When Herr Drosselmeyer takes the stage in the Downers Grove
production of "The Nutcracker," he just might be met with a big,
slobbery kiss. And Clara won't be offended if you say she's a real
That's because in this production, Clara
is a pug, the Mouse King is a black lab and the Sugar Plum Fairy is
played by an adorable Sheltie. Actually, Herr Drosselmeyer is the
only two-legged creature in this four-legged show.
The canine version of "The Nutcracker" is performed by the
PAWSitive Therapy Troupe. The production includes 29 working dogs
of all different breeds, which spend months practicing their spins
and dances. "The owners are always on stage with the dogs. We do
some spins and jumping through arms and backing up, all kinds of
stuff," says Becky Jankowski, coordinator of the troupe. "In Act 2
we have the Arabian Dancer and the Russian-type dancer and the lady
with six dogs under her skirt. It's very cute and very, very
Not only that, but it's one of the most affordable
Nutcrackers in the area at just $5 per person. Performances are in
middle school gyms with bleacher seats-kids can sit on the floor
near the show and get an up-close look at the pups in action. The
whole production lasts about 40 minutes-easy enough for even
younger kids to watch.
Performances are at 2 and 6 p.m. Nov. 20 at Glen Crest
Middle School, 725 Sheehan, Glen Ellyn, and 2 and 6 p.m. Dec. 11 at
Herrick Middle School, 4435 Middaugh, Downers Grove. Tickets go on
sale in early November, check the website
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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