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Browning Center goes nuts for ‘Nutcracker’ renditions

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Weber State University's Browning Center hosts multiple renditions of The Nutcracker this December. (Source: Weber State University Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities)

While most of the campus is wrapping up their semester in anticipation of finals week, the Browning Center is entering its busiest time. Throughout December, several groups are taking the stage to display their artistic perspectives on the holiday season.

On top of a few other performances, multiple renditions of “The Nutcracker” are put on at the Browning Center in December.

Odyssey Dance Company, one of the groups performing a version of “The Nutcracker,” is putting a new twist on the classical holiday ballet. The story has been reimagined as a modern tale called “The ReduxNut-Cracker.”

“I think there’s a lot of people out there that are tired of ‘The Nutcracker’ the way it’s presented,” said Odyssey’s founder and artistic director Derryl Yeager. “Most people feel that they’ve seen it one too many times. That’s why I wanted to update the show.”

Knowing that other groups around Ogden, such as the Julie Moffit Ballet School, will be performing the original version of “The Nutcracker,” Yeager felt that a new version of the story was needed to be shown to college-aged audiences.

“I wrote the story myself because I thought that the other story is good but boring,” said Yeager. “When we bring our performance to places like Weber State, we want them to know that it’s the same story, but now instead of a Nutcracker, little Clara receives an iPhone, and it takes her on a magical journey.”

Putting on a Christmas program such as “The Nutcracker” or “The ReduxNut-Cracker” is no easy task.

“First, you have to feel the desire to put on a show,” Yeager said. “Then, you have to figure out all the music… For ‘The ReduxNut-Cracker,’ there were already a lot of modern remixes of the classic songs, but I had to remix a couple myself.”

While many await the upcoming performance of ‘The ReduxNut-Cracker,’ orchestra productions and choir concerts, among other shows, employees of the Browning Center keep their wits about them in anticipation of the season’s loaded lineup.

“We do just around 300 shows a year,” said Austin Hull, Browning Center Manager of Technical Operations. “Our main client would be the department of performing arts…but we do a lot of these outside client shows.”

Non-campus clients such as the Odyssey Dance Company, Ogden Symphony Ballet Association and a cappella outfit Voice Male are using the holidays as a time to showcase talent to Weber State students.

The holiday season brings in many students and non-students to the WSU campus to watch different performances from the dance, theatre and music departments.

“Every show is different,” said Lydia Oliverson, Browning Center Crew Head. “Because we do so many types of shows, and so many of them so quickly, you get to learn what the industry standard is as well as working with many different aspects of theatre.”

With large companies performing on campus, some would expect steep ticket prices. Fortunately, WSU helps students afford attending these events.

“We get a lot of students to non-university events,” said Hull. “The Office of Cultural Affairs bringing in different groups also helps discount tickets for students.”

All holiday Browning Center events can be located on their page on Weber State’s website.

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