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Award winning lighting designer helps
Great Russian Nutcracker 'pop' to life

Lighting Designer Michael Clark Wonson spent about a month earlier this year studying Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. Each night he would watch the official DVD of the highly regarded ballet dance performance, a mug of hot chocolate in hand. He studied dancers’ movements as well as the core choreography to prepare for his role as lighting designer for the east coast leg of the critically-acclaimed show. By the time the 2011 tour began in late November, Michael was more than ready.

“[I am] on my ‘A game’ all the time,” he says.

An award-winning lighting designer, Michael has worked with theater and dance troupes across Massachusetts, New York City, New Hampshire, and Dallas TX, which, in addition to Moscow Ballet, includes Boston Theatre Works, Boston Ballet Company, Manhattan Theatre Source, Dallas Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and more. He notes that dance troupes are especially great to be involved with, namely those featured in Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker.

“Working with a full troupe of dancers is any lighting designer’s dream,” Michael says. “These [Moscow Ballet] dancers are trained within an inch of their life. The lines which I see onstage every night are so clean and beautiful.”

Michael came on board earlier this year for the 19th annual tour of Moscow Ballet’s critically acclaimed Great Russian Nutcracker, bringing with him new ideas that would complement the beloved show’s traditions.

“My goal with this [2011] production was to maintain the classical elements of ballet and to continue to modernize the vision [of Moscow Ballet],” he says.

According to Michael, he added LED lights to the show “to make the [hand-painted back]drops ‘pop.’” He also added a vibrant moon to the Arabian variation scene in Act II and a pale moon-colored window for the final scene as the grand drape falls, as well as lighting on the sides of the stage that allowed audiences to see how chiseled the human form can look—all while also making sure to incorporate traditional theatrical caveats.

Michael is proud to be working with Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, bringing “holiday spirit and magic to thousands of people every night” of the tour.

“Inherently, this show stands out above all other productions. [I know] the magic we are bringing to the hearts of many,” he says. “It is a show which builds memories for families.”

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker is the unique telling of the classic story of Masha (Clara) and her Nutcracker Doll told with true Russian flair. In 2012, Moscow Ballet celebrates its 20th year of touring this performance across North America, and to much critical acclaim! The whimsical fantasy of Moscow Ballet’s Nutcracker is legendary, with the piece firmly enshrined as a Christmas staple for audiences across the country and in Canada. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s beloved Nutcracker Suite, and Moscow Ballet’s company of 40 Vaganova-trained dancers are the perfect combination for a holiday celebration for all.

Nutcracker.com is your source for all things Moscow Ballet and all things Nutcracker! See Great Russian Nutcracker and other story ballets’ historical photos in our gallery, watch videos of the Master Teachers working with their American students, listen to interviews with our soloists, and so much more!
Young dancers - you can dance with the pros! Learn about the Great Russian Nutcracker audition process in your city.

Visit the Studio Blog for the latest news and stories of the Great Russian Nutcracker and other productions. And our Fine Art Gallery will introduce you to Russia’s newest talent in the visual arts.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker will be performed in over 60 cities in 2012. Find a performance in your state below, or visit Your City to find out when we will be in your area. This holiday season, experience Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker– acclaimed by the press and adored by audiences everywhere. Get your tickets now!

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