 to make sure all costumes would be authentic to the year Oklahoma reached statehood, 1907.

Audiences will get a chance to apreciate the beautiful designs prevalent to that era – fashionable women were still “corseted” and there was an elegance in the line of the gowns worn by early Oklahoma City “Society” women.

Act II takes place on the grassy Oklahoma prairie and includes Oklahoma natural treasures such as a scissortail flycatcher, kingsnake, and indian paintbrushes.

Performances of the “Oklahoma Nutcracker” will be presented on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 16 at 2:00 p.m. at the Sooner Theatre in Norman. Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for children (12 and under) and may be purchased by calling the Norman Ballet Company Box Office at (405) 326-9147.

The 2007 Centennial production of the “Oklahoma Nutcracker” has been designated an official “Centennial Project” by the City of Norman and the Centennial Committee and is funded in part by the Norman Arts Council, the Oklahoma Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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