Nutcracker

An musical play for lower Primary children,
adapted from ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ by E.T.A. Hoffmann

music and lyrics by Julie Argyle-Cross

Nutcracker Product Synopsis

Characters

Setting

Sample Teaching Tracks

Sample Backing Tracks

Script, Score, Teaching and Backing Tracks,
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SYNOPSIS

The story is set in Germany in the early 1900’s. It is Christmas Eve in the Silberhaus residence. Family and friends have enjoyed a Christmas feast. Now it is time to open the presents around the tree, and then see what Godfather Drosselmeyer has brought for them this year. He does not disappoint. He produces wind-up dolls who perform a magical dance, and brings special gifts for each of his god-children.

Clara receives a painted nutcracker, but Fritz snatches it away from her, and breaks it whilst trying to crack a very hard nut. Clara is angry and upset. She gets the Nutcracker back from Fritz, and has to recover her composure quickly so that she can join in the Grandfather Dance before all the guests leave and the children go to bed.

At midnight Clara creeps down from her bedroom to check on the Nutcracker. She hears noises and hides behind the Christmas tree to see who is coming. She is horrified to see a life-sized King Mouse with his army, preparing to fight the Nutcracker and the tin soldiers, who have also grown in size! The fight becomes quite dangerous and is going in favour of the Mouse army, until Clara throws her slippers at the Mouse King and stuns him. He is carried away by his men. Clara faints in shock, but when she comes round she sees the handsome Nutcracker Prince standing over her to see if she is alright.

They are led through a forest by a group of snowflakes and come to the magical land of sweets. It is the home of the Sugar Plum Fairy, who is a great friend of the Nutcracker Prince. Clara is quite a heroine for saving the Nutcracker’s life. She is treated as a special guest and is entertained by all the lollies in turn. Even the Sugar Plum Fairy does a special dance for her.

Next morning Clara’s mother finds her asleep beside the Christmas tree. She is nursing her beloved Nutcracker, and they are both smiling! Clara’s mother asks whatever she is doing there, and Clara tells her about her amazing adventure! Her mother, of course, does not believe a word of it, but we know it was all true – don’t we?

In the rousing finale – ‘Dreams’ – we meet all the characters again and sing along with the Candy Canes, the Chocolates, the Peanuts and the Liquorice Allsorts.

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CHARACTERS

Herr Silberhaus (Father of Clara & Fritz)
Frau Silberhaus
Adult guests at party
Young guests
Clara (oldest child)
Fritz
Hans
Anna (Youngest child)
Herr Drosselmeyer – Godfather to the children. He is also a toymaker/magician

Wind-up Dolls:
1. Ballerina
2. Teddy Bear
3. Soldier

Nutcracker (first a toy, then person dressed the same, with a mask.
No mask after fight)

Mouse King – person with mask
Mouse army
Toy Soldiers

Snowflakes – group of dancers which includes 5 named characters:
Sparkles
Snowy
Frosty
Crunchy Crystal
Sugar Plum Fairy

Sweets Dancers: group of dancers which includes 5 named characters:
Liquorice Allsorts, Peanut, Candy canes, Chocolates
Sweety (any type of lolly)
Nutty (peanut)
Chocky (chocolate)
Stripey (liquorice allsort)
Candy (candy cane)

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Script, Score, Teaching and Backing Tracks,
Copying and Performing Rights
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SETTING

Christmas Eve, early 1900’s. There are 3 locations for the action:

  1. The living room of a large house in Germany, the Silberhaus residence, with a moveable Christmas tree set up to one side of the stage
  2. Snowy pine forest depicted by projection on a back screen (an otherwise clear stage)
  3. The Land of Sweets projection of a larger-than-life countryside, in the style of the Land of Oz. Bright colours. Large cardboard trees and flowers to decorate the stage, in keeping with the Land of Sweets song lyrics. (i.e chocolate leaves on all the trees, lollipop flowers etc).

DURATION

Approx. 45 minutes

COSTUMES

Family and guests – Edwardian-style costumes or as near as possible! Suggestions:

  • Women – long dress with high neck, or long skirt with high-necked blouse. Ankle-length boots.
  • Men – smart suit, shirt with high collar. Lace-up boots in black, grey or brown.
  • Dr Drosselmeyer – as above, with the addition of a large cloak, a top hat and cane.
  • Girls – knee-length dress with trimming at the hem, such as lace or embroidery. White stockings or white knee socks.
  • Boys – Fauntleroy suits or sailor suits were common! Trousers to the knee, jacket. White stockings or white knee socks.
  • Snowflakes – simple white dance-style costume (tights, leotard, white over-skirt) or white tutus!
  • Mouse army – grey leotard or T shirt and tights, set of matching mouse masks. Tails!
  • Tin soldiers – matching trousers (could be blue, black or white). Red jackets, black boots.
  • King Mouse – same as mouse army, but add a cloak and a crown.
  • Nutcracker – traditional Nutcracker costume (see your favourite search engine!). He will be dressed in a similar costume to his tin soldiers, but a little more elaborate, with additions such as epaulettes and gold braid trimmings on the jacket. Nutcracker mask.
  • Sugar-plum fairy – pink tutu & sparkling tiara, light coloured ballet shoes & tights

Sweets:

  • Candy canes – (see your favourite search engine again!). A simple version for girls would be a red or white dress, plus a red headband with candy canes attached. Boys could be more like soldiers in red and white, with a candy cane on the hat, but the colours would need to differ from the tin soldier costumes!
  • Chocolates – all brown costume – perhaps T-shirt or leotard and tights or trousers, with some kind of colourful lolly addition!
  • Peanuts – basic beige T shirt or leotard & tights. Colourful frilly skirt (girls) and armbands (girls and boys) to represent the samba costume.
  • Liquorice allsorts – some fantastic ideas on your favourite search engine. Multi-coloured (with black) costumes of any sort, (dresses, skirts, tights, tops, shorts, trousers). Could use a similar idea to the candy canes, by having a hat or headband with liquorice allsorts attached.

USE OF TEACHING AND BACKING TRACKS

We recommend that during the rehearsal period the performers become less and less dependent on the teaching tracks, so that they are ready to perform the show with the backing tracks only.

The teaching tracks have all the individual vocal musical numbers provided, but do not include incidental music or reprises. As such, the teaching tracks cannot be used for a performance.

The backing tracks have all the musical numbers, plus incidental music, separately provided in order, allowing the tracks to be run through sequentially, with appropriate pauses for dialogue.

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Script, Score, Teaching and Backing Tracks,
Copying and Performing Rights
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SAMPLE TEACHING TRACKS

1. “The land of sweets”

2. “The Chocky-choc polka”

3. “Liquorice allsorts”

4. “Peanut samba”

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Script, Score, Teaching and Backing Tracks,
Copying and Performing Rights
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SAMPLE BACKING TRACKS

1. “What have you got?”

2. “The fight”

3. “March of the Candy Canes”

4. “Peanut samba”

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Script, Score, Teaching and Backing Tracks,
Copying and Performing Rights
ALL AVAILABLE NOW – SHOP HERE